Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has begun stakeholders’ engagement ahead of the preparations of the 2023 Budget and Economic Statement.
The engagement is meant to solicit expert opinions on the budget preparation and to seek public buy-in into any new economic policy that may be introduced. It is being led by a Deputy Minister for Finance and Member of Parliament for Ejisu, Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah.
Addressing the Stakeholders at a forum held in Accra, the Deputy Minister 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,” he noted.
Dr. Kumah added that these developments, together with other factors, are continuously making funding of the Budget very challenging. He mentioned the other factors to include 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.
He said the harsh reality is that these challenges are still with us and affecting revenue projections.
“The revenue projections for 2023 are still on the low, however, Government is investing in the necessary infrastructure to boost domestic revenue generation,” he said.
He thanked the stakeholders for their continued support over the years. He reiterated the fact that the country is not in normal times, appealing for their support and cooperation as the country continues to push forward for economic recovery.
Dr. Kumah disclosed that “more extensive engagements will be held as we work towards recovering the economy in such hard times globally.
Meanwhile, the engagement in Ghana is coming at a time a government delegation, led by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, is also in Washington engaging with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of the budget statement.
According to Dr Kumah, “Government is yet to conclude negotiations with the IMF which is expected to unlock other financing sources particularly, from bilateral partners.”
He 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”.
He, however, expressed optimism that the policies and strategies being implemented and explored will help address the economic challenges facing the country.