THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) administration under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced a GH¢100 billion Economic Recovery Programme dubbed the “Ghana Cares Obaatanpa Programme” over the next three and a half years to transform and modernize the country.
This will involve an investment of GH¢100 billion from 2021 to 2023, of which GH¢70 billion will come from the private sector.
Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, who disclosed this yesterday in Parliament during his presentation of the 2020 Mid-year Budget Review, said for the next six months, government was seeking to reduce communications service tax (CST) from nine per cent to five per cent, establish a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Facility to support all sectors of business and job retention, establish an Unemployment Insurance Scheme and as well as create a GH¢100 fund for Labour and Faith-based organizations for retraining and skills development.
He said government also intended to increase the CapBuss Programme by GH¢150 million to, among others, facilitate credit of GH¢50 million to support the creative arts, the media and the Conference of Independent Universities; retain the provision of free water for the next three months; and retain free electricity for all life-line customers for the rest of the year.
“Mr. Speaker, this Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review and its programmes draws us closer to our collective aspirations. While this pandemic requires us to exceed the limits imposed by 44 the FRA, Act, 982, we have had to make these major expenditures to protect lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses.”
“We therefore request a supplementary budget of GH¢11,896,477,566.00 to enable us continue this extraordinary task,” he stated, adding, “We are in extraordinary times which call for extraordinary leadership. Accordingly, on behalf of the President of the Republic, I have presented to you an extraordinary Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review that seeks to reorganize our public finances to protect lives, secure income, revitalise businesses and focus our energies on driving the economy back on track to building a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
The Finance Minister also stated, “Mr Speaker, Ghana has been hit with a double shock; a health pandemic and a global economic recession. These have resulted in revenue shortfall of GH¢13.6 billion and unanticipated but necessary expenditures of approximately GH¢11.7 billion. This will result in a projected fiscal deficit of 11.4% of GDP. This is above the 5% limit as stated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982).
Promotion of Local Goods
He continued, “Government will vigorously promote the consumption of locally produced goods and services in order to support local businesses and generate employment. To this end, MDAs and MMDAs will be required to prioritize the procurement of local goods and services, and our Public Procurement Authority and Central Tender Review Committee shall be so instructed. The aim is to generate local demand and consumption with the full force of government’s procurement capacity to ensure that most of government procurement will be sourced locally.”
BY Samuel Boadi