Policy think tank, IMANI Africa says it doubts if the mid-year budget presented by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in Parliament on July 24, 2020, can revive the economy.
While presenting the supplementary budget, Mr. Ofori-Atta disclosed that the country’s debt stock had increased by over GHS50 billion, while government announced a number of reliefs; notably rebates on utilities and a reduction in the Communication Service tax.
President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe in a Citi News interview expressed concern that while the budget was heavy on expenditure, it does not seem to focus on how to grow the economy.
“Well, the budget was bold. It was craftily done to spend without necessarily thinking about the returns on the spending. We are essentially going to postpone our funeral with all the freebies that have been announced. It is as if, we were even no pandemic. I think generally, it was well done and it sounded like a welcome package rather than some serious economic revival because don’t forget the revival efforts are supposed to be expected within two, three years time and I am not sure where the funds are going come from.”
Mid-year budget review was ‘very empty’ – Ato Forson
On the same issue, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, said he is not enthused with the mid-year budget review Mr. Ofori Atta presented.
Mr. Ato-Forson in a Citi News interview described the mid-year budget review as unacceptable.
He insisted that the government said nothing that could satisfy the ordinary Ghanaian.
“I am disappointed as a Ghanaian and I am disappointed in the Akufo-Addo government. I say this because the mid-year review that was presented to us was very empty. There was nothing in it for the ordinary Ghanaian for us to be happy about. Rather, we are receiving some major shocks to the extent that we are hearing for the first time that government has spent or intends to spend GH¢11.1 billion on coronavirus expenditure alone without giving us breakdown of what the money has been used for.”
“This is sad and unacceptable. We thought the Minister would use this golden opportunity to provide us with some breakdown of what the money has been used for. Unfortunately, it is all Bible quotations and nothing in the budget,” he added.
Cassiel Ato Forson further accused the government of moving past delivering an “empty” budget review to making manifesto promises.