Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have shared their expectations of the 2022 national budget statement and economic policy of the government and called for specific measures to strengthen public service delivery to improve living conditions of the citizenry.
The CSOs, who shared their expectations in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Monday, included; SEND-GHANA, Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID), and Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA).
Mr Mohammed Mumuni, Northern Regional Programme Manager of SEND GHANA said the challenges brought on the country’s economy by the COVID-19 pandemic and poor revenue mobilisation meant that the budget must outline rigorous revenue mobilisation strategies to help raise the needed resources for government’s activities.
Mr Mumuni said the budget deficit for this year would also increase hence need for increased revenue mobilization and as efforts were made to increase revenue, there was also the need for stringent measures to reduce the leakages in public expenditure for the benefit of all.
He said social protection initiatives should be need-driven and properly targeted to ensure that the real people, who needed such interventions, benefited.
He also called for a limit to consumption expenditure and prioritisation of expenditure that promoted productivity to help improve the country’s economy.
The Minister for Finance is expected to appear before Parliament on Thursday, November 18, to present the budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year 2022.
Mr Mohammed Awal Sumani Bapio, Executive Director of CALID said the budget statement should outline practical steps to addressing unemployment in the country by creating opportunities for the youth.
Mr Bapio called for sustainable funding for young entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses to help in addressing youth unemployment in the country.
He said youth unemployment was a national security threat, hence need for urgent and concrete steps to address the situation.
He expressed need for the budget to focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training sectors to help promote manufacturing and self-employment to make the economy strong.
Mr Bapio reiterated need for the government to remove nuisance taxes on petroleum products to reduce the hardship on the citizenry and said such taxes affected all sectors of the economy.
He called for early release of funds towards the implementation of social intervention initiatives such as the Free Senior High School initiative, capitation grant and District Assemblies’ Common Fund to make the desired impact in the lives of the beneficiaries.
Mr Philip Gmabi, Technical Advisor on Governance and Policy at GDCA said the high cost of fuel had effects on all sectors of the economy and called on the government to use the budget to lessen the burden on the citizenry.
Mr Gmabi said the budget statement should come out with measures to strengthen Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to collect more revenues locally to support their development activities without necessarily over burdening the few, who were already paying taxes.
He said the poor rainfall coupled with the inability of many farmers to access fertilizers this year would worsen the already high food prices situation in the country. He therefore called for specific measures to bring down prices of staple foods to make them affordable to the ordinary citizen.