GOVERNMENT’S BUDGET Statement and Economic Policy for the 2023 financial year may be delayed, Leader of Government Business and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said.
According to him, the date for the budget presentation is likely to go beyond the November 15 deadline as set out by the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Speaking during an interaction with the media in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader, said the timetable had been thrown into doubt by the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a support programme.
“The budget is the greatest programme that is presented to the House by any government and we need to spend time looking at it.
“As I sit here, I still have to have some discussions with the Minister responsible for Finance to determine exactly when he will be able to submit the document to us.
“Discussions that are going on involving the IMF are going to take a bit of a while. My understanding is that it will go into the first few days of next week, around 10th November,” he explained.
He continued, “If that is the case, we then have to strand down the inclusions and factor them into the budget. After he succeeded in doing that, because it is a budget for the government, it has to go before cabinet for some discussions and integrations and maybe, additions and subtractions before it comes ultimately to Parliament.”
The minister indicated that it would be difficult for the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to submit the budget document on the November 15 deadline, noting, “I am just conjecturing.”
“But if you want to do tidy work, maybe you will require some space to be able to do it because, as we all know, these are not normal times and we want to do a tidy job in order to reposition the country,” he intimated.
According to him, nothing should be done, which eventually becomes “wishy-washy,” adding, “We want to have the best to be able to uplift us from where we are as a country.”
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the government wants to do a thorough job, and asserted that there would be too much pressure, if the Finance Minister is compelled to present the budget on the set date.
“If it comes after the 15th, let’s face it, it will not be in breach of the Constitution. The constitution provides that the last date of presentation should be 30th of November,” he pointed out.
“We, ourselves, brought it forward to the 15th of November because we want more time to interrogate the principles underpinning the budget,” he posited.
BY Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House