Ministry of Finance has begun an engagement with the various stakeholders as part of preparations for the formulation of the 2023 Budget and Economic Statement.
Deputy Minister for Finance and Member of Parliament for Ejisu, John Ampontuah Kumah who is leading the engagement has so far spent a day meeting with the stakeholders on policies and programmes that they will want to see reflected in the 2023 budget and which policies and programmes should be taken out, amended or revised for the development of Ghana.
This engagement comes at a time when the Government team led by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta is also in Washington engaging with the IMF ahead of the 2023 budget.
Addressing the stakeholders at a forum held in Accra, Mr Kumah explained that “As a Government, we believe in the culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency and accountability and therefore these engagements enrich the budgeting process and move us a step closer to achieving these principles”.
According to him, several engagements have and continue to take place in different forms and with diverse stakeholders at various stages of the budgeting process.
“Our commitment to this process is even more enforced in these times of macroeconomic turbulence. Our economy, just like many other developing and emerging economies, is still managing the pressures posed by the current global and domestic challenges such as revenues are underperforming, and some critical expenditures are rising amid the general rising cost of living among others”.
Kumah added that these developments, together with other factors including credit rating downgrades and the subsequent closure of the International Capital Market; tightening domestic financing conditions; high cost of borrowing following the increase in the Monetary Policy Rate to address the high inflation; the depreciation of the cedi; and the high debt service burden, are continuously making funding of the Budget very challenging”.
He said the harsh reality is that these challenges are still with us: revenue projections for 2023 are still on the low, however, Government is investing in the necessary infrastructure to boost domestic revenue generation.
“On the other hand, Government is yet to conclude negotiations with the IMF which is expected to unlock other financing sources particularly, from bilateral partners,” he stated.
Dr. Kumah noted that “Given that Ghana is not expected to return to borrowing from the International Capital Market, (a major financing source in recent times to augment domestic financing), anytime soon, the financing challenges currently being faced by Government is likely to persist into 2023”.
The focus of the 2023 Budget
He said Government is confident that the policies and strategies being implemented and explored will help address the economic challenges facing the country.
He, however, uses the opportunity to thank the stakeholders for their continued support over the years and to reiterate the fact that we are not in normal times, and also appeal for their support and cooperation as the country continues to push forward for economic recovery.
John Kumah indicated that in the coming days, more extensive engagements will be held as we work towards recovering the economy in such hard times globally.
BY Daniel Bampoe