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Ofori-Atta to submit mid-year budget review today

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Ofori-Atta to submit mid-year budget review today

Today, Monday, July 31, 2023, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, will submit the 2023 mid-year budget review in Parliament.

The presentation was originally set for July 27, 2023, but was rescheduled for July 25, 2023, only to be cancelled.

“In accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2023 Financial Year, is expected to be presented to Parliament on Monday, 31st July 2023,” the Finance Ministry announced in a statement.

The presentation will give an update on the execution of the 2023 Budget, as well as insights into the first half of the year’s economic and fiscal performance.

It will go through measures put in place to stabilise the economy, encourage growth, and protect the vulnerable, as specified in the IMF-backed Post-COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG).

The budget-review statement will describe the fundamental imperatives to restore macroeconomic stability and drive Ghana’s economic transformation, with an emphasis on the forecast.

According to the Finance Ministry, the problems that will be highlighted include structural changes in expenditure commitment control and arrears clearing; debt management; financial stability; and a growth plan, among others.

“In line with usual practice, we wish to indicate that Government will undertake the Post-Budget Engagements to explain the various policy choices to the public,” the Ministry of Finance added in its statement.

MPs share expectations 

Members of Parliament discussed their expectations for the mid-year budget review in an interview with Citi News.

They expressed optimism that the government will lower taxes, consolidate multiple taxes, and increase financing for the educational sector and the school food scheme.

They also voiced worry about the high percentage of youth unemployment and the country’s fertiliser deficit.

Richard Kwami Sefe, Member of Parliament for Anlo, stated that fertiliser scarcity is having a severe influence on farming operations in his district.

Farmers, he claims, are being forced to pay exorbitant fertiliser costs, making it impossible for them to turn a profit. He requested that the government step in and interfere in the matter.

“My farmers as we talk now, most of them are just willing and ready to work even to do more than what they are doing. But the fertilizer, insecticides and other boosters, you will have some around but the cost is too much. In the last two years, 50kg fertilizer NPK was around GH¢98 [2021]. Last year [2022] it increased to GH¢210, this year we are going as far as GH¢450, GH¢460,” MP for Anlo lamented.

Paul Twum Barimah, Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, expressed hope that the mid-year budget review will not include any additional levies.

He stated that the economy is already stressed and that the government should focus on lowering rather than raising taxes.

“The whole country is in a spectre mood, I strongly believe this mid-year budget review will not come with any tax. My expectation is that the minister of finance should consider the current situation of Ghanaians and see how we can manage the economy,” Member of Parliament for Dormaa East envisaged.

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None of my appointees will indulge in mining – Mahama

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Mr. Mahama pledged that if elected president, he will establish a sustainable mining scheme in all mining communities that differs from the current community mining scheme and will heavily involve traditional leadership in the granting of licences to help regulate mining activities. "It will vary in every way from the current community mining plan, which has indisputably become a conduit for enriching party chairmen, DCEs, and other politically connected persons. "Indeed, under my administration, if you are a minister, a DCE, or an official and engage in mining activities, I will request that you quit and go mining. You can either be a governmental official or a businessman running a mine.

John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has stated that if elected president in December, he will not hesitate to order any of his officials involved in mining activities to quit.

According to the former President, his appointees would be obliged to focus on their primary mission of improving the country.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, John Mahama stated that none of his appointees will participate in galamsey.

Mr Mahama pledged that if elected president, he would establish a sustainable mining scheme in all mining communities that differs from the current community mining scheme and will heavily involve traditional leadership in the granting of licences to help regulate mining activities.

“It will vary in every way from the current community mining plan, which has indisputably become a conduit for enriching party chairmen, DCEs, and other politically connected persons.

“Indeed, under my administration, if you are a minister, a DCE, or an official and engage in mining activities, I will request that you quit and go mining. You can either be a governmental official or a businessman running a mine.

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Sammy Gyamfi voices concern about the arrest of pro-NPP hoodlums in Okaikwei North

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According to Gyamfi, the suspects were caught while publicly smoking marijuana behind the District Court, near the voter registration centre. He further claimed that the same mob had earlier stormed the office of NDC MP Theresa Lardi Awuni, wounding numerous individuals. Mr. Gyamfi further alleged that the NDC had acquired intelligence indicating that senior New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials were seeking to secure the release of the accused. He stated that the NDC will closely follow the issue. "Sources from the Police Regional Command have hinted to us that some senior NPP officials are at the police station trying to secure bail for these hoodlums," said Mr. Gyamfi. As of now, the Police Service has not issued a comment about the event.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s National Communication Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, alleges that roughly 20 pro-government operatives who interrupted the ongoing restricted voter registration process have been detained.

In a May 16, 2024 post on X (previously Twitter), he stated that the Ghana Police Service’s Anti-armed Robbery Unit arrested the Okaikwei North constituency in the Greater Accra area.

He described the detained as “armed bandits” and stated that they had “live ammunition, cutlasses, and other weapons.”

According to Gyamfi, the suspects were caught while publicly smoking marijuana behind the District Court, near the voter registration centre.

He further claimed that the same mob had earlier stormed the office of NDC MP Theresa Lardi Awuni, wounding numerous individuals.

Mr Gyamfi further alleged that the NDC had acquired intelligence indicating that senior New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials were seeking to secure the release of the accused.

He stated that the NDC will closely follow the issue.

“Sources from the Police Regional Command have hinted to us that some senior NPP officials are at the police station trying to secure bail for these hoodlums,” said Mr Gyamfi. As of now, the Police Service has not issued a comment about the event.

Earlier this morning, about twenty (20) armed bandits belonging to the ruling NPP were arrested at the registration centre in the Okaikoi North Constituency by the anti-robbery unit of the Ghana Police Service.

Some of the items retrieved from these bandits included live… pic.twitter.com/VExEJhKlNX

— Sammy Gyamfi (@SammyGyamfi_) May 16, 2024

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Akufo-Addo submits petition to dismiss Special Prosecutor to CJ

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The impeachment procedure appears to be tied to Mr. Agyebeng's dramatic news appearance, in which he alleged that judges colluded against him. Mr. Amidu claims that these statements are abuse of judges and bring the judiciary into shame. This comes after allegations that Mr. Agyebeng rebuffed requests to quit, instead holding a news conference to convey his dissatisfaction with his position. Mr. Amidu further claims that the Special Prosecutor violated the rights of persons such as Cecilia Dapaah and Prof. Frimpong Boateng by arresting them.

President Akufo-Addo has filed a petition to Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo demanding the removal of the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng.

Former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu petitioned President Akufo-Addo to remove Mr. Agyebeng from his office.

The petition, dated April 30, 2024, claims procurement violations in the purchase of cars for the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and charges Mr Agyebeng with wrongdoing concerning judges and the administration of justice.

Mr Amidu’s petition alleges infringement of people’s rights through arrests and detentions, violations of the right to information, and unlawful nominations to the OSP.

The impeachment procedure appears to be tied to Mr. Agyebeng’s dramatic news appearance, in which he alleged that judges conspired against him.

Mr Amidu claims that these statements are an abuse of judges and bring the judiciary to shame.

This comes after allegations that Mr Agyebeng rebuffed requests to quit, instead holding a news conference to convey his dissatisfaction with his position.

Mr. Amidu further claims that the Special Prosecutor violated the rights of persons such as Cecilia Dapaah and Prof. Frimpong Boateng by arresting them.

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