The 2023 budget must be one that has good plans which will bring restoration to the economy and hope to Ghanaians, and not one that focuses on the achievements of government within past years, Director at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey, has said.
According to Prof. Quartey, it is believed that a lot has been achieved through government’s efforts; but the current situation calls for structural measures which will send a good signal to the business community and bring relief to Ghanaian citizens.
Speaking on his expectations about the 2023 budget at the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana’s (ICAG) breakfast meeting, he mentioned that expectations for the budget are high. He said revenue mobilisation, current state of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiations, among others, will be some of the key areas he expects the budget to highlight.
“I think we have very high expectations of the budget, especially given where we find ourselves with high food and fuel prices, exchange rate depreciation. The budget should inspire hope; it should be a budget that will not tell us a lot about what has been achieved in the past. Yes, a lot has been achieved in the past – but we would want to know to what extent we will raise the needed revenue,” he said.
IMF and Debt Restructuring
On debt restructuring, Prof. Quartey indicated that it is important to have a debt restructuring process, and the budget must spell out clearly what type of restructuring government will have.
“Any IMF programme will ensure that your debt is sustained, or else they will never lend to the country. Debt restructuring is inevitable; though the president has said there will be ‘no haircut’, it is necessary to have some debt restructuring. So, our expectation will be on what type of restructuring we are going to see: is it on interest loans restructuring or we are going to restructure over a long period, all these findings we have to know in the budget,” he noted.
One other area he mentioned is details of the IMF programme, of which he said: “All of us will be expecting details of the IMF programme, because as far as I am concerned it has seven pillars but details of those seven pillars have not been shared; we want to see whether it is macro stability, revenue enhancement, exchange rate stability – because the programme is medium-term but the budget will spell out what government will implement each year. We want to see the details”.
On the issue of whether to introduce new taxes or not, Prof. Quartey said he does not expect government to introduce new or higher taxes, but rather introduce measures to make the existing tax handlers more efficient.
He said calls on government to reduce how much it spends on its appointees and also reducing the size of government are very important, therefore it is expected some form of action will be taken about that.