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Friday, March 24, 2023

Cross-Fire In Parliament


Dr Anthony Akoto OseiTHERE WERE heckles, boos and accusations between Members of the Minority side and their counterparts from the Majority, resulting in a verbal cross-fire in Parliament last Thursday, over the mid-year supplementary budget presented to the Legislature by the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.

The verbal exchanges followed the disclosure by the former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic

Planning and MP for Old Tafo, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, that some comments in the budget statement by the Minister for Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, were grossly misleading and disingenuous.

Dr. Duffuor had stated in the supplementary budget that the Atta Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration inherited from the NPP government, a rundown economy, resulting in the seeking of Parliamentary approval for over GH¢252milliion to cater for some imbalances in the system.

However, supporting the motion for the approval of the amount, Dr. Akoto Osei indicated, with statistical evidence, that the NPP administration presented to the NDC a better and improved economy than it inherited in 2001 from the previous NDC regime, resulting in countless points of order or objections by Members of the Majority.

The ensuing hullabaloo created near chaos with tempers flaring high on the floor of the House and it even became more visible when the First Deputy Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, who was chairing proceedings, virtually took part in the debate.

Some members from the Minority, dissatisfied with the conduct of Hon. Doe Adjaho who is also the NDC MP for Ave Avenor, questioned the impartiality of the First Deputy Speaker.

In presenting the statistics to buttress his point, Dr. Akoto Osei pointed out that when the NPP took over the administration of the country, inflation was 41 per cent, whilst it left behind an inflation rate of 18 per cent in 2008.

Again in 2000, the borrowing or lending rate was 50 per cent as compared to 27 per cent in 2008; per capita income in 2000 was $279 whilst in 2008 it was over $750, Debt to GDP ratio was 24 per cent in 2008 against 159.5 per cent in 2000, which meant that if Ghana were sold in 2000, the state would not have been able to pay all its debts.

Going by the statistics, Dr. Akoto Osei indicated the NPP had left a better economy for the NDC in 2008 than it inherited in 2001 and therefore the statement by the Finance Minister, Dr. Duffuor, that the NDC inherited a rundown economy, was grossly disingenuous.

He said it was even more misleading after the NDC had written to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it had taken over an improved economy and with the injection of the needed financial resources, the Ghanaian economy would be on the path of sustained growth.

Meanwhile, Parliament has, after the heated exchanges the House, approved the supplementary budget totaling GH¢252,790,947 as additional resources required to address the inadequacies of the amount of monies approved under the 2009 budget.

By Awudu Mahama

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