Ofori-Atta presents 2018 budget today

Ken Ofori AttaKen Ofori Atta

Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement to Parliament today, Wednesday, 15 November.

Ahead of the presentation, some labour experts are expecting a job-driven budget to employ millions of jobless Ghanaians after the government having stabilised the economy in the first year in office.

It is believed that government will allocate GH¢1.2 billion to the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme in 2018 as it plans to expand coverage to continuing students.

The government will also sink GH¢480 million into payment of allowances to teacher and nurse trainees.

Government also intends to allocate GH¢150 million to the Zongo Development Fund (ZDF).

Other areas the Minister is expected to address include health, agriculture, government’s One-District-One-Factory programme, taxes, industrial reforms and major macroeconomic factors, among others.

Some sources have said the Finance Minister will be seeking to get Parliament to approve a total budget of GH¢61 billion.

CASH

CASH

Revenue

The current problem poor revenue performance led to a reduction in expenditure of GH₵4.6 billion or 16.7%, more than the revenue shortfall.

The 2017 mid-year budget review presented in July this year showed that total revenue, including grants, was short of the GH₵20.5 billion target by GH₵3.1 billion or 14.9%.

As a percentage of GDP, the revenue collected was 8.6% against a target of 10.1% and, also, less than the outturn of 9.8% in the first half of 2016. The poor revenue performance is reflected in almost all the revenue lines.

In the 2017 budget review, the revenue target was revised downwards by GH₵1.9 billion to GH₵43.1 billion, which is 28% more than was collected in 2016.

The situation has led to speculations that while the government will still keep some taxes abolished, it will hike existing ones in the 2018 budget.

Furthermore, the Minority in Parliament says it has information that a 5% tax will be slapped on mobile money transactions, but that claim has been dismissed. Critics of the tax will surely be looking for that in the budget presentation.

Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, has said tax cuts in the 2017 budget aimed at reducing the cost of business will not happen in the 2018 budget.

“What we are seeking to ensure in this [2018] budget is that the kind of signal that we can send to business that, we are still relying on them to grow the economy,” the Deputy Minister told Joy Business.

The 2018 budget is expected to detail an aggressive strategy to use IT to improve revenue mobilisation.

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