Member of Parliament for Akwapim South, Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah, has stressed the 2020 Budget and Economic Policy of the Akufo-Addo-led government has not been nicknamed ‘Agyenkwa’ for propaganda reasons.
According to him, the Budget is indeed an Agyenkwa (Savior) policy document that has been crafted to ease the burden of the Ghanaian public and save them from hardship.
He stated that judging from other economies across the world, the government has done a tremendous job to revive the economy but stressed much is left to be done.
Explaining the measures put in the 2022 budget to revive the economy, Hon. O.B. Amoah noted it has been over a year when COVID-19 hit the shores of Ghana.
He averred that the good policies that the government implemented during this time led to effective management of the disease.
He said, “Across the world, various countries went through a terrible period and here in Ghana we made our best efforts and God granted us wisdom and strength to ensure the government was able to protect Ghanaians from the COVID.”
“Schools shut down and the tourism sector literally collapsed because there were no visitors to patronize the hotels and restaurants and other related businesses, which led to untold hardship on Ghanaians.”
“Public sector workers had to work twice or once a week and yet the government paid salaries in full and also supported private school owners as a result of the shutdown,” he added.
According to him, the government made sure it found the funds needed to pay salaries and provided other services to Ghanaians including the free water and electricity that have today put the economy in dire straits.
He said, “We fed about 2.8 million students, and also fed about 470 thousand families including providing food packages to them.”
“Frontline health workers were granted as much as GH¢38.6 million in tax exemptions to motivate them to take good care of Ghanaians.”
“The government also provided free water and electricity to about 4.7 million households,” adding that the government had to do everything to ensure it eases the burden on the Ghanaian people.
Mr. O.B. Amoah noted that the government also introduced some programmes like the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme and Ghana Enterprises Agency to support businesses.
According to him, through these programmes government disbursed GH¢523 million to support 302,000 Ghanaian businesses to shield them from the COVID shocks.
He noted that the country has been able to survive so far and stressed what is needed going forward is what the government will do to stabilize the situation.
The Akwapim South MP averred that government has initiated a lot of such measures and cited the employment sector as an example.
He stated that NABCO employed about 1000,000 people who have now been given permanent jobs at various institutions and agencies.
“It is only left with about 7,000 people but the government has urged them to stay with the NABCO for another year. YEA took in about 80,000 people while Afforestation employed 44,000 people,” he added.
According to him, 295,000 workers have been added to the government payroll and stressed that in 2021 alone 72,000 were employed after clearance was given to the Finance Minister.
Mr. O.B. Amoah, however, stressed that the government alone cannot employ every job seeker hence the need to find innovative ways to support the youth to start businesses of their own.
The government, he said, in the 2022 budget has therefore promised to provide GH¢1 billion every year for the next three years through the Youstart; from the district, regional to the national level to support business startups to enable them to create one million jobs within that period.
Speaking on the introduction of the e-levy and the abolishing of the road toll levy, the MP indicated that funds generated from road toll are not enough to fund the needed critical infrastructure.
He averred that the e-levy, on the other hand, is expected to generate GH¢6.5 billion annually, which will be a very dependable source to fund road projects and other developmental needs.
Those working at the tollbooths, he said, would be reassigned to other institutions and agencies so that they do not involuntarily join the unemployment queue.