The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta is set to present the 2023 mid-year budget review in Parliament today, Monday, July 31, 2023.
Originally slated for July 27, 2023, the presentation was later rescheduled to July 25, 2023, only to be cancelled again until further notice.
The last-minute cancellation of the budget review has stirred curiosity among Members of Parliament (MPs) and the public alike, with various speculations emerging about the possible reasons behind the delay.
“In accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2023 Financial Year, is expected to be presented to Parliament on Monday, 31st July, 2023,” the Finance Ministry noted in a statement.
The presentation will provide an update on the implementation of the 2023 Budget, with insights into the economic and fiscal performance for the first half of the year.
It will discuss policies implemented to stabilize the economy, promote growth and provide social protection for the vulnerable as outlined in the IMF-supported Post COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG).
In focusing on the outlook, the budget-review statement will outline the critical imperatives to restore macroeconomic stability and accelerate our economic transformation.
The issues that will be highlighted include structural reforms in expenditure commitment control and arrears clearance; debt management; financial stability and a growth agenda, amongst others.
“In line with usual practice, we wish to indicate that Government will undertake the Post-Budget Engagements to explain the various policy choices to the public,” the Ministry of Finance added in its statement.
MPs share expectations
In an interview with Citi News, Members of Parliament shared their expectations for the mid-year budget review.
They said that they hope that the government will reduce taxes, aggregate the various taxes, and provide more funding for the educational sector and the school feeding programme.
They also expressed concern about the high unemployment rate among young people and the shortage of fertilizer in the country.
The Member of Parliament for Anlo, Richard Kwami Sefe, said that the shortage of fertilizer is negatively impacting farming activities in his constituency.
He said that farmers are being forced to pay high prices for fertilizer, which is making it difficult for them to make a profit. He appealed to the government to intervene in the situation.
“My farmers as we talk now, most of them are just willing and ready to work to even do more what they are doing. But the fertilizer, insecticides and other boosters, you will have some around but the cost, the last two years for 50kg fertilizer NPK was around GH¢98 . Last year  it increased to GH¢210, this year we are going as far as GH¢450, GH¢460,” MP for Anlo lamented.
The Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, Paul Twum Barimah, also expressed hope that the mid-year budget review will not come with any new taxes.
He said that the economy is already under strain and that the government should focus on reducing taxes rather than increasing them.
“The whole country is in a spectre mood, I strongly believe this mid-year budget review will not come with any tax. My expectation is that the minister of finance should consider the current situation of Ghanaians and see how we can manage the economy,” Member of Parliament for Dormaa East envisaged.
Source: Citi Business News