The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, will later today, Wednesday, October 28, 2020, present a budget to Parliament to cater for the first quarter of 2021.
The expected presentation, known as Expenditure in Advance of Appropriation, has become a usual characteristic of election years to prevent transitional challenges in the smooth running of government for the first three months in the year after an election.
Ahead of the presentation, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, served notice of intended heckling of the Minister if what he terms outstanding matters are not resolved.
“The outstanding matters that the Minister for Finance should do for members, if he does not, today we will heckle him. We will subject him to an empty room today as part of the heckling then he will know we do not want to hear him.”
The government in July this year presented a revised budget statement to Parliament for approval of an additional GHS11.8 billion to support the government’s expenditure for the rest of the year 2020.
This was after the government projections for the 2020 financial year were affected by the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this year, the Finance Minister announced that the government will require some GHS9.5 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation which may move the 2020 budget deficit to over seven percent.
He also stated that this will be 2.5 percent of Ghana’s revised GDP, and there will be a “fiscal gap of GHS11.4 billion”.
Expectations for budget presentation
Ahead of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s presentation of the budget for the first quarter of 2021 on Wednesday, October 28, different groups of the Ghanaian society have been speaking about their expectations.
One of the groups looking forward to the budget is the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
The Chamber has said that it does not expect any pronouncements increasing existing taxes or introducing new ones, but it is rather upbeat about a possible reduction in taxes to help Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs) find their feet from the impact of COVID-19.
The CEO of the Chamber, Mark Badu-Aboagye, in an interview with Citi Business News also asked government to put words into action by establishing the SME-focused bank it promised in the previous budget.
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), says it expects to hear government’s plans to end fuel smuggling in Ghana.
Although government has made some efforts to address the challenge, COPEC says the problem persists, causing the country to lose revenue.
The Executive Secretary of the Chamber, Duncan Amoah said it is imperative that government addresses this challenge in order to improve the country’s revenue mobilization.
An Economist and Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Lord Mensah, has also urged government to be conservative with its expenditure projections for the first three months of next year.