The Minority in Parliament has described the 2011 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government presented to the House by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning yesterday as “wicked”, “anti-private sector development” and a “fear and panic” budget.

Even though the usual inscriptions on sheets of paper to convey their sentiments about budgets were absent, interviews with some members of the Minority showed their disapproval of the budget in general and the introduction of taxes in particular.

The Majority, however, debunked assertions by the Minority and explained that the budget would bring hope to Ghanaians after the government had used the past two years to repair the economic mess it inherited.

A former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and NPP MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said, “The budget is not a good one. There was nothing new, with the exception of the introduction taxes.

He noted that with the introduction of seven different taxes, Ghanaians should expect more difficulties next year than what they experienced this year.

A former Deputy MInister of Finance and Member of Parliament, NPP MP for Wenchi, Professor Yaw Gyan-Baffour, bemoaned the insensitivity of the government, explaining that Ghanaians were already stressed up after going through a lot of difficulties under the NDC’s two-year misrule.

The NPP MP for Kwabre East, Mr Kofi Frimmpong, stated that all projects that were mentioned in the budget were initiatives of the Kufuor administration and accused the Mills government of running out of ideas after promising Ghanaians the moon.

Mr Frimpong observed that it was the intention of the government to impose taxes on churches when Dr. Duffuor mentioned that the activities of certain non-governmental organisations would be taxed.

“Why are we trying to put more impediments in the way of the private sector when the government has touted its resolve to make the private sector the engine of growth? Why are we taking away the oil that will lubricate the engine of the private sector to stimulate the kind of growth that we envisage?” he questioned.

The NPP MP for Ayensuano, Mr Samuel Aye-Paye, said there was nothing impressive about the 2011 budget, reiterating the fact that there were no new policies.

He said if the NDC did not have anything new for Ghanaians, then it was unfortunate that Ghanaians gave the party the mandate to rule.

He said it was only when interest rates were lowered that the private sector would be encouraged to borrow from the banks to expand their businesses and create jobs for the youth.

The NPP MP for Okaikoi North, Mrs. Elizaabeth Sackey, said it was unfortunate that after two years in office, the government was still struggling to find its feet.

She said even though prices of gold and cocoa had gone up, those gains had not been used to embark on more projects to benefit the people.

The Minister of Transport and NDC MP for Effutu, Mr Mike Allen Hammah, however, maintained that the budget would bring more hope to Ghanaians, assuring them that the new initiatives would encourage the private sector to do more to increase employment.

He explained that the taxes that had been introduced were well thought-out and would not affect the ordinary people in the country.

He assured Ghanaians that as stated in the budget, the rail lines would be rehabilitated and modernised to ensure easy and affordable transportation in the country.

The NDC MP for Juaboso, Mr. Sampson Ahi, commended the government for working tirelessly to clear the economic mess that was left behind by the NPP administration.

The Majority Chief Whip and NDC MP for Nkwanta South, Mr Geshon Gbediame, said there was no doubt that the NDC government had been able to put the economy on the right path.

He, however, advised that if the government was poised to use the agricultural sector to stimulate growth and provide jobs, then efforts should be made to create a ready market for farm produce to encourage the youth to take to agriculture.

The NDC MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson, argued that now that the economy had been stabilised, the government would be able to implement policies outlined in the 2011 budget in order to create jobs.

The PNC MP for Sissala West, Mr Haruna Bayirga, noted that every government had good intentions for its people and called on the government to rigorously implement policies outlined in the budget to achieve results.

He called for massive improvement in the road sector, stressing that roads in his constituency were not good.

Source: Daily Graphic

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