By: Sedinam Dumenu
The much-awaited 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government is scheduled to be officially presented today, Thursday November 24, 2022 in Parliament House.
There have been mixed feelings about this presentation, especially after the demand for the removal of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, from office as against calls to have him conclude negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would feed into the 2023 Budget.
There have been varied opinions about this from Members of Parliament, Ministers, stakeholders and other high-ranking officials in government.
But what does this presentation of the 2023 Budget statement mean to the indigenous Ghanaian resident in La? This article seeks to reveal the thoughts of some ordinary citizens.
Residents of Tse-Addo
Tse-Addo is a suburb of La, a residential Community in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. It is located behind the International Trade Fair, La.
In spite of its residential nature, some communal living exists. Here the people sit around sometimes in the evenings to discuss contemporary matters.
Here when arguments occasionally break out among residents, these are resolved before nightfall. What unites the people is the usual maize meal known as “komi” in the Ga language , representing Kenkey, the much-appreciated delicacy available at most joints.
However, this article is focused on the not so residential area part of Tse-Addo.
What residents want in the Budget
A smoked Fish Seller, Maa Dromo as affectionately called by all was excited to be interviewed and said ”I want to hear what the Finance Minister would say”. From all indications, she had no idea about exactly what the Budget meant as she said, ”and what is that one too?”, when she was quizzed.
Obviously, her concern as she asked in the local dialect, ”Will I be able to buy Salmon for 15 Cedis like I used to instead of 30 Cedis like it is sold now? Because if I can’t then what has that got to do with me”, she asked.
A slightly different response from the previous answers was given by Mr. Kofi Osae who is manages a huge coldstore in the area and was very much interested in sharing his views.
“I watch the reading every year and to be completely honest with you, they always sit and mention a lot of big numbers and say a lot of big words. We see no improvement in our surroundings or daily lives, yet at the end of the year when they are to account for the budget, they look at what they wrote at the beginning of the year, make some few changes here and there and say that they completed 80% of what they planned to do. I don’t believe in anything they say anymore. I wonder why I still even watch it”.
Mr. Osae said, he would listen and hopes to see some of what is budgeted to be actualized in the coming year.
Another respondent Mrs Elsie Assempa, a Caterer shared her views and expectations. When questioned about her views and thoughts on the budget, she said “Those people do not know what they are doing. How can they be arguing for so long about removing the Finance Minister because of our current financial difficulties and yet still sit down and listen to a budget drawn by him and his Ministry and still expect us to listen and believe whatever comes out of their mouth? They cannot be serious. As long as he is still the Finance Minister, I have no interest in anything that is going to be said by them concerning this country’s money. None at all” she said.
After the interactions with residents of Tse-Addo, one gets a sense of uncertainties as the 2023 Budget would be presented , especially for the middle class citizens.