Prof. Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi
Professor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, Dean of Pentecost University Graduate School (PUCGS), says it will be difficult, if not possible, for government to achieve the 2016 Budget deficit target of 5.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, achieving the 5.3 percent target in an election year is very tricky.
“Can we resist election year expenditure deficit? It is a herculean task?”
Prof. Omane-Antwi, who made this known at a seminar on the review of the 2016 National Budget statement at the PUCGS in Accra, noted that already the three main causes of the country’s expenditure overruns- labour demands, subsidies on utilities and a fall in commodity prices have resurfaced, with labour already agitating for an increase in salaries as a result of the increases in utility tariffs and the introduction of the energy levy.
“For me it is high time we refocused on agriculture as the support base for youth employment and halt rural-urban migration. We must refocus by enhancing the agricultural projects listed in the budget to ensure sustained growth in agriculture,” he said.
Prof. Omane-Antwi said though government seems to be implementing several programmes to secure the right medium-term economy, many businesses have struggled to maintain profitability, unemployment remains high and government has had to adjust to slow revenue growth.
“We must intensify our efforts to address economic constraints, improve our growth performance, create work opportunities and broaden economic participation,” Prof. Omane-Antwi said.
He stressed the need to re-strategize by identifying priorities for growth and development, resolving the energy challenges, developing an industrial policy action plan, unlocking the potential of small and medium scale enterprises, among others.
“We need to work hard and more transparently to achieve the set goals if our dream of “consolidating progress towards a brighter medium-term can be realized.”
By Cephas Larbi