Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has presented the much-anticipated 2022 budget, describing it as “crucial for our sustained recovery and transformation to a Ghana Beyond Aid”.
Presenting the budget, themed ‘Building a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Nation: Fiscal Consolidation and Job Creation’, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 in Parliament, the finance minister said he expects the budget to transform the country’s economic fortunes because there was an extensive engagement as well as building partnerships of trust for the implementation of policies presented in the budget.
“This budget has outlined the president and his government’s plans to continue tackling the devastating impact of the pandemic on our economy, and the fiscal impact on our debt sustainability efforts,” he stated.
“We have committed to: bold and credible revenue and expenditure measures to achieve a new and more sustainable macro-fiscal balance; a path of fiscal consolidation to ensure access to International Capital Markets; and empowering the private sector to expand and create jobs.
“The others are an unprecedented, historic and comprehensive GH¢10billion initiative to improve access to finance, skills and promote entrepreneurship among our youth; continued implementation of our flagship programmes to improve the living standards of our people; strategic investments through the ‘Obaatan Pa’ programme to revitalise and transform the structure of our economy; and initiatives to advance digitalisation to boost efficiency in our transactions,” the finance minister added.
Keeping the promises made
Having steered the nation through the most difficult and uncertain period in its history, Mr. Ofori-Atta said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s commitment to improving the living standards of Ghanaian and creating a self-confident country that is in charge of its destiny remains his number-one priority.
“We promised to reduce the suffering of Ghanaians when we came into office, and we did just that. Specifically, the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo reduced electricity tariffs cumulatively by 10.9% compared to a cumulative increase of 264% under the NDC; provided free water for households for April, May June of 2020; and doubled the Capitation Grant (from GH¢4.5 to GH¢10).
“The others are establishing the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) of 100,000 graduates to build the job skills of our graduates to be absorbed into the workforce; created jobs and stopped the freeze on recruitment in the public sector; recruited over 295,000 people; abolished fees for postgraduate medical training in Ghana; and increased the share of DACF to persons with disabilities by 50%.
“Also, we exempted Kayayei from market tolls; ensured the implementation of our pledge to employ 50% of the persons who manage the country’s toll booths from among Persons with Disabilities; expanded the LEAP by 150,000 beneficiaries; expanded School Feeding from 1.6 million children to 2.1 million children, also increasing the amount spent on each child by 25 percent; and restored Teacher Training Allowances,” he stated.
According to him, while the NPP administration has not entirely eliminated suffering, it has done more in terms of social interventions than any other government since 1992.
“We will therefore continue work toward mitigating the burdens imposed by the global impact of COVID-19 on Ghanaians, as we also commit to tackle the social ills of expenditure control, corruption, recurring leakages and low productivity. We will work with labour and employers to institute a National Labour Conference to promote productivity in all its forms,” he stated.
Building stronger, more stable economy in 3 years
Continuing, the finance minister expressed hope that government will in the next three years establish a stronger and more stable economy, an entrepreneurial nation that empowers young people to be bold, innovative, proactive and dynamic to contribute in the transformation of our country.
He said in addition to continuing the implementation of government’s flagship programmes, “We will scale up interventions under the GH¢100billion ‘Obaatan pa’ programme, especially in the agriculture and industrial sectors, and the YouStart agenda”. The YouStart Programme is expected to promote skills and entrepreneurship among the Ghanaian youth.