Ghana government urged to pursue fiscal consolidation in 2016 Budget

CedisAhead of the 2016 budget presentation to parliament, the Institute for Fiscal Policy (IFP), an affiliate of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) says it expects to see fiscal consolidation and ringfencing of social protection spending in line with the IMF Programme, by directing spending in the sector away from compensation to goods and services.

The IMF has a three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Ghana in support of the country’s medium-term economic reform programme.

Mrs Charlotte Afudego of IFP said government must also pay attention to inclusive job creation especially agriculture for women.

Speaking at Media Dialogue on Key Messages of the 2016 National Budget in Accra Thursday November 12, 2015, she urged that while being prudent with the budget, the government must also mobilize revenue by reducing tax exemptions on immovable property such as hotels and plug loopholes that allow illicit financial flows.

On health, she said government must improve allocations to the expanded programme on immunization with the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI).

Government is currently in default of its commitments to immunization financing, with GAVI.

On the water and sanitation sector, Mrs Afudego said government must show promise to its commitment to providing GH$170 million to the sector, address losses in urban water distribution and outline a strategy for reducing open defecation.

On education, IFP believes that the 2016 budget must specify the amounts that would be necessary for government’s intention to extend the school feeding programme as well as the necessary funding for the free school uniform and free exercise book programmes.

Government hinted of plans to extend the school feeding programme and accordingly, Mrs Afudego noted that specification of the allocations would be necessary for monitoring and evaluation.

In addition, she urged the government to enhance motivation for teachers deployed in deprived areas, to help in achieving equitable distribution of teachers, and support expenditure tracking in education to measure the impact of the spending.

She said government must also put measures in place to avoid the undue delays associated with the capitation grant, and consider adjusting the grant upwards as it has not been reviewed since 2009.

She noted that the Births and Deaths Registry must also receive sufficient funding for its operations.

“Their physical structure alone is not befitting at all. It is wooden and if there should be a fire outbreak, it is where we can get data for planning,” she said.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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