The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has implored Members of Parliament(MPs) to constructively engage and support the measures outlined in the 2024 budget.
According to the minister, the house was once again being called upon to support and pass, on time, the budget for the following year.
“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 said in a bid to court the support of the MPs.
The minister was addressing the opening of the post-budget workshop in Parliament on November 18, which was chaired by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.
The two-day event provides an opportunity for MPs to understand the policy underpinnings of the budget and their implications, as well as scrutinise the government’s financial estimates and economic policy for the 2024 fiscal year during the debate.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the 2024 budget was the most crucial executive policy tool because it provided a pathway for economic recovery and the nation’s future.
“It reflects our collective aspirations, our challenges, and the pathways we choose to navigate through them” and, therefore, reminded Parliamentarians of the immense responsibility that rested upon their shoulders.
Mr Ofori-Atta further explained that the 2024 budget was prepared, recognising the 2024 elections, the implementation of the IMF-Supported Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG), the debt restructuring programme, the security considerations, the government’s growth strategy, and leveraging climate financing to support the growth strategy.
“In that regard, Mr Speaker, our discussions today are pivotal, as they are not merely about the allocation of resource, 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 said.
He, therefore, urged lawmakers to consider the budget with a sense of purpose and a vision for the greater good of the nation, particularly for schoolchildren, teachers, mothers, farmers and fisherfolks.
“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 added.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the tasks ahead were demanding, but together, with diligence and determination, the lofty goals contained in the budget could 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 the unwavering pursuit of prosperity for every citizen.”
Mr Ofori-Atta maintained that the road ahead was fraught with uncertainties – global economic shifts, emerging societal needs, and the ever-present challenge of balancing growth with stability as well as equity to promote positive social mobility for all.
“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,” he concluded.