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Stop the promises and focus on macro stability - Kweku Ricketts-Hagan

Kweku Ricketts Hagan1 Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, MP for Cape Coast South

Mon, 15 Mar 2021 Source:

Former Deputy Minister of Finance and MP for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan has asked the government to scale down on the numerous manifesto promises to ensure macroeconomic stability.

“This government has promised so much, borrowed a lot of money for it, and they have delivered very little. They are still promising and they are still borrowing, yet they have nothing to show for it,” he said.

He was commenting to the media on the 2021 budget, read by caretaker Finance Minister, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

Mr Ricketts-Hagan said though the macroeconomic and fiscal figures are frightening as a result of the pandemic and self-inflicted bad policies, the economy can recover but it requires solid policies targeted at macro and fiscal stability. “The Government should tone down on rhetorics, over-promising, ever-increasing government programmes that have so far yielded no results but have cost money.”

He said per the government’s own reports in the budget, the overall real GDP ended the year at 0.9%, budget deficit was 13.7% of GDP including financial sector clean up, and primary balance deficit of 4.6% of GDP, and a debt burden of 291.6 billion cedis, which is 76.1% of GDP.

“In times like this, we need policies that increase revenue and rationalize your expenditure. That is what will help you to achieve fiscal consolidation. It means widening your tax base [and] not overburden the already heavily taxed citizen with more taxes, it means cut wasteful expenditures and not add more. If some of your expenditures don’t add value to your GDP and create no jobs, you must shelve it. Stabilizing your economic parameters, such as your fiscal indicators, macroeconomic indicators, your monetary and exchange rate policies is the way to go, not more promises.”

2021 Budget

Presenting the 2021 Budget Statement in Parliament, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah–Bonsu said:

“We took a severely challenged economy and restored its competitiveness within three years: In four years, against significant opposition, we took a bold step that afforded 1.2 million Ghanaians the opportunity to attain better and quality secondary education; we took a financial sector on the brink of collapse, and in four years cleaned it to build an even stronger financial ecosystem that is well capitalised, liquid, and solvent to fund our progress.

“In four years, we secured a central place in African integration and won the bid to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); and within the last four years, our aggressive industrialisation and regional integration agenda successfully attracted and retained the highest foreign direct investment in West Africa, including having global automobile giants setting up base here. Today, world-class vehicles assembled right here in Ghana are selling on our market and plying our roads. The message to other global manufacturers is this: from 2021, an integrated Africa is open for business, and Ghana is ready to welcome you to set up here to take advantage of the biggest free-trade area in the world.”

Osei Kyei-Mensah–Bonsu added, “Mr. Speaker, we have come far from 2020. However, we are not fully out of the woods yet. As such, fiscal consolidation has to be carefully balanced with the 6 | P a g e provision of some targeted fiscal stimuli to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and to facilitate a quick and strong recovery of our economy, which we aim to achieve through the Ghana CARES “Obaatan pa” Programme.”

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