Finance Minister presents Mid-year budget review today ….programme expected to focus on revenue mobilisation, IMF programme, measures to prop up economy

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the Mid-year review of the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government to Parliament today as government introduces measures to prop up the economy.

The exercise is in line with the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) which enjoins the Minister of Finance to present the Mid-year budget review before the end of July.

The exercise was originally scheduled for July 13, but had to be rescheduled to enable the Minister of Finance to engage with a team from the International Monetary Fund.

Ghana is currently pursuing an IMF programme to finance its Enhanced Domestic Programme.

Among others, the minister is envisaged to table a request for supplementary estimates for additional funding to finance the 2022 budget and programmes of government as well as measures to prop up the economy.

In addition, Mr Ofori-Atta will provide details of the revenue performance of the half of the year, and government expenditure over the period.

Also, the Minister of Finance will outline measures to enhance domestic revenue mobilisation in view of the economic challenges facing the country and measures to reign in expenditure.

The minister will also provide an update on the implementation of key programmes such as the Free Senior High School Programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, including, strategies by the government to create employment for Ghanaians in general and the youth in particular.

The Electronic Transfer Levy is also expected to feature in the Mid-year review as the minister expatiates on how the levy was faring.

There are concerns that the levy is not yielding the desired revenue as projected by the government.

There are indications that the government is raking in only 10 per cent of the estimated revenue.

The government is said to have been targeting monthly revenue of GH¢600 million from the 1.5 per cent levy on electronic financial transactions.

With bated breath, the public, analyst, academia and the business community will expect an update from the Minister of Finance on the IMF programme, particularly the type of programme the government intends to pursue with the IMF and the signal it will send to the international community while government negotiates the programme.

Experts say government was not likely to get an IMF programme this year and the earliest would be the first quarter of next year.

Already, organised labour has warned that an IMF programme should not affect employment and worsen the plight of workers.

The public would expect information from the Minister of Finance on the recent government data assessment meetings with the IMF.

According to sources, government was requesting about $3 billion from the IMF to shore up its finances.

Thus, it would be disappointing if the Minister of Finance fails to highlight on the IMF programme in the Mid-year budget review.

Moreover, the business community will expect some tax reliefs from the government in view of the high cost of production occasioned by the rising fuel cost.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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