Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor.
Madam Speaker, when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took over power and even before that, there were lots of sayings, people were going around telling people that the economic situation in the country was in shambles, and this was due to the mismanagement of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. Fortunately, the Hon Minister for Finance debunked this idea. He disagreed with that and on page four of the Budget Statement, if I may read:
“Madam Speaker, in his State of the Nation Address, H.E. the President highlighted the fundamentals of our current economic situation and predicament which include a large
fiscal and trade deficits, higher than expected rate of inflation, an increase in the national debt stock, and the depreciation in the value of the Cedi.”
“We also have to contend with low levels of productivity in agriculture, industry and manufacturing among others.”
“Externally, the world economy has been experiencing a severe credit crunch alongside the recent global energy and food price hikes.”
So from this, we are told that all those things that they were saying about the economic crisis in the country and attributing that to the Government of Ghana was not the doing of the Government of Ghana but it was due to global economic crisis.
In the State of the Nation Address,
His Excellency the President also made a similar submission and I would like to quote that one too, Madam Speaker:
“I have assumed office at a time of heightened anxiety and insecurity in the global economy. As I speak, the whole world has been gripped by a severe global economic downturn and associated re-cession. Millions of jobs have been lost in many countries.
The financial meltdown has defied logic and economic rationality. As things fall apart, institutions of global economies and financial management are under enormous stress. Such is the gravity of the crises that no nation can traverse these hard times alone, nor can we blame any single individual or government for causing this. The world needs a radical rethinking of
the rules, institutions and processes for global, social and economic management.”
Having read these two expositions from the Hon Minister for Finance and His Excellency, the President, I think my Hon Brothers and Sisters opposite will lay to rest the argument that the economic crisis in the country now is due to the mismanagement of the previous government.
Madam Speaker, I want to go on to
the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare. As the Hon Members from this side who talked said, this Budget that we are treating today is a replica of what was given us last year by the NPP Govern-ment. If you go to the Ministry of Employ-ment and Social Welfare, formerly Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, again the Hon Minister for Finance enumerated all the good policies, interventions and strategies that the Ministry puts together.
He talked about employment policy, Fair Wages Salaries Commission, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and that one, if I may refresh the memories of Hon Members, the NPP secured a grant of £6.2 million to build the capacity and provide logistic resources to the Department of Social Welfare and the Ministry; two, implement the National Social Protection Strategy which is called LEAP.
Madam Speaker, when we started with this social protection thing, what was heard was that the money that was being given to people was too small. I thought in this Budget, they were going to change it or even increase the amount of money that they are going to allocate but they have replicated the same thing here.
It means, as the former Minister for Justice and Attorney-General said, you are just enumerating the things and attaching new tags to them. You are reinventing the wheel and they are not bringing in any new thing. So Madam Speaker, these are the things that they are doing.
Better still, when we come to the National Youth Employment, when the President gave his State of the Nation Address, I was expecting that something would be said about the National Youth Employment Programme, unfortunately nothing was said. But I knew that the Budget would add meat or flesh to the skeleton of the Address.
What was done was that when this came in, the Hon Minister said they were going to revisit the National Youth Employment Programme. Unfortunately, they enumerated those modules that they were going to revisit and increase. But there were three modules which were conspicuously missing and these were: the module on sanitation, community policing and nursing.
Madam Speaker, if you look at these three modules, especially with that of sanitation, anybody here who is very sincere to himself or herself would agree with me that this module which is being implemented by Zoomlion -- Ghana has done a lot and it has impacted on the society, the nation so well.
The other time we had a Statement here and we were urging government to even increase or expand the Zoomlion's activities so that the sanitation problems that we are having in this country will be dealt with effectively. If this has not been done, I am expecting that with this new Government the expansion will take place. Even if you look at what is happening in Parliament here, now this is being