Government says the 2019 budget will bring glad tidings of great joy, hope relief and strength, but it appears some Ghanaians do not believe this assertion.
For them, the budget, like the previous ones is mere rhetoric, will cause no improvement in their lives and may result in even more hardships in the coming year.
Five panellists who were on Joy FM’s Ghana Connect were generally unimpressed with the budget statement that was delivered by the Finance Minister on Thursday and are everything but optimistic about the future.
Ken Ofori-Atta said government is “proud of what we have accomplished in 22 months and are certain and resolved to deliver a future that meets the hopes and aspirations of our people through this budget and into the medium term.
“This budget meets the expectations of Ghanaians for better infrastructure and housing, increased economic activity through an unprecedented investment in industrialization and agriculture, expanding job opportunities for entrepreneurs, and rising incomes,” he added.
But it appears Ghanaians are not as impressed as government is with itself.
Secretary of the Circle Youth Traders Association, Lorde Appiah Boateng following his disappoint after the 2018 ‘Asempa’ budget said he was not paying attention during the 2019 presentation due to fears that it will also let him down.
“Even the ‘ahotor’ budget didn’t bring any improvements in our lives”, he said adding that although he watched the minister present the budget, he had no heart in it.
Awurabena Agyemang who co-founder of fashion brand Wear Ghana relates with most of her colleagues who said they have “tuned out and really didn’t care.”
A member of the Spare Parts Dealers Association, Clement Boateng listened to the budget presentation because he had high expectations and certain issues he wanted the minister to touch on, but that sadly did not happen.
He was hoping that the minister will speak about the policies and measures that government will be putting in place to check the instability of the cedi on the forex market.
“But nothing of that sort happened,” he said, adding he expected the minister to mention a total review of the taxes that are paid at the port.
According to him, the over 16 tax components levied on their goods at the port are too much and they were hoping for a prune, but that didn’t happen either.
However, Ebenezer Lartey who is the CEO of Business Express, an online trading platform seems to be the only person who had some sort of hope.
He is not exactly confident in the government and the budget that was presented but prefers to be positive rather than negative.
“It difficult to predict what will happen but it is also best to be more optimistic rather than pessimistic. So for me, I take in more hope and I will want to eliminate pessimism and be more encouraged about the future.”
He feels government recognises the challenges in the market and was conscious of what to do and what not to during the preparation of the budget.
A market trader, Auntie Bea also connected on the show. She is disappointed with the government’s handling of the Free SHS policy and hoped that an announcement would be made on how it will be made better but that didn’t happen.
There is more of the conversation in the video below: