The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South in the Brong-Ahafo Region and Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu clashed on the government’s 2017 budget when the former accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) of plagiarising aspects of the NDC’s 2016 budget.
The Asunafo South MP, contributing to the debate on the budget yesterday, said the NPP, realising that the NDC’s budget of 2016 had good policies, plagiarised some aspects relating to coffee production in the country.
He said the NPP lifted word-to-word paragraphs 405, 406 and 407 of the 2016 budget and inserted them into paragraphs 373, 374 and 275 of the 2017 fiscal statement.
Paragraph 273 of the 2017 budget says principally that the government has allocated GH¢2.04 million for the procurement of five million improved coffee planting seedlings for free distribution to coffee farmers while in the 2016 budget, paragraph 405 also talked about government allocating GH¢2.0 million for the procurement of two million improved coffee planting seedlings for free distribution to coffee farmers.
But Eric Opoku said the whole content was lifted into the 2017 budget which is not only a clear act of plagiarism, but an admission that NDC’s policies were also good enough for the NPP to adopt.
The majority leader said the assertion by Eric Opoku was palpable untruth because when two budgets are compared, the figures quoted are not the same.
“Mr Speaker, if my colleague opposite is making that argument it means he does not understand what he is talking about because comparing the two documents, the amounts quoted are GH¢2.0 million and GH¢2.04 million respectively while the number of coffee farmers to be given such assistance are two million and five million respectively so they cannot be the same,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out, stressing that indeed comparing the two, the NPP would use GH¢2.04 to procure five million improved seedlings for coffee farmers but the NDC used GH¢2.0 million to procure just two million improved seedlings for coffee farmers – meaning all the money mentioned in the NDC’s budget was not used for the purpose stated in the budget.
Mr Eric Opoku said the NPP was only offering lip service to improving agriculture in the country, stressing that after the then flag bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, had promised the people of the Brong-Ahafo Region that his administration would establish Cashew Marketing Board to promote the production of cashew in the region, nothing was said about cashew production in the 2017 budget.
The Asunafo South MP noted that the government’s budgetary allocation for the agricultural sector is almost twice that of the NDC in 2016, yet no concrete policy was mentioned in the budget to show that there would be improved agricultural production – meaning the money quoted for the agriculture sector could be used for something different.
The NPP MP for Akwapim South, O.B. Amoah, who also contributed to the debate, said the NDC left the worst legacy in sanitation.
He said after making a lot of noise of procuring $633 million loan for improving sanitation in the Accra Metropolitan Area, the city is still engulfed in filth.
“The NDC had an abysmal and poor waste management programme after creating Waste Management Fund of $74 million,” he noted.
He said the NPP would implement the National Urban Programme to bring life into the major cities in Ghana..
Mr Amoah said unlike the NDC which invested GH¢84 million into the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) but no results were achieved, the NPP would implement its ‘one district, one factory’ programme and achieve greater results under it.
He said the 2017 budget would achieve macro-stability and create the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and in so doing, help to create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.
“This budget is a budget of hope, a budget that will sow the seed for growth and jobs and bring greater hope to all Ghanaians,” he said, adding that the NDC must rather support such a life-transforming budget and not criticise it.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr