Minister for Finance Ken Ofori-Atta on Tuesday submitted to Parliament details of modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement and Government’s Economic Policy in response to emerging concerns and agitations by stakeholders, including the Minority National Democratic Congress Members of Parliament.
The proposals include amendments of the Agyapa Royalties Ltd to take out references to mineral royalties’ collateralization and the Government’s resolve to make the necessary budgetary allocations of at least GHC10 million to complete the Feasibility and Engineering studies for the coastal communities adversely affected by the tidal waves in the Volta Region.
As regards the Aker Energy transaction, the Minister has also conceded to amend paragraph 829 of the 2022 Budget on the acquisition of a stake from Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum by GNPC to reflect the resolution of Parliament dated 6th July 2021 which stated that the terms and conditions of the loan for the acquisition of the shares shall be brought to Parliament for consideration under Article 181 of the Constitution.
On the benchmark values, Ken Ofori Atta said Government would work to avert any hardships to importers and consumers while safeguarding the interest of local manufacturing industries to secure and expand jobs for the people.
He said this administrative exercise has the objective to promote local manufacturing and the One District One Factory (1D1F) Policy, including the assembling of vehicles.
The Minister furthered that the adjustment affected only 11.4 percent of the total cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value, of which 50 percent is for vehicles emphasizing that the potential increase in retail prices should be relatively insignificant and, therefore, inflation should be muted.
According to him, the YouStart policy will also support traders with appropriate training and access to capital to become manufacturers to expand the industrial base of the society and import substitution strategy in line with the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
Ken Ofori-Atta said the Government would work with the relevant Committees of Parliament to reflect these modifications in the 2022 Budget before the passage of the Appropriation Bill and that any other concerns which may emerge shall be addressed during the discussions of the estimates by the Committees as has been the tradition.
The Minister however admitted that no review had been made to the 1.75 percent on the matter of the E-levy because of serious financial implications but gave assurance to continue consultations with the Minority NDC Caucus in Parliament and other relevant stakeholders to achieve consensus and revert to the House in the shortest possible time.
He expounded that the National Budget remained the single most effective tool to address the greatest challenges of the nation hence the country cannot allow such a strategic national tool to be held hostage by partisan interests, especially when the consideration stage offers every opportunity for such redress.