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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Govt Requests GH¢27.4bn In Post-Election Budget

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Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has requested Parliament to approve an amount of GH¢27,434,180,520 as advance of appropriation to carry on the services of government until the expiration of three months from the beginning of the 2021 financial year.

“We also request approval for the issuance of sovereign bonds of US$3 billion with the option to increase it to US$5 billion should market conditions prove favourable,” he stated.

Speaking on the Floor of Parliament yesterday, Mr. Ofori-Atta said for the purposes of the 2021 expenditure in advance of appropriation, the government had projected a total revenue and grants of GH¢13.3 billion for the 2021 first quarter while total expenditure, including the clearance of arrears, is projected at GH¢24.0 billion.

Projected Deficit

“This results in the projected fiscal deficit of GH¢10.7 billion for the period. Mr. Speaker, to support the 2021 budget and liability management, we plan to source funding from the international capital market.”

“This will comprise the issuance of sovereign bonds of US$3 billion with the option to increase it to US$5 billion should market conditions prove favourable. Out of the amount to be raised, US$1.5 billion will be used to support the 2021 budget and US$3.5 billion for liability management.”

He stated that the government would require an amount of GH¢27.4 billion to carry on the services of the government until the expiration of three months from the beginning of the 2021 financial year.

“The total amount is to cover government operations such as compensation of employees, ex-gratia awards, interest and amortization payments, transfers to statutory funds, critical programmes and goods and services, and Capex allocations of MDAs,” he explained.

Chosen people

“Let me, Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of the Nkosuo and Nkabom budget, leave us with Psalm 133; ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in Unity for then the hand bestows His blessings’. We are a chosen people; we perceive what He is doing and we must be obedient to His call (sic).”

“When I had the privilege and blessing to stand before you, I invoked ‘The miracle of the five loaves and two fishes’ to illustrate the predicament we found ourselves.”

“In using that miracle, I was declaring our faith and hope in a God who can do much with little and in fact do exceedingly above all we can ask or think and submit that we need not fear because the battle is the Lord’s.”

The minister said as it is evident to all that not only has the NPP government turned the economy around through hard work and innovative policies, “but we also have the courage to implement a GH¢100 billion GhanaCARES (Obaatanpa) programme.”

“The diligent and disciplined pursuit of the innovative policies has restored macroeconomic stability, promoted inclusive growth and transformed the lives of millions of Ghanaians. Today, Mr. Speaker, some 1.2 million Ghanaians are in senior high school, almost three million of our children are in the school feeding programme.”

He indicated that Ghana was now exporting food through the Planting for Food & Jobs programme and “1D1F is generating jobs all around” and said this was how far the Lord has brought Ghana, adding, “This is the competence we promised Ghanaians.”

Facts & Opinions

“Mr. Speaker, it is trite knowledge that data speaks for itself. Permit me to use the data to separate facts from opinions, even if these opinions emanate from persons, or may I say fathers, who should know better,” he asserted.

According to him, the success of the government’s focused macroeconomic stabilization and fiscal consolidation programme is evidenced by growing the economy, at an average rate of 7.0 per cent between 2017 and 2019 as compared with 2.8 per cent between 2014 and 2016; and reducing inflation from 15.4 percent at end-December 2016 to 7.9 per cent by the end-December 2019.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said the lowest since the 4th Republic in 1992; maintaining an average fiscal balance below a five per cent 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$8.6 billion or about 4 months of import cover by February, 2020 as compared to 3.5 months of import cover in 2016; successfully exiting the IMF-ECF programme in April 2019 which had been completely derailed by 2016 are among the programme.

“Mr. Speaker, leadership of any nation succeeds or fails on the strength or weakness of how the economy is managed. A leader who cannot run the economy is a leader who can never be trusted to deliver.”

“Leadership is about the economy and the character of the leader. It is about knowing how to grasp the problems, the expertise to find solutions, the courage to take bold decisions, the conviction to stay the course.”

By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House

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