Government must declare unplanned expenditure in 2017 budget - Economist
As the Finance Minister prepares to present a first quarter 2017 budget to parliament on Thursday, Economist Dr. Ebo Turkson has urged the government to clearly demonstrate how it intends to finance unbudgeted expenditure that have been rolled out few months to the general elections.
Government recently announced that it has scrapped allowances for trainee nurses but restored them after a series of demonstrations from the students.
Already, the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has assured that government will not incur a budget overrun in this year’s election.
But speaking to Citi Business News, Dr. Turkson was of the view that even though election spending was not new, excess spending could result in a budget overrun, hence plans must be made to budget for all expenditures.
“We’ve been used to this cycle where just before elections, government reverses everything it has done just to win the election. These generous policies that government is coming out with will increase government expenditure. By next year all these money will have to be paid for by the taxpayer,” he warned.
He pointed out that government will have to borrow at higher cost to close the deficit if it intends not to impose high tariffs on Ghanaians to make up for the expenditure.
According to Dr. Turkson, unplanned expenditures in election years is a big challenge to governments, hence requires financial discipline to attain.
“Every unplanned expenditure that government incurs, government will have to look for the money after the election. Once it was not planned for you will be taxed or government will have to borrow since it will leave a deficit in the budget,” he said.
He maintained that Ghana must move away from overspending in an election year since it also puts undue pressure on an incoming government after an administration loses power.
“If a new government should come into power, the new government will be a little shaky at the beginning because these are expenditures that have not been budgeted for. If it is not against the new government’s policy then they have to find a way of paying up for that because governance is a continues process,” he said.