House Concludes Comments on Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government

03-08-2021



Parliament on Tuesday August 03, 2021 concluded comments on the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2021 Financial Year delivered on Thursday July 29, 2021.

This follows over eighty minutes intense winding expositions by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House of three days of heated arguments on the policy review, which began on Friday July 30t after its reading by the Minister for Finance Ken Oori Atta.

The Finance Minister in accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) on Thursday 29th July, 2021, presented the mid-year fiscal policy review to Parliament, detailing the government’s programmes and policies for the rest of the year.

The presentation provided the economic and fiscal performance of the economy for the first half of 2021 as well as update on the implementation of key programmes including, strategies by Government to create employment for Ghanaians in general and the youth in particular.

The mid-year fiscal review also highlighted the status of the implementation of the Ghana CARES “Obaatanpa” Programme that seeks to revitalize and transform the economy to pre -pandemic times and focussed on revenue, expenditure, and financing performance for the first half of 2021.

Further providing an overview of the implementation of the 2021 Budget, the fiscal policy review touched on the assurance of government on securing Covid-19 vaccines for vaccination and effective domestic revenue mobilization.

The heated debate between the two sides of the House on the budget review began in the afternoon of Friday August 30 and Monday August 2, 2021 with the winding comments by leadership on Tuesday.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority Caucus in Parliament said the government deserves no commendation for not asking for additional money during the mid-year review and insisted that government should have used the opportunity to scrap some of the new taxes introduced earlier in the year.

The Caucus tagged the mid-year review and supplementary budget statement as hopeless and an attempt to steal from Ghanaians and accused the Minister of presenting the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 2021 Manifesto under the guise of mid-year budget review.

They are of the opinion that the mid-year review policy as presented will worsen the living conditions of Ghanaians and foster economic hardship.

Leader of the Caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, said the country’s economy is simply not doing well as the Akufo-Addo government paints the picture to be and is on the brink of collapse due to the crippling debt the country finds itself in.

The Tamale South MP said the country spends more money servicing debts against investing in state infrastructure and policies geared towards improving the lives of Ghanaians lamenting that as the government deals with a debt stock of GHS 332 billion, he was very confident the both the President and Minister's only hope now is debt relief and debt forgiveness.

He added that the Finance Minister has also failed in producing a policy to guide the rebound of the economy following it’s recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and that the country’s inflating debt could be detrimental to Ghana’s burgeoning economy.

The Tamale South legislator indicated that he was not impressed by the government's decision not to request more funds, described the state coffers as an empty calabash and suggested Government is drinking from an empty calabash and hoping for debt forgiveness.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Leader of the NPP Caucus in Parliament Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in debasing the Minority’s arguments stated that the 2021 mid-year budget review is based on policies and principles but not superficialities as speculated by the NDC.

He disclosed that that mid-year budget review outlines the President’s programme for accelerated recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the House Leader it is President Nana Akufo Addo’s vision to create an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation through the creative exploitation of human and natural resources, operating within a democratic, open and fair society in which economic opportunities exists for all.

He was optimistic the mid-year policy statement will restore and sustain macro-economic stability which is expected to attain improved fiscal performance through enhanced revenue mobilization, strengthen the economy and ensure investor confidence in the economy.



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