Finance minister has revised ‘Asempa’ budget to ‘asembone budget’

Former deputy Finance minister Ato Forson says government’s revision of some of the targets in its 2017 budget portends bad news for the Ghanaian taxpayer.

He has described the 2017 budget as ‘asembone’ budget [ bad news] despite government touting its economic policy as an ‘asempa’ [good news] budget.

Finance minister came to Parliament to present government’s economic performance seven months in the Akufo-Addo government as required by law.

The minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s revised some of the targets in the budget statement and conceded it could not collect as much revenue as it had targeted.

He explained, lower revenues were recorded because of low import volumes and a slower rate of economic activity which led to lower revenues from income taxes.

Ken Ofori-Atta noted that revenue to have accrued from taxes on Income and Property, International Trade and Domestic Goods and Services fell short by about 47%, 33% and 20% respectively.

He said because government could not collected enough, it also reduced spending hence missing an expenditure target of 16.7 percent as it missed its total revenue and grants targets by 14.9%.

The resulting effect that government was well below its fiscal deficit target of 3.5% recording 2.5%  of GDP.

While cutting the economy’s coat to fit its size can be pointed out as a good development, the Minority also argue that cuts in expenditure hurts the Ghanaian.

The expenditure cut of around 600million cedis, Ato Forson said, will mean public sector employees will go to work but ‘will not have tools to work’ while contractors working on projects will not be paid on time.

“What we heard today will not translate into gains” he later said on Joy News Monday.

He said government is failing to discount the impact of the shut down of FPSO Kwame Nkrumah on the economy. The shut down which will last for 12  weeks will mean revenue shortfalls from oil.

He said despite this reality, the government still maintains its 6.3% GDP growth rate for 2017 and predicted, the NPP government “will be exposed big time” by the end of the year.

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