General News of Monday, 31 July 2017
The Akufo-Addo-led government’s Good News budget has now turned into a Bad News one, Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, has said following Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta’s presentation of the mid-year budget review on Monday, 31 July.
Mr Ofori-Atta, while presenting the budget said the NPP government inherited a “weak” economy from the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
He said: “Mr Speaker, we inherited a weak economy characterised by high fiscal deficit, 9.3 per cent of GDP on a cash basis against the then-target of five per cent on cash basis. A primary deficit of 1.4 per cent of GDP against a target surplus of 1.2 per cent, a high debt-to-GDP ratio of 73 per cent of GDP, high inflation of 15.4 per cent, low credit to the private sector, high interest rate, 91 per cent treasury bill rate at 16.4 per cent, weak domestic revenue mobilisation, low external reserves of 2.8 months of import cover, policy reversals including some unconstrained expenditure, seven billion of our standing commitments and un-discharged obligations and weak economic growth of 3.5 per cent – the lowest in 15 years.”
He added: “But Mr Speaker, permit me to reassure this august house that the Akufo-Addo government is not daunted by this statistics that were passed on to us.”
But debating the Finance Minister’s statement, Mr Forson said: “From the information that we have heard today, from the document that we have just been given, I rise to say that unfortunately the budget is being revised from ‘Asempa’ (Goodnews) budget to ‘Asembone’ (Bad news) budget.
“I say this because this is bad news for this country. You will notice that non-tax revenues as projected, the programme was that from Q1 to Q2 the outturn will be 2.7 billion, Mr Speaker the out turn is now 2.1 billion, this is a cut. Clearly what this means is that there is a shortfall of almost GHS600million.”