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2010 Budget lacks sense of urgency - CPP   
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The Convention People's Party (CPP), on Friday said the 2010 Budget lacked the vigorous sense of urgency needed to create advantages, encourage local enterprises and create jobs to ensure sustainable prosperity for Ghanaians.

"The 2010 Budget presented a couple of days ago does not carry with it the gravitas and policy intentions that would make it easier for our local companies to gain easier access to credit, obtain lower cost funds and create more jobs in the country," Mr. Ladi Nylander, National Chairman of the CPP told journalists in Accra.

He was addressing a press conference organised by the CPP to express its views on the 2010 Budget, presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor last Wednesday.

Mr. Nylander noted that Dr Duffuor was quite clear in setting the tone and direction that pointed to a business as usual policy orientation.

He pointed out that a CPP-led administration would have used the 2009 Budget from the beginning of its tenure of office to encourage local enterprises and create jobs to ensure sustainable prosperity instead of blaming the previous government for what they did wrong.

Mr. Nylander noted that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) blame game continued through repeated emphasis on comparing arrears and problems left by the NDC in 2000, and that left by the NPP administration in 2008.

He said the budget statement should have focussed on results achieved or inherited problems solved.

Mr. Nylander noted that the persistence of the two parties in trying to score political points gives additional cause for the CPP to worry about what the future would bring to the ordinary Ghanaian.

He said it was prudent economic management practice to have a budget set within a certain policy framework as a guide to implementation.

"Unfortunately the NDC Government is yet to come to grips with this basic principle," he said.

Mr. Nylander said the objectives set by Dr Duffuor in the budget would be missed as well as government's revenue targets because of lack of a clear policy direction to guide implementation of programmes towards achieving those objectives.

He said there was "no single digit inflation, no reduction of budget deficit to sustainable levels, no improvement in the foreign exchange regime," he said.

Mr. Nylander observed that when the NDC presented its first budget on March 5, 2009, government proposed reduction in the estimated 2008 end of year budget deficit of 14.5 per cent of GDP to 9.4 per cent at the end of 2009.

He said this was accompanied by a programme that could be described as an economic stabilisation objective, which was antithesis of the social democratic ideology spelt out in the NDC's 2008 manifesto.

"It is also counter to the growth objectives set by the Rawlings-led NDC One Administration that are embedded in Vision 2020," he said.

Mr. Nylander said since President John Evans Atta Mills took power in January "we have been on a rocky road to the Better Ghana it promised in 2008".

He noted that nothing had been done in 2009 by the government to take advantage of the global financial crisis to strengthen the Ghanaian economy against future shocks.

Touching on the production sector, Mr. Nylander said government should extend the level of encouragement for local rice production to other sectors such as tomato, particularly in the face of the millions of dollars spent on importing tomato puree while there was a huge glut of tomato in the country annually.

"This is what the CPP expects, "he added.

Mr. Nylander said nothing new was presented in the budget to provide concrete expression to specific areas such as oil and gas, modern agriculture, private sector development, key infrastructure and Information, Communication and Technology development.

"Nothing new or different was presented to Parliament to give concrete expression to each of these priority spending areas in terms of ability to deliver on targets set in the budget," he said.

He noted that the budget had no sense of direction and had little about growth, adding that given the prospects of missing the 2009 GDP growth target of 5.9 per cent with an actual of about 4.7 per cent, it was difficult to determine how the 6.5 per cent GDP growth target for 2010 would be achieved.

"The reality is that the NDC Government is telling Ghanaians that the change we were promised, drastically improving the economic performance at the micro or human person level was just a promise," he said.
Source: GNA

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