Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2019 Budget statement to the Parliament house under the theme - “A Stronger Economy, for Jobs and Prosperity”
1. Right Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, today the fifteenth day of November 2018, on the authority of the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I beg to move that this august House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of the Republic of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2019.
2. Mr. Speaker the authority of His Excellency the President, and in keeping with the requirement under Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, may I respectfully present the Budget Statement and Economic Policies of Government for 2019 to this Honourable House.
3. Mr. Speaker, this statement is an abridged version of the 2019 Budget Statement. I would like to request the Hansard Department to capture the entire Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
4. I also submit before this august House, the 2018 Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds, in accordance with Section 48 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended.
5. Mr. Speaker, the theme of this year’s budget is “A Stronger Economy, for Jobs and Prosperity”. The budget represents the third of four budget statements of the government.
It, therefore, offers us an opportunity to take a mid-term review of the performance of the Government in managing the economy and how we intend to accelerate the programme of growing the economy, protecting the vulnerable, and creating jobs and prosperity for the Ghanaian people over the next financial year.
6. I do not take lightly the significance of this moment and opportunity we are granted annually to determine how the precious assets of Ghana – our people, our land, our natural resources and our treasury should be stewarded for national growth and human development.
7. Despite the challenges, we approach this process with genuine humility and gratitude to a great God.
We recognize that while current resources are insufficient to meet every need and every demand of every Ghanaian, there are no limitations on our collective potential, our will and our hope that the sacrifices we make and the seeds we sow today will achieve sustainable results putting Ghana on an irreversible path of enviable empowerment.
8. With all the humility I can muster, Mr. Speaker, permit me to say that I am proud to say that the Akufo-Addo government is delivering on this four-year resounding mandate that the people of Ghana has given us.
This is evident in the impressive strides the nation has made in the past 22 months.
9. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the President, I wish to thank you all, the citizens of this country, for your patience, perseverance, sacrifices, activism and partnership that you have extended to this government.
So far-reaching and non-partisan has these national sacrifices been, that even now, some members of the Minority in Parliament have decided to lead the campaign for cleaner environment by dumping their gas- guzzling Toyota Land cruisers to ride bicycles to work.
For example, a former Deputy Minister for Power, during the unforgiving ‘Dumsor’ era under President John Dramani Mahama, was seen two evenings ago riding his bicycle to a luxury furniture shop on the Spintex Road.
10. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have, in the last two budget years,
taken some tough decisions to get the country out of some very rough seas. We are not proud of the fact that there is still hardship in the country.
But we are comforted by the fact that we have managed to ease the impact of the hardships that the Ghanaian people had been resigned to prior to December 7, 2016.
We are not there yet. We still have a long way to go in fulfilling the manifest destiny of this blessed land. Indeed, we are being repaid for “the years the locusts have eaten”.
11. So, Mr. Speaker, what is, however, clear is that the nation is moving forward under this government and moving forward in the right direction.
12.We are now on course to exit the IMF programme by the end of this year. It has been a collective effort by all of us – Government, for exercising the kind of macro-economic competence and discipline that was evidently lacking in the past; and, the people for their patience, understanding, and keeping faith with their government.
The programme may have had its critics because of the constraints it imposed. But it was a necessary pill because by 2014, the government then had lost its fiscal discipline and had very little choice but to seek the bailout.
We are grateful to the IMF and are determined to maintain a combination of economic discipline and vibrancy that will ensure that we will not have to be rescued in that manner in the future.
13. Mr. Speaker, the philosophy of this government has not been to throw our hands in the air and offer excuses.
The President, of course, set the standard in his first State of the Nation address. He said: “I was not elected by the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian people to complain. I was elected to get things done. I was elected to fix what is broken and my government and I are determined to do just that.”
14. Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember what it was in order to appreciate the work that has been done to fix the mess:
Declining economic growth that fell from 14 percent 2011 to 3.7 percent in 2016;
● Declining growth in agriculture and negative growth in industry;
● Rising unemployment that resulted in the formation of the Unemployed Graduates Association;
● High Fiscal Deficits reaching 9.3 percent of GDP in 2016;
● Fast rising Public Debts which pushed the debt-to-GDP ratio to 73.1 percent at the end of 2016;
● Fast-falling Cedi, affecting even the meagre profits that street hawkers struggle to make;
● High interest rates killing businesses;
● Effective return to “Cash and Carry” under NHIS as a result of Government arrears
● Weak Banking System and unstable financial system;
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