The Nkosuo and Nkabom budget, like every other, was welcomed by mixed reactions. Of course, chants of ‘yeah yeah!’ from the Majority side showed endorsement whiles the minority members jeered as the Finance Minister presented his budget statement for the next financial year.
They did not fail to further punch holes in Ken Ofori Atta’s presentation after the house was dissolved.
Among the many questions asked in that regard, National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa sought to find out why the road projects in the Volta Region were ignored under the ‘critical road projects’ during Mr. Ofori Atta’s presentation.
15 Regions out of the 16 across the country were captured with various ‘critical road projects’ to be embarked on in the coming year; 2020, with the exception of the Volta Region.
“Why is provision not made in the 2020 Budget for critical road projects in the case of only the Volta Region?” He asked on his Facebook wall, barely 24 hours after the budget presentation.
Several responses from government have accompanied this assertion by the NDC MP. Indeed from top persons in government.
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo described it as an omission.
“It was obviously a mistake,” the Minister explained on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday noting that he was also taken aback by the omission. “When I also saw it, I asked myself, how could it be because there were 15 regions instead of 16 and I asked him [the sector minister] and he said we have a whole list for the Volta Region,” he continued.
Deputy Finance Ministers, Charles Adu Boahen and Abena Osei Asare also backed the Senior Minister’s stance.
Whilst Mr. Adu Boahen expressed surprise about the omission of the Volta region in the distribution of the road projects in the 2020 budget, Madam Osei Asare described it as a genuine error.
“It was a genuine genuine genuine mistake...to err is human and to forgive is divine, we have a whole list of projects meant for the Volta region.
“I want to state that it was not deliberate but a mistake...we will rectify it and attach it as an addendum and send it to parliament," she said on Starr Today on Starr FM.
Ghanaweb’s checks however reveal Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in a separate interview on Asempa FM’s ‘Ekosii sen’ show Thursday, defending the incident while describing Mr. Ablakwa’s posturing as a ‘little mischievous’.
He cited page 158 of the document as having captured some road projects in the Volta Region.
“I was quite sad because the roads were captured in the budget document. I was quite sad for him to take little things and create misinformation,” he said.
Page 158 of the budget document:
The question though remains;
Is Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s reference to page 158 of the budget document enough justification for why Volta Region was not named among the regions in the category for Critical Road Projects in the 2020 Budget Statement?