Bolgatanga Central Member of Parliament, Isaac Adongo has explained why the Minority Caucus did not resist the first-stage of the approval process for the 2023 budget and government policy.
The document was presented by Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta on November 24 and after two weeks of debate was approved on December 6, 2022.
Unlike in 2021 when the Minority purportedly rejected the budget before that rejection was overturned by the Majority, this year’s process was without incident because the Minority supported it.
Adongo, who is the deputy Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament explained on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News (December 7) that the support was borne out of lessons learnt from the 2021 fracas.
“As a Caucus after the 2020 budget, there has been series of engagements and questions has been raised as to the rationale for rejecting entire policy package of government when indeed it is one or two items that we disagree and we do have an opportunity to deal with those items independently.
“We have learnt lessons from that, and it really doesn’t make sense that we pursue an agenda to say that a complete package of policies by government should be rejected when the specifics that we disagree will be available for us to take a decision,” he explained.
He stressed that at later stages of the budget consideration, the Minority will scrutinize specific laws, some of which they will oppose having announced same to the public.
He assured that to the extent that the powers of the 136 National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs can go, “I am sure Ghanaians will be very happy if we resist up to the limit of the powers that they have given us and the limit of the powers that they have given us is 136 at the moment.”
He listed a number of the issues they will resist citing the Minority Leader’s concluding debate before the approval.
Among others, the threshold of the E-Levy must remain, it is to be scrapped per the 2023 budget. He, however disclosed that they will go with the proposed 1% rate because rejecting it will mean that the old rate remains because that law is still subsisting and in force.
They will also reject an amendment to increase VAT by 2.5%, reject allocation for the National Cathedral and also for the Contingency Vote, which he said had been abused after it emerged that government withdrew funds from the fund for the construction of the National Cathedral.