The 2023 budget statement and economic policy of the government will focus on restoring and sustaining macroeconomic stability, Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Ampontuah-Kumah, has said.
The move, he said, was to address the economic challenges facing the country and ensure durable and inclusive growth and promote social protection.
Speaking at a two-day stakeholder engagement to seek the input of stakeholders into the 2023 budget and economic policy of the government in Accra on Thursday, Dr Ampontuah-Kumah, said the 2023 budget would focus on measures to maximise revenue mobilisation through the widening of the tax net.
The programme was organised for civil society organisations and the players in the banking and financial industry to seek their input in the 2023 budget.
He said measures would also be introduced to enforce tax compliance and vigorously pursue the digitalisation agenda to minimise revenue leakages.
“Government would introduce efficiency measures in the use of public funds by reducing duplication of functions among covered entities and reducing waste,” Dr Ampontuah-Kumah, said.
He said the government was confident that the policies and strategies being implemented and explored would help address the economic challenges the country was going through.
Dr Ampontuah-Kumah said credit ratings downgrades and the subsequent closure of the International Capital Market; tightening domestic financing conditions; high cost of borrowing following the increase in the monetary policy rate to address the high inflation; the depreciation of the cedi; and the high debt service burden, were continuously making funding of the budget very challenging.
“Given that Ghana is not expected to return to borrowing from the International Capital Market, (a major financing source in recent times to augment domestic financing), anytime soon, the financing challenges currently being faced by government is likely to persist into 2023,” he said.
Dr Ampontuah-Kumah said the government was yet to conclude negotiations with the IMF which is expected to unlock other financing sources particularly, from bilateral partners.
He said rising debt servicing and compensation for workers continue to be a burden on the state.
“As we make our submissions and propose recommendation for preparation of the 2023 budget, let us be guided by the focus areas of government for the ensuing fiscal year and the medium-term,” he stressed.
Touching on the engagement with the stakeholders, Dr Kumah said the government was committed to the culture of governance that promoted the principles of transparency and accountability and therefore such engagements enrich the budgeting process.
“Your feedback on government policies and programmes have been invaluable. Your continuous monitoring and reporting on government programmes and projects go a long way to shape the development of our country to the budgeting process in your various capacities. It has been useful in shaping budget credibility,” he said.
Dr Ampontuah-Kumah commended CSOs and stakeholders for their continuous engagement with government on the budget, saying their suggestions and proposals had helped shape the budget over the years.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Dr Patrick Nomo, said stakeholder engagements were a critical imperative of the country’s national development agenda.
He said the annual budget was a major policy tool for determination of national priorities, programmes categorisation, resource allocation and accountability.
“The budget process therefore makes room for engagement of stakeholders across a broad spectrum of Ghanaians. This provides opportunity to obtain perspectives and insights that can only emanate from a collective national representation,” Dr Nomo, said.