Right Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament, on the authority of His Excellency the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I beg to move that this august House approves the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2020.
Mr. Speaker, on the authority of His Excellency the President, and in keeping with the requirement of Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, and Section 21(3) of the PFM Act 2016 (ACT 921), may I respectfully present the Budget Statement and Economic Policies of Government for 2020 to this Honourable House.
I also submit before this august House, the 2019 Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds, in accordance with Section 48 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended, and a Report on the African Union 0.2 percent Import Levy.
Mr. Speaker, in substance, 2019 has been a very good year for Ghana. This is the year that one can confidently say that God’s blessing of the hard work is beginning to manifest, putting us on a positive trajectory for a proper lift. I say so because:
- We have won some painful but necessary battles for God and country;
- We have quietly but incontestably achieved significant structural changes for the economy;
- We have stabilized greatly the macro-economic turbulence that was all too regular a feature in the management of the national economy;
- We have delivered on our flagship programmes;
- Mr Speaker, the gains made so far are significant.
It is proper to put this budget into perspective to understand how far we have come. On Thursday, 2nd March 2017, I had the honour and privilege to present the first budget of President Akufo-Addo to this House. At that time, as you may recall, the economy was in a very bad shape, suffocating under a mixed weight of debts, arrears, very high cost of living, high youth unemployment and the worst growth rate since 1994. Moreover:
- Growth in agriculture was declining;
- Industry growth was in the negative;
- Interest rates were high;
- The banking system was weak;
- Unemployment was rising; and
- Businesses and households were working mainly to pay off their utility bills.
Mr. Speaker, this poor state of public finances, weak policy implementation and lack of policy credibility resulted in Ghana requesting an IMF bailout in August 2014. The economic model being practiced at the time was a simple, unexamined formula of tax, borrow and spend without a focus on production. The previous government resorted to some draconian fiscal measures; notably the increase in the tax burden on many items and activities, including condoms, cutlasses as well as ‘kayayie’.