Hardship Causing Decline In Church Offerings - Minority MPs

The Minority side in Parliament has stated that the rising cost of living in the country as a result of increasing rate of inflation has caused a rapid decline in payment of church offerings and funeral donations.

Debating the 2016 Budget and Economic Policy Statement of government yesterday after a heated exchanges on which budget document to use, Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Dr. Mark Asibey-Yeboah said inflation has skyrocketed as compared to neighboring countries like Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

Dr. Asibey-Yeboah noted that it is as a result of this that many Ghanaians have reduced their funeral donations and church offerings.

He further stated that the agriculture sector has also performed poorly with a record of zero per cent adding that “it is a mixture of incompetence and mismanagement” that had caused all the problems in the country.

On fiscal management, the MP said the country’s debt is not sustainable because the debt has risen from about GH¢9 billion in 2008 to about GH¢95 billion in 2015 with high interest payments.

But Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu disagreed with him and said government was borrowing to invest in critical sectors of the economy.

Mr. Iddrisu said in 2016, government would create about 100,000 jobs for the youth while creating an enabling environment for investors.

Another member of the minority side, Kwake Kwarteng on his part said government’s way of fiscal consolidation is to cut down salaries of public sector workers and capital expenditure while paying more on interest payments.

According to Mr. Kwarteng, the loans are being used to pay interest on loans adding that the budget statement is silent on government’s commitment to retrieving dubious judgment debts paid to individuals and organizations.

Minister of Agriculture, Fifi Kwetey however noted that despite the difficulties of government, Ghanaians should be grateful for having a budget deficit brought down to about four per cent from 15 per cent.

Mr. Kwetey said in spite of the difficulties, inflation has never crossed 18 per cent as experienced some years ago noting that “we have not reached that unprecedented level.”

On the agriculture sector, the sector Minister admitted to the rapid decline in growth but explained that it was as a result of weather conditions that affected the crop sector.

Minority MP for Subin, Isaac Osei on his part also said the theme for the budget is erroneous because there is no progress in any part of the economy that needs consolidation.