The focus of the 2017 fiscal budget to be presented to Parliament today is expected to stimulate economic growth whilst addressing many fundamental challenges including high fiscal deficit, debt to GDP, unstable inflation, cedi instability among others.
The budget is also expected to outline the execution of many of the campaign promises by the new government. The promises include scrapping ‘nuisance’ taxes, implementing free senior high school education, establishing one factory at every district and one village one dam.
A comprehensive plan on how to tackle the energy situation for the long haul is also expected to feature highly on the agenda of the government.
“We want to have a budget that will bring hope to the economy and investors and not the many challenges left behind by the previous government”, an economic analyst with the Finance Minister and his team told this paper.
He admitted that the economy left behind by the previous government was in a bad way, a situation that has resulted in the rapid depreciation of the cedi.
President Nana Akufo-Addo recently assured Ghanaians that the first budget presentation of his government will contain policies and initiatives aimed at putting the ailing economy back on track.
According to him, “being a new government in power I can assure you that our first budget will outline ways of fixing the economy. I assure you that my government will work towards building the nation. All these policies will also support individual business growth and create more jobs. It is going to be challenging; but we will see it through since we as a party are committed to development.”
The budget will take into cognizance the IMF Stabilization programme which is set for an extension. In a recent meeting with government, the IMF mission to Ghana commended the new government over the bold policies it has outlined to restore fiscal discipline and debt sustainability and also to support growth and private sector development.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has promised that the budget will offer relief to businesses and also create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship.
A professor with the University of Ghana Business School, Godfred Bokpin, is also asking government to address Ghana’s public debt crisis and reduce expenditure overruns in the 2017 Budget.
He also wants government to ensure that provision is made for the promises of the stimulus packages for the business community.
Some of the key targets for 2017 that businesses and Ghanaians will be looking for in the budget are the fiscal deficit, inflation, exchange rate, interest rates, how to refinance the high debt levels amongst others.
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