Speaker urges Ghanaians to speak truth to power over economic hardships
Mr Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, has called on the Finance Ministry and the resource persons to muster the courage to be candid, and open and to speak truth to power.
He said the absence of openness and transparency could lead to suspicion and a profound sense of despair and hopelessness.
“I hope the 2023 budget statement and economic policy were presented by the Minister responsible for Finance in this context. If so, the consideration and approval of same are easily cut out for us,” he said.
Mr Bagbin said this on Saturday at the opening of a two-day Post-Budget Workshop underway in Ho in the Volta Region.
The annual Post-Budget Workshop has the primary goal of equipping Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senior Officers of the Parliamentary Service with the skills required for scrutinising the Budget and Economic Policy of the Executive arm of government for the 2023 fiscal year.
It also had the objective of offering MPs the opportunity of a deeper appreciation of the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy of the government.
The key expected outcomes would be quality deliberations of the statement on the floor of the House in the ensuing days, relevant legislation and the ultimate Appropriation Act for the 2023 financial year.
Mr Bagbin said they would interrogate the extent to which the budget provided solutions for the current economic challenges in the short term and a solid basis for a resilient and sustainable medium to long turn economy.
“The times and circumstances we are in at the moment are extremely challenging. The global challenges, uncertainties, complexities, insecurity and national moral and psychological decay. More germane, we cannot pretend and dismiss the obvious regarding Ghana’s severely disorientated economic downward spiral.
“Things are getting tougher by the day. Some may assert that there occurs a global economic crisis, but others will present data to suggest otherwise. Mainly that the challenges are largely a result of our own doing. In order words, self-inflicted. That we pressed the self-destruct button,” he said
The Speaker remarked that Ghanaians had been courting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for some time now, and it was the hope of every Ghanaian presently that the overtures to the IMF would bring some relief and hope.
He advised MPs to desist from the usual wearing of partisan lenses after the engagement and be sensitive to the waning patience and tolerance of Ghanaians by being responsive to the national call to rise together to salvage the economy.
He said: “We must keep in mind the promise we made to the people of Ghana; to give them a reason to aspire for a better future…it is important that we place improving the lives of those we serve at the top of our priorities as a country.”
He charged the MPs to do more than just approved the budget, pass the Appropriation Act, sits back and just watch the government spend, adding that they must increase their monitoring of the government expenditure to ensure the right priorities were sequentially taken and value for money became an essential ingredient.
“In doing so, let us eschew unbridled partisanship, given that the budget’s primary goal speaks to the common issues that affect us all.
“Let us collectively as the legislature commits to stabilising the economic turbulence in the country. If there was any time in the history of this country that Ghanaians are looking up to the Legislature not the Executive for solutions to challenges confronting us as a people, it is now,” he said
Mr Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, Clerk to Parliament, urged MPs to thoroughly examine the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government within the context of the principles of prioritisation, economy, value for money, efficiency, transparency and accountability.
“It is important to acknowledge the complexity of annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government, considering the sheer volume of data it engenders, and the capabilities and skills required to fully analyse as well as decipher its intricate details and the figures,” he said.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, called for a partnership that would get the economy thriving.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader, bemoaned the cap placed on employment in the civil and public institutions, saying it was a gradual erosion of the public space and confidence in the government.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader, called for a long-term national development plan to salvage the country, economic challenges and the private sector for hope into the future.
Topics to be discussed at the two-day workshop would include Policy Underpinnings of the 2023 budget-General Analysis of the Budget; Overview of the 2023 Budget- Macro Economic and Fiscal Management; What to consider in Analysing the 2023 Sectoral Budgets; Employment Generation and the 2023 Budget; and Revenue Mobilisation and Debt sustainability.
By Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) the Mr Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented the 2023 Annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to Parliament on Thursday, November 24.
It was on the theme: “Restoring and Sustaining Macro Economic Stability and Resilience through Inclusive Growth and Value Creation.”
Among other things, the 2023 Budget focused on Government’s strategies to restore and stabilise the macro economy, build resilience and promote inclusive growth and value creation.
It also featured updates on Ghana’s engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an IMF-supported Programme; year-to-date macro-fiscal performance of the economy; the YouStart initiative under the Ghana CARES Programme; climate action strategies; fiscal measures and debt management strategies to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability and promote growth.