The Deputy Majority Chief Whip has admitted government has struggled to meet its revenue target in the first year of the Nana Akufo-Addo government but maintains the government has not reneged on its promises.
On the contrary, Martin Nyindam said the government has delivered on its major campaign promises and cited the flagship free senior high school policy, as well as the restoration of the teacher trainee allowances, nursing trainee allowances as a testimony of government’s fulfilled promises.
“We are struggling to raise revenue but we haven’t run away… all our flagship programmes have been delivered” he told Joy News’ Gifty Andoh Appiah hours after the Minority in Parliament had painted a bleak picture of the country’s economy.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson in the company of the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu on Monday organized a budget preview conference in which they damned government’s handling of the economy.
Forson said given the incompetent nature in which the economy has been handled the country would face hardships similar to the endemic poverty the country experienced in 1983.
Rather than reducing taxes on importation, Mr Forson said with the three percent VAT flat rate scheme introduced by the government has led to importers now having to pay 20 percent tax on their imports.
“This vindicates the position as Minority when the three percent rate was introduced, but which unfortunately was ignored by the managers of the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
According to him, Ghana’s business climate, keep worsening by the day, claiming Ghana has slipped 12 places on the World Bank’s Ease of doing business report.
“The deterioration is most unfortunate because around the same time last year under the NDC government, Ghana moved up 13 places on the same index and was adjudged the best place to do business in West Africa ahead of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire,” he noted.
But the Majority has debunked the claims that Ghana is heading towards the brink with the possibility of a return to the 1983 hardships.
“How can you be talking about a repeat of 1983 poverty for a government that has brought free SHS in 11 months?
“A poor man who could not afford to send his child to school is now happy because that child goes to school for free.
“The teacher trainee, nursing trainee is happy because their allowances are back,” Martin Nyindam reacted to the Minority claims.
Despite the challenges with the implementation of the SHS, Nyindam said government is not unaware of the challenges but is doing everything possible to solve all the bottlenecks.
He has absolute confidence in the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta and the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, without whom he said the country would have been in a precarious situation.
“They took the country from nowhere and are bringing it somewhere,” he said, adding, “we are never going to fail.”
Commenting on the 2018 budget statement which would be read on Wednesday, the MP for Kpandai said the NDC members who are shouting on roof tops will be left completely “dazed” when the budget is read.
“The minister and the economic management team know what they are about…They are working on the revenue targets, he said.
“We will progress despite the challenges…” he added.
But MP for Bolga Central Albert Adongo insists the government is on the path of failure. He told Gifty Andoh-Appiah no one put a gun on the head of the government to promise a free SHS, one district one factory, 200m cedis Zongo development fund when there is no money.
He said the government cannot put the estimated cost of implementing the SHS at ¢400million only to release ¢80 million for the implementation.
“So is it the 80million that we have to clap for Akufo-Addo?” he asked.