Parliament has approved an amount of GHS 11,896,477,566.00 requested by the Finance Minister Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta as extra expenditure for the rest of the 2020 financial year in spite of the Minority’s opposition to the Mid-Year Budget Statement.
The motion for the Supplementary Estimate was moved by the Minister when he presented the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government on Thursday, 23rd July seconded by the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Hon. Mark Assibey-Yeboah on Monday 27th July.
The majority and Minority MPs subsequently slugged it out in the debate on the Mid-Year Budget Review as to the true state of the country’s economy focusing particularly on education, communication and transportation from Monday, 27th July to Wednesday 29th July 2020.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs in their contributions were of the view that macro and microeconomic indicators such as inflation rate, exchange rate, interest rate and the health of industry had improved while the Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs argued that the economy was in tatters and that Ghanaians were going through hardship.
Hon. (Dr) Mark Assibey-Yeboah presenting the Committee’s Report in Parliament on Friday, 7th August indicated that many significant developments have arisen on the macroeconomic front since the 2020 Budget was approved by the House especially the completely unanticipated Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on almost all sectors of the economy.
He said the sharp decline in world crude oil prices resulting partly from the production misunderstanding between some major international players and later exacerbated by the Covid-19 global epidemic was another significant occurrence leading to revenue shortfall thus necessitating additional and unbudgeted for expenditure to deal with the pandemic and other related matters.
Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah noted that the review has been necessitated by the adjustments to both domestic and external financing as a result of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in a downward revision in the growth of real GDP from 6.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent growth and shortfalls in domestic taxes.
He said as a result of the revisions to the 2020 macro-fiscal outlook, the 2020 Appropriation of GHS 98,036,692,358.00 that was approved by the House in December 2019 would not be adequate to cater for the additional programmed needs which would increase the total Appropriation GHS 109.9 Billion.
The Committee in its observation, therefore, noted that it has become necessary that an amount of GHS 11,896,477,566.00 be approved as supplementary estimates to the original Appropriation of GHS 98,036,692,358.00 to bring the total Appropriation for the 2020 Financial Year to GHS 109.0 Billion, he added.
The Committee accordingly recommended to the House to adopt and approve by Resolution the amount of GHS 11,896,477,566.00 requested by the Finance Minister as Supplementary Estimates for the 2020 Financial Year.The House will therefore effectively amend the 2019 Appropriation Act which gave the Minister of Finance the authority to disburse GHS 98,036,692,358.00 from the Consolidated Fund and other public funds.