Bringing debts to sustainable level will be uphill task – Terkper

Seth Terkper, former Minister of Finance, has cautioned the government that its efforts in dealing with fiscal deficit and bringing debts to a sustainable level will be an uphill task.

However, he advised that the government must commit, dedicate and determine to drastically cut expenditure to effectively and efficiently deal with the situation.

The government for the year 2023 intends to spend more than GH¢200 billion against a revenue projection of GH¢143 billion leading to a fiscal deficit of 7.7 percent.

According to Mr Terkper, the government was not raising enough revenue and stuck to a tax revenue of 12 percent to 13 per cent as well as revenue setting and at 15.5 per cent was the highest in 2015 and unable to break the sub-Sahara average of 17.5 per cent and the 20 per cent the Minister of Finance envisaged.

“We are not raising enough revenue and stuck to a tax revenue of 12 per cent to 13 percent, as well as the revenue setting, if we are lucky, at 15.5 percent was the highest in actual terms for 2015 and we are not able to break the sub-Sahara average of 17.5 per cent let alone the 20 percent which Mr Ken Ofori-Atta indicated.

“You can see the road we need to travel in tax to Gross Domestic Product at 20 percent, we are talking of five percent increase, even if it is total revenue we are talking about 24 percentage increase, we are not closing the gap but we are making the effort to increase revenue because there will always be a deficit.

“I think there are some positive vibes coming from the budget but I am afraid we have a long way to go in reducing deficit and bringing debts to sustainable levels, so that we can go to the market again because now everything is dependent on domestic market, treasury bills, bonds and Bank of Ghana beginning to take over the mantle of financing deficit,” Mr Terkper postulated.

He stated that the government’s deficit was part of the Appropriation Bill and Bank of Ghana could not allocate to itself the fiscal responsibility of who to pay because when the budget was presented there was projection of how it should be financed.

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