Two Political Leaders Express Misgivings About 2018 Budget

Two political leaders have said the 2018 financial statement presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister last Wednesday will not stimulate growth.

They are the Leader and Founder of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Mr Kofi Akpaloo, and the Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Koku Anyidoho.

While Mr Akpaloo expressed doubts about the growth the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, talked about in the financial statement, Mr Anyidoho described it as empty platitudes and meaningless.

Economy without stimulation

In an interview with the Daily Graphic last Thursday, the leader and founder of the LPG said as an accountant, he could not see how the economy could grow without stimulation.

Mr Akpaloo said while no contract was awarded in 2017, contractors who had executed projects were also not paid.

Besides, he said, the $1 million promised for each constituency could also not be paid the constituencies and that did not stimulate growth at the constituencies.

He, however, applauded the creation of the 100,000 jobs under the National Builders Corps and the five-year tax holiday for people under 35 years who want to establish their own businesses as a good motivation for young entrepreneurs.

He said the move would give the opportunity for such entrepreneurs to carry forward their losses.

The LPG leader said the promise to give $2 million for the establishment of the one-district, one-factory was also commendable.

No good news

However, Mr Anyidoho said the NDC did not believe that there was any good news about the financial statement.

He described the budget as a rehash of a lot of the promises during the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) campaign trail.

Mr Anyidoho said the NPP claimed to have presented an ‘’asempa budget’’, but obviously there had not been any good news, adding that the NPP was just engaging in an exercise of ‘’self-adulation’’.

He questioned how the 100,000 jobs projected in the National Builders Corps were going to be achieved and in which sectors of the economy.

According to him, the issue of the creation of a voluntary fund towards the Free SHS education programme sounds comic because he does not see how the fund will be created and who is going to contribute towards it.

He stressed that the policy was not consistent and lacked policy direction, and asked: ‘’Why prevent parents from paying fees and establish a voluntary fund which volunteers are going to contribute to? That in itself indicates that the policy is problematic.”

The deputy general secretary of the NDC said the NPP, in implementing the Free SHS, was rather creating schools under trees which the NDC was solving. He asked, ‘’What have we done so far?’’ The budget is full of plenty english and no substantive policy to achieve the targets.”

On the promise to reduce electricity tariffs, Mr Anyidoho said the NPP backtracked when the minister said they were now sending the proposal to the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.

He said the widening of the tax net as envisaged in the budget meant that the coconut seller, groundnut seller and petty traders were all going to pay taxes.