Parliament is set to listen to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta deliver government’s budget for 2018. It is the second of the Akufo-Addo government.
And while the Minority has predicted gloom, the government is predicting growth. The opposition is predicting freezes in expenditure but Ghanaians would be looking out for freebies.
So today, will the opposition get the chance to gloat about the failures or will the government show up and boast about its successes.
Up in the public gallery, Ghanaians of all shades watch their MPs chit-chat and fraternise and basically monitor how tax-feed MPs carry themselves about in the House.
The Speaker is in. The Prayer is said. The MPs are going through the previous minutes. Odododiodoo NDC MP Nii Lante Vanderpuye rises to correct the spelling of his name. Some in the gallery chuckle at what they believe is a needless dwelling on nitty-gritties.
10:20am: Minority leader cosys up to Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akufo. He wants a more prominent seat for her because she is the only minister recognised by the 1992 constitution.
Haruna is at his chivalrous best – or should we say, constitutional chivalrous best. Haters will say he is trying to get the minister into his corner before the Special Prosecutor begins a dreaded blitz of prosecution.
Parliament is actually debating the Justice minister’s sitting position – call it strength of a woman.
Finance minister is up in his self-imposed white dress in stark contrast to the suit and ties all over the House.
Ken Ofori-Atta lives to the expectation of slipping in Bible quotes. He refers to Matthew 13 and gets heckled. This won’t be the last.
President Akufo-Addo has inspired us to see the invisible to feel the intangible and achieve the impossible.
We have turned the economy round comment is met with incredulous shock at the exaggerated patting of government’s back.
This only the second time a government has been able to keep to its fiscal targets in a decade, he says and hypes the restoration of the nurses and teacher trainee allowances plus the free SHS.
He calls the free SHS policy ‘destiny-changing’. And hypes the National Digital Addressing System. The Minority screams ‘ 419’. Bawumia looks on perhaps repeating to himself ‘ they just don’t read’.
Finance minister says government will invest heavily in its flagship policies – Planting for Food and Jobs, free SHS, One District One Factory.
He christens the budget ‘ Puting Ghana to work’. It is time to rise and build and quotes Nehmiah who built the broken walls of Jerusalem.
Ken Ofori-Atta wants to quote his relative and doyen of Gold Coast politics, JB Danquah keeping to his admiration which will surely irk Nkrumahists.
The Minority heckles.
He says 2016 recorded lowest growth performance in several years. ‘We are not paying our taxes and we are helping others not to pay their taxes’
Accumulation of previous arrears remains a major challenge to meet fiscal targets. Arrears Clearance program has devoted 3.7bn cedis to pay debts in 2017.
He says this is the level of naked abuse under the Mahama government. But we have moved on.