By Clifford Okyere.
The Finance Minister has presented the Unity-themed Budget Statement for the 2023 Fiscal Year.
It was presented in Parliament in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Ahead of the Budget reading, the Finance Minister hinted at the Ad- hoc Committee meeting that the 2023 Budget would contain strategies that would help restore the economy and promote growth.
At the hearing, he stated that the 2023 Fiscal Budget centres on seven key plans that would lead to economic transformation.
These include aggressively mobilizing domestic revenue, streamlining and rationalize expenditures, boost local productive capacity, promote and diversifying exports, protect the poor and vulnerable, expand digital and climate-responsive physical infrastructure and implement structural and public sector reforms.
Here are highlights from the abridged version of the ‘Nkabom’ Budget read by the Minister.
· Inflation has moved from 7.9% in March 2020 to 40.9% currently.
· Ghana’s stock of debt has increased to 93 billion cedis in 2022 due to Cedi depreciation which has caused the price of fuel to rise and eventually led to hikes in food prices.
· There is an increase in VAT rate from 12.5% to 15% in order to mobilize domestic revenue.
· Reduction of E-levy from 1.5% to 1% and removal of the daily threshold.
· Ensure that Public Sector Institutions relying on imports for inputs or consumption reduce their imports by 50% and work with the Ghana Audit Service and the Internal Audit Agency to ensure compliance.
· Expand the productive capacity in the real sector of the economy and encourage the consumption of local produced goods
· The Public Debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 75.9 per cent at the end of September 2022, up from 76.7 per cent at the end of December 2021.
· Reduce the threshold on earmarked funds from the current 25 percent of Tax Revenue to 17.5 percent of Tax Revenues.
· Continue with 30% cut in the salaries of the President, Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MMDCEs, and political office holders including those in State-Owned Enterprises.
· The implementation of the YouStart programme which began this year has successfully piloted with 70 beneficiaries and an amount of GH¢1.98 million was disbursed to support youth-led (below the age of 40 years) SMEs in poultry, agro-processing, ICT, textiles, and food processing sectors.