The Minority in Parliament has described the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for the 2017 financial year presented by the government to Parliament on Thursday, as a deception and devoid of actionable measures to achieve the set targets.
It said, for instance, that the budget presented by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, failed to scrap taxes such as the Energy Sector Levy that the government said it would abolish.
Besides, it said, the intended withdrawal of import duties on spare parts was an attempt to deceive spare parts dealers and Ghanaians at large.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, said the budget was bereft of policy initiatives to achieve the gross domestic product (GDP), inflation and other targets set for the year.
He said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to reduce taxes by huge margins and scrap others, noting, however, that the budget only mentioned some minimal reduction in taxes to completely deceive Ghanaians.
He said the removal of taxes on imported spare parts would make Ghana a dumping ground for all kinds of metals.
The MP for Cape Coast South and former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, said he did not see any hope in the budget, as it did not outline significant measures needed to propel socio-economic growth.
He said the noise made by the government to reduce taxes did not reflect significantly in the budget.
The MP for North Tongu and former Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, expressed disappointment at the failure of the Minister of Finance to mention other sources of funding for the free SHS policy.
He said while the cost of the project would be GH¢3.1 billion annually, the Finance Minister only mentioned GH¢400 million as being earmarked for the project and wondered where the government intended to raise the balance to support the policy.
The MP for Keta, Mr Richard Quashigah, said the budget appeared to be pro-poor but the measures outlined in it defeated that purpose.
For instance, he said, the Finance Minister did not indicate any budget for schools infrastructure and indicated that that would mean that schools under trees would continue to exist.