A constitutional requirement, as stated under Article 179 (8) of the 1992 Constitution, Standing Order 143 of the Parliament of Ghana, and section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) mandates the Minister of Finance to read out a Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana and Supplementary Estimates for every financial year.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta Atta, is expected to present the mid-year budget review for the 2021 Financial Year to the legislature arm of Government on Thursday, July 29, 2021. This exercise is to promote accountability. As a youth- oriented and research think tank that upholds public policy advocacy, individual liberty and free market systems, the mid-year budget is of interest to the Institute because it falls under the Economic Hive Initiative of Kandifo Institute. The Economic Hive initiative basically focuses on economic conversations and its impact on the people and country as a whole.
On March 20, 2021, Kandifo Institute published a writing captioned ‘2021 Budget Statement: Let us all put our shoulders to the wheel – Kandifo urges Ghanaians’’. In this publication, it was stated that “the 2021 budget statement is about the future of Ghana. It is about how we can get back to the track record we had as the fastest growing economy in the world. Per this budget statement, the nation has been set out on a path to recovery. Let us get on to help than to castigate against it. Let us not throw the usual tantrums to this 2021 budget statement. It is a good budget so let us endeavor to work together to achieve the set targets.”
The theme of the 2021 National Budget ‘Economic Revitalization through completion, consolidation, and continuity’ palpably sought to better and consolidate national gains thus, making it distinct from the usual misconception of noticed years back where governments ditched uncompleted projects after their tenure or term in office because they do not gain credit for the projects.
Every government’s path to development can be measured by 6 key industries. These are the automotive industry, the consumer goods and retail industry, energy, financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications industry. These major determinants of national and global development can be largely classified under agriculture, industry and service sectors. Kandifo Institute believes that the mid- year budget review must be weighed against these sectors to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo government in its second term.
The 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2021 financial year presented to Parliament on Friday, March 12, 2021 by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP for Suame Constituency, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business themed, Economic Revitalisation through Completion, Consolidation & Continuity (‘wɔn ya wɔ hiɛɛ budget’), was drafted out of policy directives from the President’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Programmes (2017-2024), Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation, Revitalisation and Enterprise Support Programme (CARES), Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and its accompanying Regulations, the 2020 Manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), African Union Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030).
For the agriculture sector, Kandifo Institute is anticipating some feedback from the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Rearing for Food and Jobs (PFJ/RFJ) initiatives, government’s focus on commercial farming as well as employment, particularly among the educated youth. Others are the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, the 15 small dams which were stated on Page 82 of the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana, in support of the One Village One Dam (1V1D) initiative.
Government’s procurement of harvesters (5,000 hand-held and 25 combines), the construction of ten 10,000MT capacity silos in 10 rice growing districts and the procurement of moisture meters, weighing scales and tricycles to enhance the quality of rice and support the operation of rice millers.
Some updates on the Ghana Land Information Bank (GhLIB) which is to provide a reliable and easily accessible information platform to improve access to land for commercial farming and government procurement of local produce for schools, hospitals and prisons will also be desired.
Kandifo Institute projects some feedback from the state of the 100-kit commercial greenhouse production unit at Dawhenya and the 3 Greenhouse training centres with commercial components at Dawhenya, Akumadan and Bawjiase where 64 youths were to be trained in greenhouse technology at Akumadan and Bawjiase under the Agribusiness Development Programme.
The Institute believes the Ministry of Finance must provide some updates on the remaining US$400 million out of the US$600 million of the AfDB Loan; the GH¢456.6 million for the continuation of the cocoa roads improvement programme; the allocated GH¢5 million for the Child Education Support Programme and support for tertiary education under the Farmers Support Schemes; the GH¢64 million for the Coffee and Shea Division (CSD) of COCOBOD; Aquaculture Development Programme which is expected to see to the construction of the National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farms at Amrahia to boost fish production by 50,000MT, harness the construction of two hatcheries at Sefwi Wiawso and Dormaa Ahenkro as well as upgrade hatcheries at Ashaiman and Kona- Odumase.
Also, in the agriculture sector, some updates are expected on the fisheries resource management programme, fisheries law enforcement programme as well as aquatic animal health and post- harvest management programme.
