Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper has beseeched parliament once again for approval of GHS 1,888,203,307 as Supplementary Estimates for the 2016 financial year.
He grounded his request in Article 179 (8) of the 1992 Constitution which states that, “where, in respect of a financial year, it is found that the amount of money appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no sum of money has been appropriated by that Act, a supplementary estimate showing the sum of money required, shall be laid before Parliament for its approval.”
Minister Terkper told the MPs that the supplementary budget would empower the President Mahama led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to continue with the many development and social intervention they have started.
The Finance Minister indicated that, Ghana would not go into HIPC again, as is being predicted by some self-described economic cum financial analysts.
He also noted that his government would revamp the economy through superior interventions and initiatives to ensure a solid economy.
However, one thing the minister mentioned that forced the minority side of the House to ask questions was that about one thousand six hundred and forty two chip compounds have been built across the country. According to the Minority, the claim is false and that it is mere sugar coated words.
The minister again mentioned that a total of ninety thousand (90,000) metric tons of fertilizers have been given to farmers as a move to improve on agriculture in the country.
But the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwadaso, Akoto Owusu Afriyie disagreed in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle. He was rather disappointed with the poor performance of the ruling government in the agric sector.
“I am disappointed at what the minister said about agriculture. The current growth of agriculture is 2.4% and I don’t think that is enough. When we (NPP) were in power, it saw growth more than that. So they have done badly in that sector, not to talk of others,” he stated.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Morna Quartey, defended that government would stick to its budget, though the country is in an election year.
“We can stick to the budget because we know how much we want to give to the EC and that’s what they would have to work with,” she said.
She further told this paper that, the supplementary estimate would go into the energy sector and other areas and that, “government is working to ensure that fiscal deficit comes down to 5% from 5.3%.”
This, she explained, would be a signal to investors that the economy was on track and it would be safe to trade business here.
On the contrary, MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo Markin, rubbished all what the minister said, adding that government was “still kowtowing to the IMF, which is doing the country more harm than good, but still wants to create an impression that the IMF programme is on course.”
MP for New Juabeng South, Mark Asibey Yeboah described the presentation as a way to throw dust into the eyes of the good people of Ghana.
According to him, “the minister only mentioned projects without giving us the costs of those projects. We are interested in how much have been spent on those projects.”