Minority Members of Parliament enacted one of their usual actions of bandying sheets about and satirizing the government on Tuesday, during the presentation of the 2014 Budget statement by Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Seth Tekper.
The Finance Minister was on the floor of Parliament reading next year’s budget statement and Economic Policy of the government.
During the presentation, Hon. Seth Tekper announced that President John Dramani Mahama and his Veep, Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, together with Government Appointees including Ministers of State will take a "voluntary 10% pay cut", 2014.
He revealed that "the amount to be deducted will be channeled into maternal health."
The move, he said, is to demonstrate leadership and numerous efforts undertaken by the government to resolve the astronomical wage bill of public sector workers as a result of the Single Spine Salary Structure.
“Single Spine Salary Structure is imposing severe strain on the economy but government, employers and organized labour are continuing negotiations on how to solve it....We believe we are of one mind and therefore we are determined that the public sector wages will not put a strain on budget…to demonstrate leadership, the president, his Vice, appointees and ministers of State have decided to take a voluntary 10% pay cut in 2014...the amount to be deducted will be channeled into maternal health,” Hon Seth Terkper said.
He also announced government's plans for the health sector, pledging to execute some of its election manifesto commitments to the health sector.
He further pledged government's commitment to revamp the agricultural sector by removing taxes imposed on agricultural and fishing implements including outboard motors and medical supplies including condoms.
But the NPP Members of Parliament on the opposition bench flashed sheets with inscriptions; "GYEEDA", "ISOFOTON", "WOYOME", "OH, GOD SAVE GHANA (Proverbs 29:4)" among others to register their displeasure with the budget statement.
They further heckled the Finance Minister, waving their sheets and ridiculing him.
It took the intervention of the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, to bring the minority side to order and calm down the situation in Parliament.
Same Old Stories?
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has described the 2014 budget as uninspiring and a rehash of unfulfilled promises made in the 2013 budget.
Speaking to GTV News moments after the delivery of the 2014 budget statement, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu stated that the budget was just the “same old old stories”.
According to him, the 2014 budget has revealed that government has been deceiving Ghanaians on the percentage (70) of revenue used to pay public sector workers.
Asserting that a little over 50 percent is used to pay public sector workers, he indicated that the House will convene later to debate on why the government has continuously thrown dust in the eyes of Ghanaians.
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