As the dust begins to settle over the 2020 budget, critical questions are being asked of the government’s expenditure document, which was submitted to Parliament for approval Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is questioning the equitable distribution of the national cake over the 16 administrative regions in Ghana.
“Why is provision not made in the 2020 budget for critical road projects in the case of only the Volta Region?” He asked on his Facebook wall barely 24 hours after the budget presentation.
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According to him, unless the omission is an error, it will prove difficult for Members of Parliament in that region, to explain to their constituents why they were left out.
“More fundamentally, how will Government justify this aberration in the face of the 1992 Constitution which enjoins Governments to undertake even and balanced development of all regions,” Ablakwa charged.
This might perhaps be the first critical question over the budget which has largely been praised as reflecting the reality of the Ghanaian situation by an economic and finance professor with the University of Ghana, Legon.
According to Prof. Godfred Alufar Bokpin, the Akufo-Addo government has outperformed its predecessor, John Mahama and must now look for a more challenging benchmark to measure its successes.
“If we have to compare ourselves to the Mahama administration, it may suggest that we have done extra-ordinarily well (and we are likely to start popping Champaign), but I think that we should have a better benchmark to do so.”
Bokpin’s comments follow the government’s assertion that it has, directly and indirectly, put an amount of 12.2 billion cedis into the pockets of many Ghanaians since 2017.
This, the government said it did through its major social intervention programmes.
For instance, the Free SHS policy has saved parents a total of 1.8 billion cedis over the last three years according to the minister.
That was not all, “Planting for Food and Jobs,” he added, has saved farmers a total of 844 million cedis. While nursing trainees have also received a total of 336 million cedis in the form of allowance within the last three years.