The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdu Jinapor, has told Ghanaians to continue keeping faith in President Akufo-Addo and his government as the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government offers the country hope after years of economic hardships in the hands of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and that of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
He said never in the history of Ghana has the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government tackled the challenges confronting the citizenry head-on like the 2022 Budget which is christened the ‘Agyenkwa Budget’, to wit, the savior budget.
He said Ghanaians under the NDC suffered a lot and just as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had worked hard to put it back on the path of economic progress, the West African nation was hard-hit with the novel Coronavirus pandemic which nearly eroded the gains the President Akufo-Addo-led administration made.
According to him, the first quarter of 2021, just before the coronavirus pandemic, the Ghanaian economy was growth at 7% GDP compared to the 3.5% GDP growth recorded under the leadership of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama in 2016.
This achievement, he noted, is so remarkable that the citizenry were beginning to enjoy good life that they had so desired when out of nowhere, the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head and devastated the global economy, with Ghana being no exception.
“The 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government presented to this House by President Akufo seeks to give solutions to dealing with the Ghanaian peculiar situation which has arisen out of the COVID-19 pandemic and in all parts of this budget and in all accounts, this budget clearly, if this House were to support it, will indeed offer the Ghanaian people this recovery and unleash the jobs for the youth and prosperity for the good people of this country”, he noted.
He added “Mr. Speaker, already the economy is recovering. Just two days ago, thus on Monday, November 22, 2021, the Bank of Ghana reported in its updated Composite Index Economic Activity that annual growth rate in September 2021 was 11.2% compared to 10.8% in 2020 and 4.2% in 2019. This is a clear indication that the measures being taken by President Akufo-Addo and his government is leading to recovery of the national economy and I call on this House to support this budget; I call on the youth of this country to support this budget because this budget is ‘Agyenkwa Budget’. It is the budget that will pull this country out of the doldrums”.
Mr. Jinapor was contributing to the motion for the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government which was moved on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta on behalf of President Akufo-Addo.
He said Ghanaians under President John Dramani Mahama suffered a lot even where there was no pandemic to tackle, supporting his argument with some statistics from the Ghana Statistical Service.
For instance, he said in 2014, Ghana’s GDP growth was 2.9% while in 2015, GDP growth stood at 2.1%. In 2016, GDP growth inched up a bit, recording 3.4% which turned out to the best of President Mahama’s administration.
All these, he added, where indications of a weak economy which had rippling effect on the citizenry.
But having worked very hard and put Ghana on the path to economic progress, the economy was hard-hit with the novel coronavirus.
In spite of the challenges that came with the pandemic, GDP growth of Ghana stands at 3.5% in 2021, a position which is better than when the country was under the leadership of President Mahama.
“Mr. Speaker, in 2014, there was no pandemic or crisis; in 2015, there was no pandemic or crisis; in 2016, there was no pandemic or crisis and yet the best GDP growth our opponents [NDC) scored was 3.4%. Today in 2021, with a pandemic, with a global economic crunch, we are growing at 3.5%. Our worse was the NDC’s best”, he underscored.
Commenting further, Jinapor who is also the MP for Damongo said President Akufo-Addo having worked hard to introduce the Planting for Food and Jobs, NABCO, One-District-One-Factory among other intervention measures all in the name of providing jobs for the youth, still have a plan to resolve the unemployment situation in the country.
The YouStart initiative captured in the 2022 Budget, he noted, is the plan which seeks to bring an end to the youth unemployment situation in the country by building an entrepreneurial nation that will support youth start-up businesses with GHS1billion counterpart funding as well as that which will be provided by the World Bank.
The 2022 Budget, he added, also responds to the needs of the mining sector.
For instance, for so many years, there was a withholding tax of 3% on small scale mining which resulted in a lot of agitations. Government, having engaged the players in the small scale mining industry in a stakeholder consultations, has therefore reduced the figure from 3% to 1.5% on unprocessed gold.
“It means that moving forward, if small scale miners export gold, out of the Precious Minerals Company (PMC) Limited, there will be zero tax. That is good news for us”, he posited.