The Minority in Parliament has issued a strong warning to the government ahead of the mid-year budget review to be delivered in Parliament by the Minister of Finance.
In a statement issued on Thursday, July 18 by the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, the budget to be delivered by Ken Ofori-Atta on Monday, July 22 should address the hardships Ghanaians are currently facing “and not the announcement of populist, vote-buying gimmicks”.
According to the statement, the 2018 mid-year budget review saw a “blatant” breach of fiscal discipline by the government in order to fulfill ‘frivolous” campaign promises.
“Off-budgeted transactions is yet another serious problem that can throw the entire 2019 Budget off-gear,” the former Deputy Finance Minister stated.
“The Minority is certain that this has resulted from the rushed implementation of populist and unsustainable campaign promises.
“If this practice should continue, the whole Budgetary process from now till the end of the year will be compromised.”
The statement alluded to a recent observation by the Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Ghana, Dr Albert Touna Mama, about a possible high risk of debt distress facing the country.
“Ghana’s debt stock in the last two and half years has increased significantly.
“Surprisingly, all the additional borrowed funds have been used for consumption which is posing a serious liquidity constraint for capital expenditure.
“In the face of this obvious challenge, the Minority cautions government to exercise restraint and curb its voracious appetite for borrowing.”
An expectant Minority have one request as paramount to Ghanaians: “the outright withdrawal/removal of the economically inefficient luxury vehicle tax”.
The mid-year review will indicate the state of the 2019 budget presented in November, 2018 and could require a supplementary allocation to meet set targets.