Akufo-Addo presents 2022 State of the Nation Address today

Source The Ghana Report

President Nana Akufo-Addo is expected in Parliament today (30 March 2022) to update Ghanaians on the country’s current state.

It was earlier slated for March 3 but was postponed due to some challenges.

The president will deliver the address a day after the government gets a boost with the passage of the Electronic Levy (E-levy) Bill by Parliament.

The address will serve as a review of the past year and set the tone for the government’s key policy objectives for the 2022 fiscal year.

Among other things, the president is expected to update Ghanaians after declaring 2022 as ‘The Year of Roads’.

The government is also expected to highlight progress on Agenda 111 to build hospitals.

The government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme is threatened by fertilizer shortages with predictions of a dip in yield due to supply challenges attributed to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is happening at a time of economic difficulties, and the president is likely to announce a plan to reverse the downward trend.

What is the current situation in Ghana?

According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), consumer price inflation hit 15.7 per cent year-on-year in February from 13.9 per cent in January this year.

There is pressure on the government due to rising public debt estimated to be GH¢351.8 billion as of the end of 2021, an increase by GH¢60.2 billion from the same period in 2020, according to the Summary of Economic and Financial data released by the Bank of Ghana in March 2022.

Major agencies have downgraded Ghana’s credit ratings, with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) suggesting that there will be no Eurobonds in 2022.

Meanwhile, total revenue mobilised within the period stood at 15.4 per cent of revenue, with tax rating registering a paltry 12.6 per cent of GDP, far below the regional average.

The government is also faced with a free fall of the cedi against other major currencies, and the business sector is expecting measures to address the situation to curtail further increases in the cost of products and services due to huge imports.

According to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, the cedi has seen a 14% depreciation against the US dollar this year, making it one of the worse performing currencies globally.

In March 2021, the Finance Ministry indicated that the government had spent GH¢19 billion on the COVID-19 fight.

It also clarified that GH¢1.7 billion was spent on the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP1) and Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

Even though crude oil supply bottlenecks have caused a surge in prices on the international market, the depreciation of the Ghana cedi and taxes numerous taxes have pushed fuel prices at the pumps upwards.

There are about 12 taxes and levies on fuel which experts, the Ghana Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), have appealed for cancellation.

Transport fares increased by 15%, and barely a month later, fuel prices have shot up as high as GHC11 at some pumps, with fears of rising prices of goods and services as commercial operators clamour for a 20% fare increment.

At the beginning of 2022, petrol and diesel traded at an average GHS6.30 per litre at the pumps.

By  March 2022,  fuel prices crossed the GHS 8 per litre mark but are now being sold as high as GHS 11 at some pumps in the country, causing a surge beyond 18 per cent in the second pricing window of March.

Consequently, the government has announced 15 pesewas per litre reduction, but Ghanaians are expecting more.

The government further announced 12 expenditure cutting measures to address economic hardships.



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