Former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, has predicted that the 2010 budget will fail to provide hope for the ordinary Ghanaian. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tafo/Pankrono in Kumasi envisaged that next year’s financial statement will be tighter than 2009.
This, according to him, is because the much-touted $150 million loan facility that the government was expecting from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has encountered difficulties.
It would be recalled that soon after the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) assumed the reigns of government, it contracted a loan facility of $300 million from the World Bank and IMF.
The loan facility which was fiercely kicked against by the opposition NPP because of its tight conditionalities was expected to come in two tranches of $150 million each. Dr Akoto noted that the first tranche of the loan has failed to arrive because of the Mills Administration’s inability to satisfy all the conditionalities attached to the agreement.
For instance, he said the government failed to satisfy the condition that the Freedom of Information bill should be sent to Parliament for passage latest September this year. Again, the two-notch economic expert indicated that the government failed to meet the requirement that supplementary budget estimates should be laid before Parliament latest August this year.
The former research fellow at the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) made these disclosures when he spoke to Daily Guide in an interview during the Tafo/Pankrono NPP constituency elections on Monday.
The ranking member of the Parliamentary select committee on Finance and Economic Planning explained that the non-arrival of the loan will have ominous consequence on the budget because the government failed to explore alternative avenues to raise funds. “They put all their hope in the loan and therefore, now that the loan has encountered difficulties, their hands are tied,” the two-time Tafo/Pankrono legislator emphasized. He pointed out that the government would not have found itself in this terrible condition if it had listened to the concerns raised by the NPP, before contracting the loan.
Dr Akoto said the erratic inflow of donor support to the country due to the general impact of the economic meltdown will also have dire effect on the budget. Emphasizing that he does not expect anything hopeful in the budget which will be read in Parliament on Wednesday, the ex-Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning noted, “I sympathize with the Minister of Finance because he is in a difficult situation”.
According to him, judging from the prevailing conditions, the government cannot help but postpone wage increase and also cut spending in some sensitive sectors of the economy. Predicting that tougher economic conditions await the country next year, Dr Akoto entreated Ghanaians to get themselves adequately prepared to face the upcoming hardship. He said the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor’s declaration that next year’s budget will provide hope for the ordinary Ghanaian is a cheap political talk that was meant to give false hope to the people. “Dr Duffuor is pretty much aware that he is in a serious situation, but he just made this statement to give false hope to the ordinary man on the street who wants an improvement in his life,” Dr Akoto concluded.
Source: D Guide
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