Today Is Budget Day

Ken Ofori-Atta

FINANCE MINISTER Ken Ofori-Atta is scheduled to present the 2020 statement and economic policy of government in Parliament today.

The presentation, which is billed to start at 10am, comes amid threats by the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) to give Mr. Ofori-Atta a vote of no confidence.

The budget statement is expected to spell out how Ghana for the first time will self-finance its presidential and parliamentary elections in 2020 in fulfillment of President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid.’

As 2020 marks an election year, with fear of budget overrun as has happened in times past during electioneering periods, stakeholders, especially civil society organizations and policy think tanks, are expecting to hear how government will ensure fiscal discipline in 2020.

Government, at its seventh cabinet retreat held at the Peduase Lodge, examined its economic turnaround programme and approved a framework for the 2020 budget. It lays down some “redlines” for the 2020 budget.

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has hinted that the 2020 budget statement will provide details on the completion and sustainability of government’s flagship programmes.

Government’s 16 flagship programmes include the Free SHS, One-District One-Factory and One-Village One-Dam, among others.

However, the Minority in Parliament has said government has recorded high fiscal deficit figures which Mr. Ofori-Atta is likely to massage to present it within accepted limits.

Ghana’s Fiscal Responsibility Act demands of a Finance Minister not to superintend a fiscal deficit exceeding 5 per cent, so as not to be censored.

Cassiel Ato Forson, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, told the press that Mr. Ofori-Atta would try to avoid censorship by manipulating economic figures.

He said NDC MPs would reject figures to be presented by the minister in Parliament. He warned, “He should prepare because he has already exceeded that 5 per cent.”

BY Melvin Tarlue