Ghana faces retrogression if 2022 budget is not approved - Kwaku Kwarteng
“If we don’t approve the budget, and by January next year there is no approved appropriation, public sector workers cannot be paid. Government cannot honour its international obligations and we will throw this country into chaos.
Ghana faces possible retrogression if the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government is not approved; that is a suggestion by the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Kwarteng. A situation he describes will not be pleasant to Ghanaians.
Mr. Kwarteng states that the budget, which is yet to be approved or disapproved by parliament holds a major impact which will reflect in the lives of Ghanaians depending on the decision that parliament makes. He adds that a rejection of the 2022 Budget, he noted, will come with negative implications which will affect everybody in the country.
Citing that there will be economical chaos in the country since little money will be available to spend on government contracts and no money to pay government workers. Furthermore, the government will not be able to honour its international obligations.
“If we don’t approve the budget, and by January next year there is no approved appropriation, public sector workers cannot be paid. Government cannot honour its international obligations and we will throw this country into chaos. Let those saying we should reject the budget repent from what they are thinking about”, he noted when he stood up on the floor of Parliament to second the motion for the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government.
Putting up a spirited argument for support, Mr Kwarteng, who is the former deputy Minister of Finance, said Ghana has suffered a lot because of the huge gap between its revenue mobilization and expenditures, stressing that now was the time to bridge that gap as the Budget “is seeking to do exactly that.”
He said as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which virtually shut down the global economy, all the revenue projections the country made could not be materialized and had to borrow again to meet expenditure.
As a result of this, in 2020, for every GH₵100.00 revenue collected, GH₵45.00 was used to service interest on the loans the country had borrowed.
He said although the year has not ended, indications are that Ghana is likely to spend GH₵47.00 as payment of interest on every GH₵100.00 revenue collected.
The trend he noted, cannot be allowed to continue since it is not sustainable.
With the economy facing the chronic difficulty of not being able to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure, Mr Kwarteng referenced a statement former President Mahama made in 2013 when he went to Parliament and told Members that “the meat was now down to the bone”, a statement he noted, will be the opposite when the 2022 Budget is approved.
The 2022 Budget, he added, has outlined some measures to deal with the rising expenditure rate against revenues mobilized.
For example, he said Government has in the budget, initiated a measure that seeks to move the country away from sole sourcing to more competitive tendering contracts as well as improving the efficiency of public sector project financing by tackling the value for money regime of government projects in accordance with the law.
Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu