Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, has said some of the publicised promises in the 2020 Mid-Year Budget Review may not be fulfilled.
According to him, these promises do not have provisions in the detailed statement that has been presented to Parliament for approval.
During the mid-year budget review on Thursday, July 23, 2020, among other things, current Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced that President Nana Akufo-Addo, would soon launch the GH¢100-billion Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) programme from 2020 to 2021 to recreate the economy.
Mr Ofori-Atta also announced the extension of free water and electricity for Ghanaians for another three months. Also the Communication Service Tax will be reduced from 9% to 5%.
However, speaking to Ghanaweb in an exclusive interview, Mr Terkper said the detailed budget statement that schedules all provisions to an expenditure does not contain some of these promises.
He singled out the CARES programme as one of the “big” promises that, to him, are only meant to falsely win the support of Ghanaians as the elections in December draw close.
“If you list all these promises, including the big one for private sector and all that, since the constitution says that every expenditure you promise must go to Parliament for approval, [they are not likely to be fulfilled],” he said.
Asked if the contents of the review presented to Parliament on Thursday gives him any hope that COVID-19-induced economic constraints can be tackled, Mr Terkper said, fiscal management is based on facts, not on hope.”
“Sometimes even the fact that you have put in the budget that you will raise revenue from say oil, the oil price may go down. It is unpredictable. Or something like COVID-19 can affect demand of our primary commodities and you may not realise it…that can be excused,” he said.
Mr Terkper stated that in such a situation, reduction in budget expenditures, and not adding new promises, must be the way to go.
“That is what the reduction of budget expenditures are all about or austerity because the revenue you are expecting did not come,” he said.
Mr Terkper criticised the contents of the 2020 Mid-Year Review for not a lack of sound austere provisions at a time when the novel coronavirus pandemic has greatly decimated Ghana’s revenue streams.