Parliament approves 2021 budget

Parliament has approved the 2021 budget.

Some 137 MPs voted in favour of the approval while 134 voted against it.

There was a headcount after the Minority rejected a voice vote.

Earlier, the Minority had warned that it would reject the budget if the government did not report what, in its view, was the true deficit.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, also had cause to raise concerns about capping of the allocation for the legislature and judiciary.

A few days ago, Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta said the budget was a “battle cry” and, therefore, every Ghanaian must take part in sharing the burden.

According to him, there are many projects that have to be completed by the government.

He made the comment after a section of the populace expressed misgivings with the timing of some new taxes announced by the government in the budget and economic statement.

Presenting the budget on behalf of the yet-to-be-vetted Finance Minister, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on Friday, 12 March 2021, told Parliament that the government is introducing a 10p sanitation and pollution levy; and 20p excess power capacity levy, both on the Energy Sector Levy Act (ESLA) with the combined effect being an increase in the ex-pump price of fuel by 5.7 per cent.

Additionally, the government is introducing a 1 per cent COVID-19 levy on VAT, Flat Rate Scheme; 5 per cent financial clean-up levy on banks’ profit-before-tax and also considering adjusting road tolls to align with current trends.

But speaking at a virtual post-budget forum by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr Ofori-Atta called on Ghanaians to support the budget.

He said: “This budget is a battle cry and it’s for all of us to be part of it, to burden share and going forward we have some 8700 projects and we’ve targeted them for completion so that that culture of not completing projects we do away with.”

“Consolidation is important for us because the macros must be stable and clearly what we did in the past three and a half years was what is able to support us in 2020 while others were tottering.

“The continuity of growth with the Obaatanpa intervention so that we look beyond that and know that we are stronger people. So, the target of debt sustainability becomes important. I think globally everybody has gone through those matrixes and we are no less and we need to watch it and that’s an anchor for this budget and the deficit we are bringing it down to 9.5 from 11.7,” Mr Ofori-Atta added.  


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