The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, will today present to Parliament the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government.
It will be the penultimate budget of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government and first, since Ghana reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a US$3 billion credit facility.
The presentation is in pursuance of Article 179(1) of the Constitution which mandates the President to “cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament, at least one month before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Government of Ghana for the following financial year.”
Coming in an election year, the budget would be expected to focus on ensuring fiscal discipline, especially as Ghana goes to the polls, and on areas of the economy that would drive growth, and demonstrate government’s commitment to the IMF programme.
It is also expected to proffer solution to taming macro-economic indicators like inflation, exchange rate, jobs, investment in critical infrastructure amongst others.
It is unclear if new tax measures would be introduced to shore up government revenue or some would be scrapped to free the private sector for further investments.
However, a source at the Ministry of Finance noted that the budget would be hinged on a growth strategy aimed at impacting and enhancing opportunities for the youth through tourism, agriculture, entrepreneurship and the night economy.
Some economists on their expectations have urged the government not to introduce new taxes but take steps to broaden the tax net.
“I don’t expect new or an increase in taxes, in next year’s budget, but rather measures to broaden the tax net,” saying that “rather the existing taxes should be reviewed and those that are not performing scrapped,” the Director of the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey, had said.
He thinks government must outline strategies to reduce and rationalise govern¬ment spending, adding that some of the off budget spending should be reduced or eliminated to ensure that the country’s tax collection was more efficient and promoted value for money.
For the former Chief Executive Officer of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Dr James Asare-Adjei, the high interest rates which stifles private sector growth must be addressed.
“Now, what we’re looking forward to, based on what we have seen in 2023 and the fact that we are in the IMF programme, are more practical sort of budget outline that will help in addressing the key challenges facing the businesses in particular and the economy in general,” Dr Asare-Adjei stated.
Ghana since 2021, has suffered economic meltdown prompting government to turn to the IMF for support and the fiscal policy would be expected to introduce austere measures to control expenditure.
The Minority, meanwhile, has served notice that budget statement would “encounter resistance” if it fails to prioritise the needs of people and businesses but government is hopeful the programmed outlined would address the pressing needs of the Ghanaian people