General News of Thursday, 12 March 2015
There was total disorder in Ghana’s Parliament on Thursday as Finance Minister Seth Terkper went to the House to present a reviewed 2015 budget statement.
The Minority lawmakers heckled the Finance Minister and his deputies as Terkper was being ushered in to present the budget.
The Speaker who had a rough time controlling the MPs has been forced to suspend sitting to calm tempers in the House. The minority MPs are protesting what they termed a change in the order paper for Thursday’s proceedings.
“The Minority lawmakers were shouting on top of their voices and banging on their desks,” Starr News’ Ibrahim Alhassan reported from Parliament. “Not even threats from the Speaker to throw them out could stop them.”
The House has been on suspension for the last 30 minutes.
The reviewed budget has been necessitated by decline in oil revenue and government’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Targets and expenditures spelt out in the previous budget presented in November last year will be slashed significantly.
The fall in the oil price means that the government is going to suffer a revenue shortfall of nearly $700 million, as against estimates in the 2015 Budget Statement, which was presented in Parliament in November 2014.
The government’s programme with the IMF has made a number of recommendations some of which are expected to feature in the revised budget.
The finance minister is expected to announce some serious cuts in the government’s initial plan to spend some GH¢4,544 million this year.
The government, last year, budgeted with a crude oil price of $99 a barrel, which was expected to bring in about $2 billion to help it meet its revenue target of GH¢3,453 million.