Majority Leader/Minister for
Parliamentary Affairs (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong): Mr. Speaker, this morning, when we met at the usual briefing, the understanding was that my Colleague, the Minority Leader, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and I were going to speak for a total of sixty minutes, twenty minutes to each of us. Judging by the work, we have already passed one hour and twenty minutes. Therefore, it means that our time management has got to be worked out in such a way that we do not lose further. For this reason, I just want to make a few comments and I would allow the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to continue from there.
It is good and refreshing that every hon. Member who contributed to this debate accepted that we are making progress in this country and that the Budget is good, except that he or she may want one or two things to be changed here and there. Mr. Speaker that makes it a good Budget. After all, the Government is making a proposal to the country that we should move forward. Therefore if say, the water in your area has not been catered for and you do not make a comment on it, then you are not worth an hon. Member of Parliament.
Therefore, for people to make some exceptions and make suggestions that there should be change is normal. That is why I am happy that we are all going to support this Budget and make appropriate improvements so that we make progress.
Mr. Speaker, I just looked at a page of this Budget, and with your permission let me refer you to page 320 -- “Selected economic indicators”. Reading them,
whatever faults people may see, there is indication that we have grown. Real GDP growth rates are shown as: 2001, 4.2;
2002, 4.5; 2003, 5.2; 2004 5.8; 2005, 5.8;
for 2006 there is a provisional figure of 6. Then we went onto 6.2; and now we are targeting 6.5.
Mr. Speaker, I want to believe that if any of the statistics is wrong at all, it is not the figures given by the revenue agencies as to the money they generated for the economy; and it runs from the 2001 figure of 18.1 to a figure of 22.1 per cent of GDP as we speak now. It means that we are making progress. I admit that the speed is not good enough for those of us who have lived a bit long and seen how life was when we were at the university; when we were having five to six meals a day. Definitely, if you compare it from that angle then you will realize there is still room for improvement.
But Mr. Speaker, we as Parliament today, for instance, created history when we said we were using our own rules to allow the Governor of Bank of Ghana to come and address us. We agreed that we would suspend Public Business, convert ourselves to Committee of the Whole, and allow live broadcast of whatever he was going to present to the country. It means that we can do a lot as Parliament.
Our problem is that every year, we look at our needs and requirements and then we realize that we have not got that money. This year I am told that the total request, which were all genuine requests favourable requests received by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was over ¢100 trillion. Currently, we are being told that we are now talking about ¢54 trillion. So from day one, we have a shortfall. Of the ¢54 trillion, we as a state, as a country, are only going to have less than ¢40 trillion out of our own
resources -- I believe ¢37 trillion.
So you see the gap that we have in our economy; genuine means not wants, is over ¢100 trillion. The total we are accommodating in the Budget is ¢54 trillion; what we are going to provide as a country is ¢37 trillion. This is what I believe we as hon. Members of Parliament have got to team up with the Executive to find out how quickly we can bridge this gap; firstm, find a way whereby we can at least accommodate the whole of the ¢54 on our own. It calls for higher productivity on all sides, better time management at all levels.
When my Colleague, the Minority Leader, was talking about misapplication of grants and things, I was wondering what was happening, because virtually every grant that had come to this House for consideration was for a purpose. Therefore the grantor knows very well the purpose of that grant or loan. On the HIPC fund, we all agreed with our development partners as to what we could use it for. Therefore, when my Colleague the Minister for the Interior was suggesting that we should not create any impression that we collect money for one purpose and use it for another purpose, he was right. We should be careful. Because, if you talk about the Indian loan or grant, the purpose was indicated by the Indian Government.
So I believe that we are making progress. Let us be confident in ourselves; let us empower our committees in Parliament to do more of the oversight responsibilities as we move along, so that not long from now we shall reach the promised land. In no time, we shall go back to the promised land where we shall all be enjoying and we will no more be talking about needs, but we will be talking about wants. Thank, you Mr. Speaker.