Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, the Deputy Minister of Finance, has described the 2018 Budget as forward-looking with the initiatives to creating jobs.
According to him, the Government was working hard to consolidate the gains made so far in the economy.
Mr Kwarteng made the comments during the maiden debate on the 2018 Budget in Parliament.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, on November 15, 2017 presented the Government’s 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament.
The budget highlighted results from the Government’s policy programmes over the past few months, and announced planned developmental programmes for the next fiscal year.
Among the major programmes to be rolled out in 2018 are the proposed 13 per cent reduction in electricity tariffs for residential consumers, the establishment of Nation Building Corps and operationalisation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
Mr Kwarteng said it was ridiculous for the National Democratic Congress to claim that they ended “Dumsor” because when they came to power in 2009 there was no “Dumsor” and so cannot claim any credit for that.
He said the current government did not only inherit high indebtedness, but also high interest rate and, as such, it was difficult for businesses to borrow to invest and create jobs for the teeming youth in the country.
He said because the NDC administration became challenged with credibility issues in terms of the economy they were forced to go to the International Monetary Fund to seek for policy credibility.
Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, on his part, called for the withdrawal of the 2018 Budget, in which he said government had reviewed some key economic targets without recourse to the House.
He said government revised the 2017 Budget without Parliamentary approval hence the need for the withdrawal of the 2018 Document, which contains portions of the previous one.
Mr Forson said the Minister of Finance could not revise the expenditures and revenue without Parliamentary resolution.
He said the Government’s budgetary allocation for the Nation Builders’ Corps was “nothing to write home about.”
He noted that the Minority’s calculations indicated that each of the 100,000 youth to be recruited under the program would receive a little over GH¢400.00, which is woefully inadequate.
“Mr. Speaker, the said graduates will not take home more than GH¢400.00, this is dangerous. Mr. Speaker that GH¢600,000.00 they intend to fund the programme with is not coming from the Government of Ghana. It is going to be taken from the District Assembly Common Fund. You’re going to constrain the district assemblies just for the purpose of funding it. This, in my opinion, is an extension of the National Service Scheme,” he said.