Minister of Finance Seth Emmanuel Terkper has rejected claims that his policy statement delivered in Parliament on Thursday, March 12 was a revision of the 2015 budget statement.
According to him, it was just a constitutional provision to underscore Ghana as a law-abiding country in informing the citizenry on the implications of slump in oil prices on the budget.
For him, it is too early to review the budget.
Mr Terkper’s appearance in Parliament last Thursday stirred controversy between the Majority and Minority members of the House.
While the Majority claimed Mr Terkper was in the House to deliver an “ordinary” statement as per Standing Order 20 (2), the Minority claimed it was the delivery of a revised budget for which the proper parliamentary procedure must be followed.
The stand-off led to a 30-minute timeout call by Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho.
Speaker Adjaho endorsed the Finance Minister’s appearance after over an hour, pointing out that “it is not unprecedented”.
The Minority Leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, had earlier in that week raised concerns about the revision of the 2015 budget having been approved just in December, 2014.
But speaking on Accra-based Joy FM on Monday, March 16, Mr Terkper said it was going to be too early to revise a budget he delivered on November 19, 2014.
He gave indication that government has an opportunity for a mid-year review and so, if there will be any revisions, it will be done then.
2016 budget statement
Meanwhile, Mr Terkper is expected to – from Monday, March 16 – jointly chair public hearings with the Director General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr Nii Moi Thompson, over the 2016 budget statement.
The hearings are scheduled to end on Monday, March 30.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, the move is to “avoid policy duplication and identify common areas in a sector for collaborative policy interventions and funding” among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).