The government’s 2020 Budget was yesterday unanimously approved by Parliament after the Majority and the Minority leaders rounded up the debate on the budget.
Parliament will now consider the budget estimates in the coming weeks for specific sectors of the economy before the appropriation bill will be passed to give the government the green light to spend according to monies appropriated in the budget.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who witnessed the concluding debate yesterday, said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had been able to realize GH¢7.6 billion after enacting the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act in 2017.
“The Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act has so far accumulated GH¢7.6 billion to support government’s intervention in mostly development in the health and education sector,” he said.
He added that it was significant to support public financing of these sectors and any other sectors that go beyond what is allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) or any other specific fund.
The Capping policy which was passed in 2017 is meant to free up public funds in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for other uses.
It also provides that the earmarked funds for each financial year should be equivalent to 25 per cent of revenue.
Prior to the approval of the Earmarked Funds Capping Act, the Finance Minister had told Parliament that capping arrangement had become necessary to remove the rigidities in public expenditure.
He said the government was left with virtually nothing after taking out interest payments, compensation of employees and earmarked funds from revenues.
According to him, it had resulted in the unsustainable cycle of borrowing by the government to fund any other important expenditure to meet the aspirations of the people.
Besides, the Finance Minister indicated that the work of government over the past three years had created “human transformation” and that the government is pursuing transformative social intervention programmes for the good people of Ghana.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the 2020 Budget would not give any hope to Ghanaians, stressing that unemployment was still soaring despite government’s claims that it had created employment avenues for a lot of the youth.
He said Ghanaians had seen what Nana Akufo-Addo can do and what former President Mahama was able to do and would accordingly decide which of the two is better in terms of leadership, come December 2020.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the NPP government’s achievements in three years in office surpassed the eight years achievements of the Mills/Mahama administration.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr