The Minority in Parliament has described the budget for the 2023 fiscal year as empty.
The caucus contends that the measures announced by government as part of efforts to generate revenue would only worsen the economic condition of Ghanaians.
While presenting the budget in Parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta among other things revealed a freeze on employment of public sector workers and an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) by 2.5%.
“What he gave to us was nothing but grammar. He has informed us clearly that the Ghanaian economy is indeed in an Intensive Care Unit. This Minister has informed us that going forward to the year 2023, there is going to be a freeze on employment at a time when we know that unemployment particularly with the youth is in excess of 50 percent,” the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson told the press.
He added that, the government is oblivious to the reality of many Ghanaians.
“It looks as if this government doesn’t seem to be aware that this Ghanaian economy has introduced unbearable hardship to the citizens of this country. Unfortunately, the adjustments the Minister has announced did not show us how they intend to cut government expenditure. The things he announced are nothing but empty and did not indicate where proper expenditure cuts will come from”, Mr. Ato Forson stressed.
The Finance Minister on Thursday, November 24, 2022, presented the government’s 2023 budget statement in Parliament in accordance with the requirement under Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Key in the budget was the Minister’s seven-point agenda to boost the economy, including the 2.5 percent increase in VAT and the review of the 1.5 percent Electronic Transfer Levy rate to 1 percent.
Mr. Ofori-Atta further indicated that the increase in VAT is expected to yield GH¢2.70 billion, which will be used to augment funding for road infrastructure development.
For, Mr. Ato Forson, the 2023 budget failed to give hope to Ghanaians in the face of the country’s economic woes.
He encouraged Ghanaians to brace up for maximum and excruciating hardships in 2023, predicting that Ghanaians will go through tough times.