Government is seeking Parliamentary approval to spend about GH¢12bn to ease the burden placed on the economy by the novel coronavirus.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who revealed this said the virus has not only plundered government’s revenues but has taken a heavy toll on businesses with some requiring assistance to stay afloat.
“Whiles this pandemic requires us to exceed the limits imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, we have had to make these major expenditures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses. We, therefore, request a supplementary Budget of GH¢11.9 bn to enable us to continue this extraordinary task,” he said.
Should the extra funds being requested by the Finance Minister be granted, it would bring the 2020 Total Appropriation to GH¢109.9bn.
The Minister explained that the supplementary budget would go into areas such as utility tariffs reliefs for consumers, soft loans for businesses, special allowance for front line workers, governance and security, among others.
Mr. Ofori-Atta revealed that the government suffered a revenue shortfall of nearly GH¢8bn as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated weak revenue mobilisation efforts.
Delivering the 2020 mid-year budget review and supplementary estimates on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, Mr. Ofori-Atta revealed that the government’s prudent spending made sure that the shortfall’s impact was minimised.
According to the Finance Minister, revenue mobilised in the first half of the year was GH¢22bn which was 26 percent lower than the estimated GH¢29.7bn for the period. Over the past five years, government has struggled to raise enough domestic revenue despite its tax-to-GDP already behind peers in the sub-region.
However, government’s total expenditure for the period, GH¢46.3bn, was 11.5 percent more than was projected in the 2020 budget presented last year.
Source: Business 24
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