We’re under no illusions as to the economic challenges – Ofori-Atta
The Government of Ghana in the 2022 Budget says it is under no illusions as to the economic challenges of the nation.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the budget, detailed measures by the Government to contain the hardship imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, assuring that the budget was focused on how to ease the sufferings of Ghanaians, transform the economy to create jobs and share the expected wealth across all households.
This year’s budget is themed, “Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation: Fiscal Consolidation and Job Creation.”
The presentation of the budget statement is an annual activity performed by the Finance Minister on the authority of the sitting President, and in accordance with Articles 179 and 180 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The Minister submitted also to the House the 2021 Annual Report on the Petroleum Funds, the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), (as amended) and the 2021 Report on the Utilization of the African Union Levies statutory reports.
It focused on broadening the tax base, keep a grip on expenditure, protect the public purse and at the same time build with urgency the needed infrastructure, collecting revenue, managing the nation’s debt.
The Minister observed the social, economic and health challenges, among others, of the Covid-19 pandemic, but however indicated that the hardship Ghanaians had experienced due to COVID-19 was not lost on the Government.
He said: “We have been there with the people, playing the difficult but necessary balancing act of managing an economy put under extreme distress by the pandemic and, at the same time, supporting households and businesses to cope,” adding that the Government’s response to COVID-19 thus far, had earned domestic and worldwide acclaim.
Thanking God for his grace and mercies the Minister extended the empathies of the Government to families who lost loved ones during the pandemic; private school teachers who lost income for 12 months; business owners who lost earnings; and thousands of hospitality and tourism sector workers who were laid off.
Other impacts of the pandemic, the Minister noted, were slump in businesses built around traditional and other social events; and the rendering of young people jobless, and whose strenuous efforts to find work have been further as well as the impact on our mental health and wellbeing which has also been profound.
Mr Ofori-Atta announced that in all these, “not a single Ghanaian public sector worker was laid off as a result of the impact of the pandemic on our public finances and we have managed to pay them monthly.”
“And we are grateful to the Unions for their cooperation in this regard,” he added.
The Finance Minister recalled that the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented on 12th March, 2021 was anchored on debt sustainability and consolidation while providing some fiscal stimulus.
The Government of Ghana will complete ongoing programmes and projects, consolidate the gains from the recovery efforts and continue its agenda towards the revitalization and transformation of the economy.
The Minister reported that the Government inherited an economic crisis in 2017, and “it is turning around the economic crisis the pandemic brought in 2020.
“The challenge is on and we are determined to prevail and with the people behind us and the Almighty on our side we know we shall prevail,” Mr Ofori Atta said.
He observed that Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation through fiscal consolidation and Job Creation might be an uncomfortable transition.
“But, we are a people who think deeply and we must progress and become a people who also make things for ourselves and the World. We must embrace this challenge of becoming a vibrant entrepreneurial nation,” the Finance Minister said.