Patriotic Forum for Accountable Governance (PaFFAG), a pro-NPP group, has called on Parliament to consider the value of nationalism before it decides to approve or reject the 2022 budget.
In a statement copied to Peacefmonline.com, the group said “...even though Parliament has the legal mandate to reject or accept any policy proposal, most specifically a budget statement that may come before it, they ought to do so in the spirit of patriotism, statesmanship, and nationalism.
The statement further stated; “...before Parliament will consider approving or rejecting the 2022 budget, the Ghanaian value of nationalism must be paramount and not partisanship. A decision to approve or reject the budget is one that will affect all Ghanaians and not the minority or majority and therefore the minority in parliament or the people’s representatives must take decisions that will be in the interest and reflect the desires of their constituents and not a decision that will inflict pains and fulfill their political agenda.”
Read full statement below:
PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY PATRIOTIC FORUM FOR ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE (PaFFAG) ON THE SUPPOSED REJECTION OF THE 2022 BUDGET.
29TH NOVEMBER 2021, ACCRA
Ladies and Gentlemen in the media, Good afternoon. I am glad you have honored our invitation despite the short notice.
We have called you here today to address the supposed rejection of the Government's 2022 budget statement and economic Policy by the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic.
To start with, let me use this opportunity to clear the misconception emanating from the minority caucus in parliament (NDC MP’s) that they have rejected the 2022 budget.
As a matter of fact, even though Parliament has the legal mandate to reject or accept any policy proposal, most specifically a budget statement that may come before it, they ought to do so in the spirit of patriotism, statesmanship, and nationalism.
On this basis I would like to state that, before Parliament will consider approving or rejecting the 2022 budget, the Ghanaian value of nationalism must be paramount and not partisanship. A decision to approve or reject the budget is one that will affect all Ghanaians and not the minority or majority and therefore the minority in parliament or the people’s representatives must take decisions that will be in the interest and reflect the desires of their constituents and not a decision that will inflict pains and fulfill their political agenda.
I am very much surprised why the Minority MP’s and the NDC fraternity which is known to be a social Democratic Party which must be seen supporting economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic state should jubilate over a supposed budget rejection. A party suggesting to be the solution to the plight of Ghanaians and posing to be an antidote to their sufferings is rather ecstatic and happy over a supposed budget rejection.
We are here today to basically let Ghanaians know why the NDC and the minority intend to use their numbers in parliament to inflict pain on Ghanaians by resisting the 2022 economic Policy statement otherwise known as the budget on flimsy grounds.
The budget which is basically a financial plan for the year will greatly enhance the success of the government, provide development, create opportunities for all and above all cater for the expenditure of the government. The 2022 budget when approved by parliament is going to cater for the feeding of poor and needy Ghanaian school children who live in the constituencies of some of these MPs championing the rejection through the school feeding program. By inference, a rejection of the budget means these innocent school kids should not be fed. Is this what a social Democratic Party like NDC should stand for?v
The 2022 budget when approved by parliament is what will provide for financial allocations to ensure that teachers are paid so as to motivate them to teach our children and also get money to feed their family. A rejection of the budget will mean teachers will not be paid and thus our kids will stay at home. Isv that what the NDC is championing?
An approval of the 2022 budget is what will ensure that Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, laboratory assistants, and all other health officers are paid to ensure they save our lives. A rejection of which will mean these essential service providers are going to strike, of which some of us might lose our dear ones. Is this what the social democrats are jubilating over?v
The 2022 budget will further provide for the allocation of funds for the over 571,000 students who are constituents of these MP’s and recently successfully completed their BECE and waiting to enroll unto the Free Senior High School Program. A rejection of the Budget will mean these 571,000 children will be deprived of secondary school education in Ghana. Is this something to play cheap politics with? Or does this afford the minority the opportunity to technically kick against the Free Senior High School decision like they have always done?v
The 2022 budget when approved is the only way the Government can release money to pay innocent public sector workers who have dedicated their whole life in serving this nation. A rejection will mean our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who are public sector workers and have devoted their entire lives to the service of this country will not be paid. Is this what the minority MP’s are seeking to achieve?v
The 2022 budget when approved will create numerous employment opportunities for the youth and provide start up capitals for businesses. This will to a large extent reduce the increasing rate of unemployment which we are all worried about. However a rejection will mean a drastic increase in unemployment and collapse of businesses. Is this what the social Democratic Party’s minority is championing?v
The 2022 budget when approved will provide financial allocations to the construction of 111 hospitals in districts without proper health facilities to boost health care. Interestingly most of these projects are found in constituencies where the members of parliament belong to the minority side. A rejection of the budget means the vision of improving health care will not come to bear. Is this what the minority is jubilating over?v
The budget when approved is what will fund the payment of our colleague contractors who have been agitated for a long time. A rejection will mean they shall continue to be agitated, worried and disturbed. Is this the agenda of the minority?v
The budget when approved will boost agriculture. It will boost the planting for food and jobs initiative and ensure there is more food in the market. Also it will help the government fulfill the vision of distributing 7000 fertilizers to farmers nationwide. A rejection of the budget will simply cause food shortage. Is this what our colleague social democrats are standing for?v
Per the foregoing points, it is clear that the minority in parliament is playing cheap politics with a subject matter that seeks to affect the heart of almost all Ghanaians. The minority is seeking to inflict hardship on Ghanaians as a means to score political points.
