Parliament to pass Appropriation Bill by March 30 – Oppong Nkrumah

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Parliament is expected to pass the Appropriation Bill by March 30, following the approval of the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said.

The Appropriation Bill, when passed, will give authorization for the spending of of funds approved for government in the budget.

“Parliament will from this week begin to consider the budget or the estimates of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies on an individual basis, and our expectation is that, by the 30th of March, Parliament should receive and pass the Appropriation Bill which is what will give the Ministry responsible for Finance the mandate to spend from 1st April 2021,” Mr. Nkrumah said during a press conference on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

The Minister called on Members of Parliament to support the measures outlined in the budget.

Parliament has already approved the 2021 budget by a 137 against 134 secret ballot result.

There were concerns by the dissenting MPs about the 5.7 per cent increase in fuel prices, the newly introduced 5 per cent banking sector cleanup levy and the Covid-19 health levy among others.

The business community has said the new taxes will make a bad situation worse for them, as they are still grappling with the severe impact on Covid-19, needing stimulus packages rather then more taxes.

But government says the increase in the fuel prices will cater for the newly introduced 10-pesewa Sanitation and Pollution Levy as well as a 20-pesewa levy to cater for charges on the country’s excess power capacity.

There was also a 1 percent COVID-19 levy which will be a one percentage point increase on both the existing VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL).

Government has said the Covid-19 levy be used for funding the coronavirus vaccine rollout as well as providing health infrastructure.

Meanwhile, The Fitch Ratings in its assessment also said the slow pace of the consolidation path outlined by the budget statement and by the accompanying medium-term fiscal framework leaves Ghana exposed to a heavy debt-service burden and risks of fiscal slippage.

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