Accra, Wednesday October 28, 2020 - Ghana’s Minister for Finance on Wednesday, 28th October, 2020 presented the 2021 Expenditure in advance appropriation to Parliament on the authority of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
The presentation was in accordance with Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution, and in line with Standing Order 145 of Parliament.
The Finance Minister stated in the presentation that, the predicament of the Ghanaian economy in 2017 was likened to the biblical illustration of “five loaves and two fishes” but through faith in God and sound management put in place, it was now evident to all to see how far the Lord had brought us.
The success of government’s focused macroeconomic stabilization and fiscal consolidation programme, he stated was evidenced by growing the economy, at an average rate of 7.0% between 2017 and 2019 as compared with 2.8% between 2014 and 2016, reducing inflation from 15.4 percent at end-December 2016 to 7.9 percent by the end-December 2019, the lowest since the 4th Republic in 1992.
Others included maintaining an average fiscal balance below 5% of GDP threshold between 2017 and 2019 as compared to an average of 6.3% in 2014 and 2016; improving gross international reserves to reach US$8.6billion or about four (4) months of import cover by February, 2020 as compared to 3.5 months of import cover in 2016; and the successful exit from the IMF-ECF programme in April 2019.
“Mr. Speaker, in our quest to stabilize the economy, we have also lowered the rate of debt accumulation, re-profiled our debt, and, implemented a number of structural reforms in a transparent manner for an efficient and effective management of public debt” Mr. Ofori-Atta stated.
The above significant macro-fiscal gains were achieved in spite of abolishing 17 unproductive taxes to boost productivity of the private sector, spending GHȻ21.6 billion to clean up a collapsing financial sector and protection of 4.6 million depositors and 81,700 investors and paying GHȻ12 billion in excess energy capacity charges which government inherited in 2017 and had kept lights on.
The presentation also touched on the investment of over GHȻ15.7 billion on key flagship programmes which had now created a platform for real economic transformation, strengthened human capital through enhancing access to health care, education and skills development, modernization of agriculture and industry, delivering infrastructure and creating jobs.
On the Covid-19 pandemic, he said that governments moved swiftly to mitigate the threats to lives and livelihoods by implementing the GHȻ1, 342million Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to protect lives, operationalizing the GHȻ1.2 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to support businesses and launching of a GHȻ2 billion Guarantee Scheme to enable SMEs borrow at a more affordable rate.
Other interventions under the covid-19 included, supporting the GHȻ3 billion credit and stimulus package by commercial banks in Ghana to revitalize industries, especially pharmaceutical, hospitality, services and manufacturing sectors; offering of strategic support in income increases and life insurance in excess of GHȻ320 million to incentivize health workers and allied professionals; supporting households and businesses with electricity and water subsidies in excess of GHȻ1.3 billion and funding the provision of cooked food to 1.83 million and 917,000 vulnerable persons within Accra and Kumasi metropolis respectively.
He expected growth to rebound strongly in 2021 at 5.7 percent as a result of the implementation of government’s transformation and revitalization phase of the Ghana CARES (Obaatanpa) Programme.
Ken Ofori-Atta gave the assurance that government would revitalize and transform the economy and pivot off the AFCFTA headquarters in Accra for Ghana to become a dynamic regional hub.
On housing, he highlighted the significant investment in infrastructure especially affordable housing and noted that the 204 new houses commissioned by President Akufo-Addo at Tema Community 22 were largely constructed and supervised by local contractors and consultants under the National Mortgage and Housing Fund Scheme (NMHFS).
“We have made adequate budgetary provision to ensure that the elections were conducted in a safe and secure environment” he assured.
On expectations for the coming year, he talked about preserving the gains made as government continue to protect lives and livelihoods from Covid-19.
Ken Ofori-Atta moved that the honourable house approved by resolution the withdrawal of the sum of Twenty-Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Thirty Four Million, One Hundred and Eighty Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty Ghana Cedis (GHȻ27,434,180,520) from the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of Ghana in respect of the period expiring three months of the Financial Year or the coming into operation of the Appropriation Act in respect of 2021 Financial Year. END