“During deliberations, concern was expressed on how to support the private sector, which is seen as the engine of growth. It came to the fore that, there are too many Government initiatives …”
So, if they are too many, why are we adopting the Report?
“…that are being implemented independently sometimes creating turf wars rather than inuring to the benefit of the country.”
That is the problem we have. They are
being very diplomatic, saying that there are wars. It is complete indiscipline and that is what we must curb.
Yes, I have the evidence; STX was not in the budget? Do not let me go there. This is serious. The Chairman of the NDPC has said it; the Committee has agreed and we are allowing it go. So, what happens is that, you have on the average, every Minister talking alone to somebody for 10 projects, completely unrelated to the budget and they would want us to push them. They would rush to the Speaker, the Clerk - “Oh, please, my programme”. You ask, “Is it in the budget? And it is not there. We are doing a lot of off-budgeting activities completely unrelated to what the President brings here.
As we speak, we have approved of the budget and I have heard several Ministries talking about “oh, a grant is coming, a loan is coming.” This has nothing to do with the budget. So, are we implementing the President's programme that he brings here or are we doing our own? What are we doing as a country?
The issue with the energy crisis is that it is not in the budget. It is not. What is in the budget is a Coordinated Programme to ensure that we have energy stability.
We have a crisis. So, we must have a mechanism to solve it. Then one would hear the Minister for Power saying that he is going to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) and Parliament does not know of it. We did not approve it in the budget. But now, we hear that the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) is guaranteeing. We have not approved of GNPC's programmes and activities - further indiscipline.
If it is a national crisis, bring the issue here and let us debate it, so that at least, the people's representatives can support an effort to cure the short-term problem -- totally no coordination. Several Ministers I did not want to mention -- only the Minister for Power, several Ministers-- “Oh, soon we would do this”.
It is nowhere in the President's programme but Parliament, because it is a constitutional obligation, we write nice reports, we adopt it and say they should go and implement it. What are they implementing? Excuse my language, Mr Speaker; it is garbage; garbage in, garbage out! We ought to take ourselves serious. If the budget is a three-year carving out of the President's programme, let us see that there is alignment. Make sure and go through the details.
I have given you two examples - including the GDP growth rate - where there is no alignment between the budget and that. But we have approved the budget. So, now, should we be approving the coordinated plan or we are doing it because it is coming from the President? But the budget is also coming from the President.
So, what do we do? We have a serious dilemma. If we approve of both, where we know they are incorrect, we are making a big statement on ourselves. Maybe, we are just going through the Motions but I do not think that is what we want to do.
So Mr Speaker, I am really in a big dilemma. I think that maybe, we
should step down the Motion and ask the Committee to do something to reflect some of these inconsistencies. It is because of the constitutional obligation that we are going through this but we are asking them directly to go and review and come back. It will be a provisional kind of thing because it is not implementable.
Mr Speaker, they say the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme, on page 3; and with your permission ,I beg to quote:
“In responding to a question on the impact of an IMF programme, the Chairman of NDPC assured the Committee that an IMF installed package on the Coordinated Programmes would not affect the implementation …”
The IMF programme has nothing to do with this. It is a stabilisation programme that is being used to address an emergency. It has to have an impact on the programme. So, if the Committee accepts this, coming from the Chairman, who is my good Friend, I have a difficulty.
In fact, as we speak, we do not even know the content of the IMF programme. We are told that maybe, by April - and then we say that it will not affect it. It will. We have approved the budget, which is dead on arrival; the IMF programme will change it. The Minister says he will come back with a new budget and we are saying that it will not affect the programme.
Mr Speaker, already, it has affected it; why? The GDP growth cannot be 3.9 per cent because we have dumsor. For the next six months, output will fall, revenues will fall. So, to say that the IMF programme will not affect - is not right. In fact, the IMF is asking the Government to go and recalibrate the budget.
Recalibration here means go and change the numbers. So, Minister, if we do it properly, almost all the expenditures
that we have approved, would have to be revised.
It will affect the President's programme and we need to take cognisance of that. Let us not take these ones for granted. Such statements do not help us.
That is why I have a difficulty supporting the Motion. I have a serious difficulty.
Mr Speaker, this is a very important document, which is supposed to inform us from 2014 to 2020. Mr Speaker, in the year 2020, nobody can guarantee that they would be alive. But once we are alive today, let us do the proper thing; if it means spending more time to review it properly. It will inure to our interest.