The Convention Peoples Party (CPP) has described the 2014 budget as lacking policy initiative and measures to reorient the economy from one of dependency to genuine self-reliance.
According to the CPP, re-orienting the economy required strategic long-term development planning, the building of human capacity and developing the ability to offer fair distribution of opportunities.
This, the party said, would lessen the countrys dependence on external sources and lead to self-reliance.
A statement issued in Accra by the party in response to the budget statement expressed the CPPs frustration at the missed opportunity that this budget offered on hope for the nation and the people, adding that there was no policy on industrialisation.
According to the statement, what the Government had rather sought to do was to consolidate and entrench the despairing gap between the rich and the poor.
The statement also said nothing in the budget pointed to dealing with job creation, tax policy to make the rich pay more, measures in education expansion and consolidation, the tidying up of health policy and delivery and a host of measures for other sectors.
The statement, therefore, indicated that there was no hope in the budget for the street hawker, the bright young person who had completed the village school and is stuck there.
The statement wondered why the government was avoiding the use of the UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI), which is a better way of measuring welfare than the now accepted measure of GDP and per capita income.
The statement explained that the CPP had greater confidence in the Human Development Indices, which takes into account the quality of health, education, sanitation, and food security.
The statement also said the budget confirmed the position of the CPP that for more than 32 years, the economy had been managed for the benefit of a few Ghanaians, in the interest of the particular party in power, and on behalf of external interests, leaving the vast majority of people lacking basic social and economic amenities and indicated that the needy continued to feed the greedy.
According to the statement, the economic growth strategy that had falsely been aimed at inflation targeting, fiscal austerity, price stabilisation, increase in oil and petroleum production, as highlighted in the budget rather conceived as an economic contraction policy that stifles local economic growth and deepens our economic dependence.
The statement also said the unspoken objective of the budget was to limit the capacity of the government to make the necessary economic and financial interventions to support the private and public sectors for the production of goods and services to satisfy domestic demand and export.
It indicated that the CPP was curious to find out why the government was pursuing a policy of fiscal austerity with its consequent high interest rates that were stifling efforts to create employment.
The statement also said the budget neither pointed to a definitive command intervention at youth job creation nor youth mobilisation. It said that nothing was said about the National Service Scheme or attempts to get real jobs created.
According to the statement, it was worth noting that the CPP in its 2008 and 2012 manifestos, proposed that it would pursue a broad policy to tackle Ghanas infrastructure deficit through the establishment of a National Infrastructure Financing Authority (NIFA). and was hoping that the government would have acknowledged this policy initiative and consulted the CPP on how best to implement it.
The fascinating thing, according to the statement, was that the budget failed to say anything about local content in the oil and gas industry and its ancillary and linked-up developments.
How is the government going to procure the right calibre of skills and personnel for the high local content? Is it going to be another lip-service, the statement asked.
The statement therefore said that the budget had not provided a clear agricultural policy to improve production and that the Government had also not said anything about the implication of the imminent passing of the Ghana Plant Breeders Bill 2013 that seeks to be compliant with the International Convention for the protection of new Varieties of Plants, also known as UPOV 91, for farmers, especially small-scale food growers, the majority of whom were women.
Source: Daily Graphic
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