Majority Extols 2011 Budget As "Peaceful"
Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Finance and Economic Planning Minister, on Thursday presented the 2011 financial policy amidst mixed reactions from both the Majority and Minority. While the minority described it as "fear and panic budget", the majority saw it as "peaceful and aimed at solving social problems". Mr James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman, Finance Committee, said the budget focused on domestic revenue interventions. He said the claim by the opposition that the budget was a fear and panic budget was false because the usual heckling during such presentation was absent today. According to him, the oil revenue was so small - just 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)- and government cannot rely on it alone. Mr Avedzi said the NDC's promise to reduce tax was fulfilled but the current increase came as a result of additional burden on the wage bill. He noted under the 2011 budget, all social interventions would be continued and expanded. Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, said the tax net in the budget had been widened enough to generate enough income. He said 2011 would be a "difficult" year because of the introduction of the single spine salary scheme and added that it needed the creativity of government to manage the situation. Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, Member for Tain, said the government was doing well in the face the numerous economic problems facing the country. He described the budget as "human centred" because it satisfied a lot of human needs and tackled key areas such as education, road and energy. Mr Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori, Member for Asikuma/Adoben/Brakwa, said the budget was supper excellent on paper and was an "exception from previous budgets". "The only problem is that it would have the problem of implementation. Government will fail to put in place measures that will prevent the looting of the resources", he said. He argued that with transferable taxes, the consumers carried the burden and the increase in the taxes would bring about hardships and "the bearers of such hardships are the citizens". Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, Member for Evalue-Gwira, said the taxes "were too much" and did not make the budget a balanced one. She stressed that the state of the economy was such that "we should be looking for avenues to grow it. She stated that the budget was silence on the Western Regional Development Initiative. She noted that education was well tackled in the budget especially the removal of under-tree schools, the capitation grant and the School Feeding Programme. Dr Osei Akoto, Minority Spokesman on Finance, said the claim that the economy was stable was false, arguing that if that notion was true the tax level that the budget imposed on Ghanaians would not be so. He said there were a lot of bills that government did not pay and that the economy could only be stabilized when government paid its bills. "It is a fear and panic budget, I dare say", he concluded.
Source: Ghana News Agency