Story: Yaw Takyi
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the government’s 2024 Annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament today, Wednesday, November 15, 2023
This is a constitutional exercise to be carried out by the Finance Minister on behalf of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The presentation of the budget was in doubt as there was no communiqué from the Finance Ministry but yesterday’s statement from Mr. Ofori-Atta’s office affirmed and assured the presentation.
“In accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) the Minister for Finance will, on behalf of the President, lay before Parliament the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for the 2024 Financial Year, on Wednesday, 15th November, 2023,” the Ministry’s statement announced.
Meanwhile some groups including the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA), the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, and a host of other trading associations have called on the government to introduce major tax cuts to reduce the economic and financial burden on Ghanaians ahead of the presentation.
For example, the Chief Executive officer of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), (Mark Badu-Aboagye has said the structure of Ghana’s taxes and the implementation of the same is a threat to the survival of businesses.
According to him, the businesses are overburdened with taxes, which makes it very difficult for them to expand.
Speaking to the media ahead of today’s budget presentation he said “some of the taxes that we have now, they are not necessary, nuisance taxes. Those taxes were brought in purposely to solve a specific problem, for example, the COVID tax.”
He explained that this tax had accomplished what it was set up for and must be scrapped.
Although Mr Badu-Aboagye agreed that these monies were borrowed and must be repaid, he said the government must first give an account of what the money was used for.
He stressed despite the claim by the government that the money was used to support stakeholders, those monies were not free monies because the government placed more taxes on their businesses which in a way crippled their industry.
“I haven’t heard anywhere the amount that they have been able to collect from that business that they gave the money to. Otherwise, it becomes a waste of money and you come back to the individuals and businesses to tax them,” he said.
He stressed that the structure should be able to generate revenue and should be able to simulate the activities of the private sector adding that “If the businesses are collapsing you end up not getting the revenue that you want.”
Mr Badu-Aboagye added that the government had not been able to create a balance between revenue generation and enhancing the activity of businesses which should be the most important thing the 2024 budget must address.
The Concerned Drivers Association of Ghana has also called for a reintroduction of road tolls in the budget to help repair Ghana’s deplorable roads.
Below is the Finance Ministry’s full statement.
PRESENTATION OF 2024 ANNUAL BUDGET STATEMENT AND ECONOMIC POLICY
Accra, Tuesday, 14th November 2023
In accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) the Minister for Finance will, on behalf of the President, lay before Parliament the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government of Ghana for the 2024 Financial Year, on Wednesday, 15th November 2023.
2. This Budget is crucial because it is developed to support the implementation of the IMF-backed Post-Covid-19 Programme of Economic Growth (PC-PEG). It comes just after the successful First Review of the 3-year US$3 billion IMF-ECF Programme.
3. It will also highlight, among others, the performance of the economy, efforts to boost the productive capacity of the economy through the new Growth Strategy, fiscal measures, and debt management strategies to deepen stability and promote growth.
4. In line with usual practice, Government will undertake a comprehensive post-Budget stakeholder engagement to explain the various policy to the public.