Ghana’s 2022 budget: matters arising

On November 17, 2021, Ghana’s minister of finance, Ken Ofori Atta read his budget for the year 2022 but the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) voted it down late November 26, 2021. The opposition party in parliament would not accept some taxes, including the 1.75 percent tax on electronic money transfers known as Momo among four other issues.

Minister Ofori Atta admits that the 2022 budget is harsh in several ways. Traders are angry with the reinstatement of the previous benchmarks for certain imports slashed by 50 percent to the original 100 percent.

Critics of the government overlook the efforts made (by government) to manage the pandemic. They care less on efforts by government to ensure that none of its employees is laid off during the pandemic. Teachers, civil servants, health care workers, among others, remained on their jobs, while utility services like water and electricity were freely supplied for a considerable length of time.

Further, these same cynical critics stand aloof of government and the budget ignore the incidence of the Covid-19 pandemic that has caused untold hardship on world economy. For instance, the effect of the debilitating pandemic has compromised the trucking business in developed nations, impacting on the supply chain that is the lifeline of basic economies.

Ghana’s 2022 budget is facing a backlash from the main opposition party, circles of academia, and ordinary citizens because government and party did not do the needful and assumed the people would swallow everything hook, line and sinker in principle.

Government failed to sensitize the people on matters arising out of the world’s contemporary economic hardships. To add salt into injury, the post budget utterances by some government and party officials and representatives were insensitive to those that may be mostly affected by newly introduced tax levies.

The issue on hand is political. Already the NDC is characterizing the budget as insensitive. The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) would do Ghanaians and their party a huge favor going to the people to explain its policies and programs, including the budget.

The pandemic has demonstrated lessons in objectivity for a new world economic order of mutual understanding, dependence, and benefits both internationally and nationally. On the international front, it is now crystal clear that trade equity and mutual respect among nations big and small, rich and poor is the way out of the economic quandary the world finds itself, premise upon the notion that each has something the other does not have.

Amandla appeals to the government of Ghana to find a common ground for the budget and reach a compromise. Most economists agree that tax must provide the bulk of a country’s resources for development.

Continuous borrowing only draws back a nation’s pace of development. In Ghana, social intervention programs such as the fee-free senior high school, national health insurance scheme and NABC, among others, have to be paid for from taxes. Borrowing to develop one’s country has built-in limitations. Ghana’s debt stock, like that of several emerging and developing nations call for prudent spending. 

In this era of Covid-19 which is persistently lingering on especially in the developed world, when both north and south are reeling from recession, it becomes prudent for nations to reconsider their positions on global economics, especially borrowing on the global market.

Amandla thinks engaging the masses in constructive dialogue, sanitization through efficient and effective communications on the airwaves and unorthodox means, and discussions with key stakeholders and representatives prior to the budget would bring in sanity, understanding and less resistance than is being experienced. We hope the budget debacle is resolved sooner for the country to move on in earnest.

Posted by on Nov 29 2021. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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