The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has rallied parliamentarians to constructively interact and throw their weight behind the measures outlined within the 2024 Budget.
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He mentioned as that they had performed previously, the House was as soon as once more being referred to as upon to help and move, on time, the proposed measures within the 2024 Budget, which he described because the “most crucial executive policy tool”.
“There are seasons to fight, tear down, break down, and idle about. And there are seasons to rebuild, push forward, hold-up energies and lend support”.
“This is the season to gather around, constructively engage and make manifest the destiny of our great nation,” Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned, utilizing numerous figures of speech to court docket the help of the lawmakers to approve the essential 2024 Budget.
He was addressing the opening of the post-budget workshop in Parliament final Saturday which was chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.
The two-day occasion is to supply a chance for MPs to grasp the coverage underpinnings of the price range and their implications in addition to scrutinise the federal government’s monetary estimates and financial coverage for the 2024 fiscal 12 months in the course of the debate.
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The finance minister mentioned the 2024 price range was essentially the most essential government coverage device, as a result of it offered a pathway for financial restoration and the nation’s future.
“It reflects our collective aspirations, our challenges, and the pathways we choose to navigate through them” and, subsequently, reminded Parliamentarians of the immense accountability that rested upon their shoulders.
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Mr Ofori-Atta additional defined that the 2024 price range was ready, recognising the 2024 elections, the implementation of IMF-Supported Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG), the Debt Restructuring Programme, the safety concerns, the federal government’s progress technique, and leveraging local weather financing to help the expansion technique.
“In that regard, Mr Speaker, our discussions today are pivotal, as they are not merely about the allocation of resources, but more so about the values that underpin our decisions to provide opportunities, create jobs, and improve the well-being of our people,” Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned.
He, subsequently, urged lawmakers to think about the price range with a way of objective and a imaginative and prescient for the better good of the nation, significantly for schoolchildren, academics, moms, farmers and fisherfolks.
“Mr Speaker, this budget is crucial for our people. Last two years, we had some challenges and the experience was not so good. Last year, we came through and achieved a crucial victory for the Republic when we moved forward with the budget,” he mentioned.
Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned the duties forward have been demanding, however collectively, with diligence and dedication, the lofty targets contained within the price range could possibly be achieved.
“Mr Speaker, for us to move forward on this path towards stability and growth, we need the House and your partnership to get measures outlined across this budget through and in quick order”.
He added: “As we delve into the intricacies of this budget, I only ask that we be guided by a commitment to fairness, to sustainability, and to the unwavering pursuit of prosperity for each and every citizen.”
Forging forward collectively
Mr Ofori-Atta maintained that the highway forward was fraught with uncertainties – world financial shifts, rising societal wants, and the ever-present problem of balancing progress with stability in addition to fairness to advertise constructive social mobility for all.
He, nonetheless, expressed the boldness that with collective knowledge, perception and the unwavering help for the 2024 price range from the legislators, “we can chart a course that is both pragmatic and visionary”.
“In the spirit of collaborative governance, I ask that we engage in this workshop with an open mind, a critical eye, and a heart attuned to the needs of those we are here to serve.
“Together, we must forge ahead on a growth path that is robust, responsive and reflective of the great nation we are all privileged to represent now,” Mr Ofori Atta mentioned.
On the supply of roads, together with the clearance of highway arrears within the price range, the minister mentioned the federal government needed to display its resolve to construct a strong infrastructure community.
“On statutory funds, we have budgeted for arrears clearance and should support this and ensure that we catch up on our District Assemblies Common Fund, Social Security and National Insurance Trust, National Insurance Scheme, Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) arrears,” he added.
The Speaker mentioned Parliament, because the custodian of the nationwide purse, legislated and handed an act to permit the federal government to tax the folks.
Hence, Mr Bagbin mentioned it was on the authority of Parliament that the federal government taxed folks.
“Therefore, whatever is received by government becomes our possession for and on behalf of the people. The government cannot spend or touch the taxes of the people without the approval of Parliament again,” he mentioned.
The Speaker added that “you are to be held accountable for how that money is expended”.
Mr Bagbin additionally urged MPs to guide the transformational change Ghanaians have been on the lookout for to enhance the economic system and their welfare.
He mentioned as responsibility bearers, they have to be conscious of the brand new dispensation the place the belief hole between leaders and the folks have been closed.
“We cannot have that transformational change, if we keep doing the same thing. It is our duty to strive to improve the welfare of our people and even though we see this as the usual business of Parliament, this time around it is more critical than before,” he mentioned.
Mr Bagbin cited the conduct of Afrobarometer survey by CDD-Ghana in July final 12 months which gave an disagreeable picture about Parliament.
“There is a clear indication that there was a trust deficit in our democratic institutions and I think, as politicians, we should take these findings seriously and do a few things to try and close the trust gap between our people and us as leaders of the country.
“We should not be heard to be saying something and to be doing something else,” the Speaker mentioned.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, mentioned the price range was an important developmental coverage device of the federal government because it elaborated on the priorities of the nation within the eyes of the federal government.
“As the people’s representatives, it behoves us to ensure that the budget optimally matches the nation’s needs with the available resources. The budget affects all of us,” he mentioned.
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, mentioned the price range being the primary for the reason that authorities signed onto the IMF programme, coupled with upcoming 2024 normal election, there was the necessity for Parliament to scrutinise it with an eagle’s eye.
That, he mentioned, would be certain that the federal government spent throughout the allowable fiscal area.
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