Updates on the automotive industry under the strategic anchor projects which fall under the Industrial Transformation Agenda on discussions between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and some global auto companies like KIA, Hyundai, Isuzu and Changhan are expected to be covered by the Minister of Finance.
Under consumer goods and retail industry, the Minister of Finance should provide Ghanaians with updates on Sanitation and Pollution levy which included the task to improve urban air quality and combat air pollution, support the re-engineering of landfill sites at Kpone and Oti, revamp/reconstruct poorly managed landfill facilities, construction of more sustainable state-of-the-art treatment plants for both solid and liquid waste in selected locations across the country, construction of waste recycling and compost plants across the country, construction of more sanitation facilities to accelerate the elimination of open defecation, construction of final treatment and disposal sites for solid and liquid waste and others.
As this year was declared the Second Year of Roads by the President, some updates on reconstruction and upgrading of specific roads like the Accra-Tema Motorway as well as the dualisation of the Accra- Kumasi and Accra-Cape Coast-Takoradi roads will be expected to be touched on in the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana and Supplementary Estimates for 2021. Updates on the progress on the establishment of the Domestic Credit Rating Agency (DCRA)in Ghana.
Some feedback will as well be desired on some other projects like National Equipment Leasing Policy, Zongo Development Fund Programme and the Special Development Initiatives which is broken down under 3 development authorities which are the Coastal Development Authority, Middle Belt Development Authority and Northern Development Authority.
Updates on other government projects like the Industrial Development Programmes which tackles the One District One Factory Initiative, the Strategic Anchor Industries Initiative, the Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones Initiative, the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Programme, the Export Development and Diversification Programme and the Business Regulatory Reform Programme are also expected from the Minister.
Under energy, some updates on the relocation of the Ameri Plant to Kumasi to help stabilise the national grid, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) renegotiations especially with regards to the CENIT Energy Limited and AKSA Energy Company (Gh) Limited, Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam Project, replacement of T3 Gas Turbines, the Rural Electrification Programme and some energy efficiency and demand-side management as well as the renewable and alternative energy development programme. Also, the Ministry of Finance is expected to give some updates on the Petroleum Sector Development and Management Programme, Petroleum Hub Implementation Programme and others.
Accessing government inputs on healthcare since Friday, March 12, 2021, COVID-19 is still on the rise. Data from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) shows that the total vaccine doses administered stands at 1,271,393 as of July 14, 2021, with 865,422 people who have taken their first dose and 405,971 people with their first and second doses.
The 2021 Budget and Economic Policy made mention of the COVID-19 Health Levy. The Mid- Year Budget Review is expected to update Ghanaians on the procurement, distribution and administration of vaccines; the establishment of 14 medical waste treatment facilities across the country for safe disposal of medical waste in collaboration with the private sector; 33 major health projects which was approved for implementation at a cost of €890 million; and the Agenda 111 which looks at the construction of 100-bed District Hospitals in 101 Districts with no hospitals, 7 Regional Hospitals for the new regions, including one for the Western Region, the construction of 2 new psychiatric hospitals for the Middle and Northern Belts, respectively, and the rehabilitation of Effia Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region.
Also, the budget review is expected to provide the citizenry with an update on the Pension Industry Development.
Kandifo Institute believes this mid-year budget review will cover some Trade Development Programmes such as a developed National Plan of Action for Boosting Intra African Trade and an organized series of Stakeholder engagements and consultations to create awareness among the Ghanaian population and build their capacity to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
Further information on the state of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) which is the regional mechanism for ensuring movement of goods in the ECOWAS region is free from duties, quotas, and other charges, and with equivalent effect on Community originating imports. Some information on the Eurobond Insurance, Business Regulatory Reforms Programme, Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) and National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) will also be expected of the Minister.
These areas are key developmental areas which Kandifo Institute believes the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori- Atta will on Thursday, July 29, 2021, include in his mid-year review of the budget statement and economic policy of the government of Ghana and supplementary estimates for 2021 financial year which will be presented to Parliament.
>>>The writer is Executive Director, Kandifo Institute. He can be reached on [email protected]