The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has served notice that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will not compromise the use of the country’s oil revenue in funding some key policies of the government outlined in the 2017 Budget.
The government has indicated in the 2017 Budget Statement it intends spending the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) on its major flagship policy — free SHS — as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with the sole aim of alleviating poverty from the country.
However, the Minority Leader contributing to the debate on the budget on the floor of the House last Wednesday, said his side was not in support and would never support the government in funding the free SHS with proceeds from the country’s oil find.
“Mr Speaker, we will not accept the use of our oil money for consumption,” he noted.
Commenting further, the Minority Leader also raised issues about the government’s intention of abolishing duty on the importation of spare parts, insisting that such move must be regulated.
“We on this side will demand that it is regulated because even new vehicles can be cannibalised to become spare parts and, therefore, it must be regulated. We put levies on imports to discourage it but you are rather encouraging imports and how can you help improve on balance of payment when you adopt this attitude,” he quizzed.
Mr Iddrisu also chided the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for presenting a budget which he said was weak on infrastructure.
Minority not happy
The Minority members also expressed anger at what they described as disrespect and bias on the part of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, towards them.
This is not the first time such an accusation has been levelled against the Speaker by Members of Parliament (MPs) in opposition.
The latest accusation happened last Wednesday during the concluding debate on the maiden budget of the NPP government.
The Minority Leader and the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, who stood on their feet to draw the Speaker’s attention to inadequate numbers in the chamber to approve the budget, were ignored when the Speaker rather put the question to vote at a time the opposition MPs believed the House did not constitute a quorum to transact parliamentary business.
This angered Mr Iddrisu, who registered his side’s displeasure at the Speaker’s action towards the NDC MPs.
Mr Iddrisu told Parliament: “I’d risen earlier, Mr Speaker, and I don’t want to believe that we could not catch your eye. That is why we are in the frontbench and as leadership and we demand that we are accorded the respect.”