In the midst of Ghana’s economic challenges, citizens, economic analysts and policy makers are eagerly awaiting the forthcoming mid-year budget review, which is set to be presented to parliament by the Finance Minister before the end of June. Dr. Cassel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader of parliament, has expressed the urgent need for this budget review to be a catalyst for hope, aimed at reigniting the country’s path towards economic recovery.
Of particular concern to Dr. Forson and his colleagues is the state of the Ghanaian economy, given the government’s recent announcement of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, which has been successfully concluded. The Minority Leader emphasized the necessity for the mid-year review to address the prevalent economic hardships and act as a restorative force that can unify the nation.
“We are primarily concerned about the state of our economy and the fact that the government has entered into an agreement with the IMF. It is our hope that the mid-year review will not only tackle the prevailing economic hardships but also serve as a guiding light, steering the country towards sustainable economic recovery,” stated Dr. Forson during a media encounter with parliament’s leadership.
He emphasized the importance of the review presenting tangible steps to restore stability, particularly in light of the approval and subsequent disbursement of US$600 million from the US$3 billion IMF deal. The success of the mid-year budget review will, in Dr. Forson’s view, serve as a litmus test, signaling whether Ghana is indeed on the path to economic revival or if the challenges will persist and intensify.
Moreover, Dr. Forson highlighted the discrepancy between the budget’s insufficiency and the government’s lifestyle, asserting that the country’s financial constraints are not reflected in the government’s expenditure patterns. The Member of Parliament for Ajumako/Enyan/Esiam called for a pragmatic approach to fiscal management and a reevaluation of the government’s spending habits.
In the midst of these deliberations, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader of parliament, shared his perspective on the IMF facility. Although the US$3 billion, spread over three years, may not appear to be sufficient to cover the country’s expenditure needs, he emphasized its significant implications. According to him, the IMF and World Bank’s validation through the facility acts as a catalyst to unlock additional funds from bilateral engagements, with the IMF and World Bank serving as guarantors for Ghana’s financial sustainability.
Nonetheless, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu acknowledged that the IMF conditionality requires the government to curtail expenditure, potentially impacting employment opportunities and infrastructure development. He stressed the two fundamental aspects of the ongoing discussions with the IMF: reducing expenditure and increasing domestic revenue. Striking a delicate balance between these two goals will be a formidable task, but the mid-year review is seen as an opportunity to present a coherent plan to inject new life into the Ghanaian economy.
As Ghana eagerly awaits the mid-year budget review, the nation stands at a critical juncture. The review holds the potential to restore hope, reignite economic growth, and foster unity among Ghanaians. The careful deliberations and decisions made during this crucial period will shape the trajectory of Ghana’s economic recovery, with parliament playing a vital role in providing valuable suggestions and insights to guide the nation towards a revitalized and resilient future.