By Maxwell Nkansah
Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enya Casiel Ato Forson has described the mid-year budget statement presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta as cosmetic.He said the budget is empty and has no hope for Ghanaians.
The member of the Finance Committee in Parliament told journalists after the budget reading on Thursday July 29 that “The mid-year review that was just read is nothing but hopeless.
According to him, the Ghanaian economy is in a bad way in the sense that he would have thought that the government would have learned something and have taken right decisions but sadly, he said if they you look at the statement that was read to them almost every single revenue item is under performing.
The government revenue has underperformed within the first six months of the year approximately 2billion Ghana cedi’s. The law marker said “apart from the revenue items’ coming down the budget is nothing but cosmetic, cosmetic in the sense that at the end of the year 2021, they will come back and see every single fiscal target being missed”
Casiel Ato Forson lamented that as he speak the government has not commenced the construction of 111 district hospitals. He stated that in the original they projected 1.4 billion cedi’s for that project. Unfortunately, in the mid-year review the government has reduced for over 700Mmillion. He further said he was expecting that the government will rather increase the allocation for agenda 111 instead of increasing the allocation for good and services.
The Finance Minister Mr Ofori Atta in his presentation in parliament has announced the setting up of a scheme to help the youth set up businesses across the country. To be referred to as ‘Youth Banc’, the scheme will be championed by the Enterprise and Youth Support Fund (EYSF).
Addressing members of Parliament (MPs) on Thursday, July 29 as part of the presentation on the mid-year review of the 2021 budget, Kenneth Ofori-Atta admitted that the issue of employment and jobs for the youth has been a worry to the government.
In the 2021 budget review the finance minister said, the Enterprise and Youth Support Fund, which aligns with Government’s overall strategy of developing a competitive and viable private sector economy, will Set up a ‘Youth banc’ with the aim of financing youth-led start-up businesses across the country.
He said as part of the initiative, an online investment hub will be established for youth across the country to access information for the purpose of establishing businesses. Under this initiative, it is estimated that over 100,000 jobs will be created for the youth.
Member of Parliament for Old Tafo Ekow Vincent Assafuah has noted that Ghana’s economy is picking up from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic. Commenting on the mid-year budget statement presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Thursday July 29, he said focuses on amongst many other things, jobs for the teeming youths of this country.
Mr Ofori Atta told Parliament that for the first time in the history of the fourth republic, the exchange rate did not see a spike after an election year. He explained that cumulatively, from the beginning of the year to date the exchange rate has depreciated by 0.6 per cent against the US dollars and appreciating by 3.6 per cent against the Euro.
He further told the House that he did not come to ask for more money from the House in the mid-year budget. He also said he did not come for more taxes rather; he came to update the House and the country on the performance of the economy during the first half of the year.
A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School Dr Lord Mensah has also said he is satisfied with the statement. He said when you look at the situation on the ground now, The Finance Minister and his team couldn’t have afforded than to maintain the status quo to ensure that we stay within the fiscal appropriation that we called for.