Minority leader in Parliament, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, has indicated that this year’s mid-year budget review must restore hope for economic recovery.
“The most important matter of concern to us is the state of our economy and the fact that the government has announced an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and concluded the same.
“It is our prayer that the mid-year review will address the issue of misery in the economy and restore hope; a mid-year review that will put the country back on the path to economic recovery and unite all of us,” Dr. Forson stated in a media encounter between the leadership of parliament and the media.
The former deputy finance minister contends that the review must proffer practical steps to restore stability, particularly regarding the US$ 3 billion IMF deal’s approval and subsequent disbursement of US$ 600 million.
He indicated that this year’s mid-year budget review should tell Ghanaians whether the economy is recovering or will continue to deteriorate.
“We have a budget that is insufficient, yet the government’s lifestyle does not correspond to the financial constraints we face as a country,” Dr Ato Forson explained.
On his part, the majority leader of parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, speaking on the IMF facility, said getting the US$ 3 billion shows the country is on a good trajectory to economic recovery, and its significance is enormous.
“The significance of it is that it confirms by the IMF and World Bank that you are on a good trajectory – and that also serves to unlock other funds from the bilateral engagements you have, and the IMF and World Bank then come in as a guarantor for your sustenance, and that is the import of it.
“That notwithstanding, we should also ensure that what comes into the national kitty is utilized in fulfilment of our promises and pledges so that we can keep ourselves on track,” he added.
The Suame legislator said the government would have to cut down its expenditure as part of the IMF conditionality – in a manner that will not negatively impact employment and infrastructural development.
“I think that at the heart of these discussions with the IMF, two things stand out: cut down expenditure and increase domestic revenue. This will require some careful balance, but we will get there with the mid-year review. And when it comes, I believe parliament will come together and offer useful suggestions as to the better ways for us in this endeavour to provide that dose of resurgence to the economy.”
The finance minister is expected to present to parliament this year’s mid-year budget review before the end of June.