‘Disturbing’ mid-year budget geared towards elections – Jinapor

The Member of Parliament for Yapei Kusawgu, John Jinapor, has slammed the government after its mid-year budget review, which he described has dishonest and “exceedingly disturbing.”

In his assessment, he said the Finance Minister shied away from giving the true state of the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Finance Minister revealed that the pandemic had left the country with a revenue shortfall of GHS13.6 billion and unplanned expenditures of GHS11.7 billion.

This is set to result in a projected fiscal deficit of 11.4 pecent of GDP crossing the 5 percent limit of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Ghana’s debt stock has also risen to GHS255.7 billion, as of June 2020.

Despite these figures being outlined, Mr. Jinapor said there was an absence of transparency.

“The Minister ought to give us a true reflection of the state of the economy. If you were running low deficit figures, you wouldn’t have such a huge debt overhang,” he said in a Citi News interview.

Mr. Jinapor also said the government’s commitment to certain projects was because of the upcoming election.

“If today your revenues drop, what you do is that you prioritise. The Minister is asking for another GHS11 billion. You have a shortfall of GHS13 billion and he is asking for another GHS11 billion. Clearly the Minister’s mind and the whole budget is geared towards elections,” Jinapor argued.

He thus urged Ghanaians to “prepare for very difficult times ahead.”

“This Minster is crashing us into a ditch. We are going to have a major challenge and from next year, all of us are going to bear the brunt of these populist and unwise decisions we are witnessing today.”

Though Mr. Jinapor did not name any policies, the government is set to move ahead with the construction of 88 new district hospitals.

It has also extended the utility interventions by keeping water free for three more months. Lifeline consumers will also not pay for electricity for the rest of 2020.

Because of the pandemic, there was free water and a 50 percent reduction in electricity charges for three months, ending June.

 

by Delali Adogla-Bessa

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