General News of Friday, 3 March 2017
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta delivered the 2017 budget on Thursday, 2 March devoid of propaganda, the Minority in Parliament has said, and praised Mr Ofori-Atta for being different from Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
“We note that the Finance Minister refrained from the unfortunate propaganda that other leaders of the NPP use to do, especially Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, when it comes to discussing the economy,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told the press on Friday, 3 March at a press conference to present an alternative to Mr Ofori-Atta’s budget.
“He rightly acknowledged the significant contributions made in the management of the economy by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government,” the Minority added.
Meanwhile, the Minority has said the government must come clean on which state assets it intends selling off in its effort to raise GHS1.8billion through listing of those assets on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).
Mr Iddrisu said since the New Patriotic Party is known for a “tradition” of selling off state assets “whenever they are cash-strapped,” as they did to Ghana Telecom (now Vodafone) and Ghana Airport Company during the Kufuor administration, it was imperative for the government to let Ghanaians know which state assets are billed to be sold.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, in his maiden State of the Nation Address hinted at a possible listing of state power producer Volta River Authority (VRA) and state power transmitter Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) on the GSE.
Also, when Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta read the first budget of the new government in parliament, he said the government intended “divesting” its “holdings in some SOEs with a view to ensuring efficiency” as part of capital market development initiatives.
“This will include the sale of government shares in some SOEs and companies via a listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange,” Mr Ofori-Atta explained.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said: “In the interest of transparency and accountability, we demand that they [government] provide more information on which state assets they intend to sell in order to be able to raise the GHS1.8billion from the divestiture proceeds. We need to have an indication.”
According to Mr Iddrisu, GRIDCo and VRA can only be divested a “dongomi” rate – pittance – since they have major liabilities on their balance sheets which essentially devalues their worth.