The political fortunes of NDC and the minority in parliament undoubtedly depends on the failure of this government and their blueprint is to ensure the government fails at all cost by rejecting the budget.
As a matter of fact, the speaker of parliament who is also a social democrat and a card bearing member of the NDC is reluctant in ensuring the right thing because the finance minister Hon Ken Ofori Atta rejected the request` of the Speaker to allocate Gh¢1.7 billion of taxpayer’s monies to parliament alone.
Like we are all aware, parliament’s primary duty is to enact laws. They do not execute developmental projects. Parliament does not build roads, construct hospitals, provide educational infrastructure, establish factories yet the speaker is demanding a whooping Gh¢1.75 billion under the guise of parliamentary business.
The speaker is only trying to use his antics to pay back the finance minister for rejecting his Gh¢1.7billion allocation request for parliamentary business.
The simple question here is
Will the speaker use part of the Gh¢1.7billion to construct roads?
Will the speaker use part of the Gh¢1.7 billion to build hospitals?
Will the speaker use part of the Gh¢1.7 billion to create employment for the ordinary Ghanaians?
Gh¢1.7billion can build about 15 modern district hospitals, fund 98% of our secondary school infrastructure, pay contractors to dualize the Accra Kumasi Highway, Establish over 70 factories in the Upper West, Upper East, Brong Ahafo and other regions.
Above all, Gh¢1.7billion can be used to solve the Keta Sea Defense Project we are all worried about.
In fact the recent spending by the Office of the Speaker is unimaginable and unprecedented.
Our checks indicate that the Office of the Speaker alone has spent about Gh¢25 million since he assumed office. These expenses include expenditures on foreign travels, per diems, allowances, incentives for staff of which her family member Patience Bagbin member is included, medical expenses, Etc.
The expenditure by the Speaker alone can construct 10 chip compounds.
On the matter of 1.75 per cent E - Levy, we at PaFFAG believe it is undoubtedly a good policy BUT bad politics hence calling on the government to reconsider the decision by reaching a compromise to reduce the levy from 1.75 per cent to 1 per cent.
We know this government is a listening one and that it considers the feedback from her citizens essential.
A 1 per cent E- levy would rather mitigate the plight of Ghanaians and at the same time achieve the purpose for which it is to be implemented.
We note that the e-Levy alone is projected to contribute as much as GHc7.0 billion (or 8.7%) of the total tax revenue of GH¢80.2 billion projected for 2022.
Further, customers will be paying the 1.75% levy on MoMo transactions in addition to the 1.0% already levied by telcos, bringing the total levy to 2.75%. To ease the burden on customers and avoid any negative reactions, we would propose 1 per cent for the e-Levy, bringing the total levy to 2 per cent.
In the coming days, PaFFAG will hold stakeholder consultations with market women, focus groups, momo vendors, etc so as to educate people on the importance and benefits of the E- Levy.
Finally, we would like to conclude with a quote from Former President Mahama in his speech to open the 3rd African Economic Congress (2021), on Monday, 1 November 2021 at Abuja, Nigeria.
“My brothers and sisters, I have spent some time on the coronavirus pandemic because the negative impact on the socio-economic fortunes of our African people has been massive. So insidious has it been that it has literally relegated many of the challenges facing our people – challenges such as unemployment, bad governance, corruption, inadequate health facilities, poor roads, insecurity and many others.
Furthermore, revenues have been heavily affected as the demand for Africa’s commodities, such as oil, coffee, cocoa, and tourism, has sharply declined. The African Development Bank states that Africa’s GDP contracted to 2.1% in 2020; in what has been the worst recession suffered in half a century.”
This is an indication that we are indeed not in normal times However, This too shall pass.
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