The 2020 Post Budget Workshop for Members of Parliament opened in Accra on Saturday for a meaningful debate and analysis of the policy underpinnings of the Budget.
For the first time in many years the post-budget workshop is being at the premises of Parliament; the D.F. Annan Auditorium, to save the nation the cost of having to travel outside Accra with a huge budget, especially as the Government embarks on fiscal discipline.
It is on the theme: "Consolidating the Gains for Growth, Jobs and Prosperity for All," same as the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government.
Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, said: "I am happy that we're not traveling outside Accra, and come back with a budget of .... GHC 1.7 million."
He said such were the things that prevented Members of Parliament and other staff to enjoy better privileges, including housing and vehicles.
The post budget workshop is a budgetary affair, which involved opportunity cost on how best to maximise the use of resources in terms of the benefits.
Prof Oquaye called on members to engage in meaningful deliberations and make all necessary documents available to the House to enrich discussions.
"It is important to develop this politics of issues," the Speaker said, and urged the legislators not to give room to politics of vituperations.
The workshop would tackle topics such as; "Policy Underpinnings of the 2020 Budget", "Overview of the 2020 Budget - Macro Economic and Fiscal Management", and "What to Consider in Analysing the 2020 Sector Budgets."
Also to be considered are: "Planning and Delivery on Infrastructure," "Revenue Mobilisation," "Workers' Perspective of the 2020 Budget," and "The 2020 Budget and the Energy Sector."
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said Ghana's economy still faced some structural 'headwinds' despite its positive outlook for 2020.
"We still have some structural headwinds in terms of the wages, interest and revenue to deal with as the economy grows," he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the two main challenges the nation continued to face was the energy sector IPP payments, and the financial sector clean-up, which were being done to ensure value for money.
The Government had targeted 6.8 per cent of GDP, non-oil growth of 4.6 per cent, inflation of eight per cent and overall deficit of four per cent.
He gave the assurance that the Government was committed to ensuring that there was no budgetary overruns or overspending in the 2020 Election year.
Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, said the MPs had a duty to thoroughly scrutinise the Budget devoid of political differences and find common grounds on technical matters germane to its content.
He, however, wondered why there were only 55 of the 275 members present when the programme had long started.
Mr Mensah Bonsu urged the MPs to critically examine issues for well-informed contributions, rather than propaganda, when the debate on the 2020 Budget starts on Monday.
He said the debate would be about the principles of the budget, and urged members to discuss that rather than the estimates.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, said the Finance Minister must to brief the House on how much money government had pumped into cleaning the financial sector.
He suggested that subsequent budgets should indicate Ghana's commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
He called on the Government to stick to its pledge of avoiding budget overruns next year.