The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, is expected to present the 2018 budget statement and fiscal policy in Parliament today in which he will be seeking approval to spend some GH¢61 billion.
Among the highlights of the 2017 budget, were the withdrawal of the 1 percent Special Import Levy, 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on financial services, and 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally.
The 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets and levies imposed on kayayei by local authorities were also removed.
The 2018 budget will capture the major economic policies of government on how to speed up the country’s economic growth and consolidate the gains made in the 2017 ‘Asempa’ budget.
It is expected to capture the Northern Development Authority Bill, Middle Belt Development Authority Bill, Coastal Belt Development Authority Bill and the Zongo Development Fund Bill, which have all been passed by Parliament.
Ahead of the presentation, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has hinted that the budget will announce significant electricity tariff review and reduction to help boost the industrial sector.
He has also assured Ghanaians that the budget will create more jobs for the teeming youth in the country.
Minority spokesperson on Finance, Casiel Ato Forson, however, says the budget will not create jobs because the private sector is so distressed. According to him, commercial banks do not have the needed liquidity to lend to the private sector; the government was implementing austerity measures, while the Central Bank had been mandated to pursue a tight monetary policy.
Meanwhile, some economists have cautioned against ambitious oil revenue projection saying, the previous experiences must serve as a guide to government as Ghana has no control over the price of oil.
Can the 2018 budget stimulate growth? Stay with us as we bring you live updates from Parliament.