A professor of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School says Ken Ofori-Atta’s indication that the government will not request more money for its operations in the next half of the year was no news.

According to Godfred A. Bokpin, the Finance Minister had to do so as the exigencies of the times in the country give him no choice.

“Does the government have enough room to introduce additional taxes in addition to what we were contained? Unfortunately, the answer is no,” he stated on Saturday.

Mid-year budget reviews have often come with supplementary budgets, with governments making requests to Parliament for additional funding to cover pressing expenditures for the year.

However, the Finance Minister, presenting this year’s budget review to Parliament on Thursday stated that “I am not here today to ask for more money. I have not come to ask for more taxes.”

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Prof. Bokpin indicated that he was not surprised as government is only containing expenditure largely following the outbreak of the Covid-19 to create a balance.

“So what we are doing now is balancing the books, basic accounting, so we don’t hurt anybody,” he said.

“But beyond that, if there are internal pressures in terms of unsatisfactory performance in terms of how the citizens view the government, like FixTheCountry and the pressures and all of that, we are also talking about security concerns with our neighbours and all of that, this could also trigger government to respond to those expectations.”

He, therefore, noted that government kept to its 2021 budget, hence, nothing was subtracted from the mid-year review.

“The government is only keeping to its target; we know that we need to do some physical consolidation, we know that we need to build our debt and all that.

“The point is that once the government is also not spending to stimulate growth, that is also going to have implications because the issue is that we’ve seen some recovery but how job-rich is that recovery. How does that recovery meet the expectations and undo the negative effect of the pandemic.”

Prof Bokpin, however, noted that there are good intentions in the budget, but said “we don’t have the physical space to be able to translate the good intentions into actuals and it’s down to money so once government revenue remains dwelled, it’s going to affect government’s ability to spend probably in the area of health, education, and maybe social protection the way it should because it’s down to just that, we don’t have money. 

“So we don’t have money to do any kind of stimulus, we don’t have money to implement in terms of specific policies that would engineer job-rich recovery, we don’t have that.

“We are also concerned at the macro level about containing our debt,” noting that there is no law that requires in the country’s law binding the nation to pay off its debt in a year output “because we borrow against future cash flow,” he said.


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