The Minority in Parliament has cautioned, indicating its intention to oppose the government’s forthcoming 2024 budget statement if it fails to give precedence to the welfare of Ghanaian citizens and businesses.
According to the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, they are advocating for measures that would provide relief to the middle class, a demographic that has not witnessed substantial improvements in living standards from past budgets. Dr. Forson emphasized that the Minority will subject the budget to rigorous scrutiny.
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the 2024 Financial Year is scheduled for presentation on November 15, 2023, by the Finance Minister.
Addressing the parliament during the resumption of the Third Meeting of The Third Session of the Eighth Parliament, Dr. Forson conveyed in his opening statement, ““let me be blunt; the upcoming budget statement will encounter resistance if it does not prioritize the needs of people and businesses. That is our bottom-line.
So, if the government knows that its upcoming budget does not prioritize the needs of the people, then they should get ready for a Showdown!”
Ghana has revised down its growth forecast for this year due to a sluggish economy, global challenges, and the impact of fiscal austerity measures agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The nation now anticipates a real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 1.5% for the current year, a reduction from the earlier projection of 2.8%. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta made this announcement during a mid-term budget review in late July.
Ghana has embarked on a debt restructuring initiative, part of a $3 billion bailout program established with the IMF in May. Compliance with the IMF’s requirements involves timely negotiations with investors, as well as continued efforts by the central bank to control inflation.
The IMF program’s terms include Ghana’s commitment to curbing expenditure and enhancing revenue collection. The country, which ranks as the world’s second-largest cocoa bean producer, aims to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio to 55% by 2028, down from 71.3% recorded at the close of 2022.
In line with the IMF-supported program, Ghana is projected to improve its primary balance and achieve a surplus equivalent to 1.5% of GDP for the years 2025 through 2028. The authorities’ objective is to elevate the government revenue-to-GDP ratio to over 18.5% by the conclusion of the three-year program, up from 15.7% in 2022, considering Ghana’s relatively low tax-to-GDP ratio compared to its potential.