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Mid-year Budget To Prioritize Support For SMEs, Industries Affected By COVID-19 – Finance Minister

Mid-year Budget To Prioritize Support For SMEs, Industries Affected By COVID-19 – Finance Minister
LISTEN JUL 20, 2020

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta will later this week present the government's mid-year budget review to Parliament.

The budget review will focus on strategies to generate more revenue for the state after the Coronavirus pandemic threw the government's plans out of gear.

Mr. Ofori-Atta says the budget will also consider extending some support to businesses and industries hit by the pandemic.

This week's presentation aims at recovery for the economy, which has been affected by the virus.

“We need to look at the stimulus for the Small Micro and Medium Enterprises. The discussion with the banks was also for them to increase facilities to support the businesses which are much larger and to look at ways of deferring interest payments for at least the next six months.”

The presentation of the mid-year budget review to Parliament is in accordance with Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

The presentation of the statement on the review of government projections for the 2020 financial year will be backed by a request for supplementary estimates.

Government projections for the 2020 financial year have largely been affected by the economic implications of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister will also be expected to provide to Parliament a clear plan on how the government intends to pay back GHS10 billion it borrowed from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the 219 million dollars transferred from the Stabilization Fund to the Contingency fund to help deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calls for support

Meanwhile, various groups have already made cases for specific areas they want the government to prioritize in the budget review.

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and SEND GHANA earlier this month called on the government to scale up agriculture spending and prioritise the sector to save livelihoods, as it prepares its mid-year budget review and supplementary estimates for 2020.

Professor Godfred Bokpin, an Economist, while speaking at a public forum organized by the organizations said, the food index in Ghana has surged since the country reported its first case of Coronavirus disease and the fear of COVID-19 is collapsing economies.

Bokpin argued that scaling up agriculture spending in the mid-year budget, not as a favour but as a necessity will help sustain the economy of Ghana and protect livelihoods.

He urged the government to improve and scale-up efficiency in existing agriculture sector interventions such as subsidy on fertilizers among others.

Last month, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also called on government to increase budgetary allocations for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in its 2020 mid-year budget statement.

This according to them should form part of measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

---citinewsroom

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