Parliament will take the request from the government for a supplementary budget through three days of scrutiny before approval, according to the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta presented a supplementary budget to Parliament yesterday, Thursday, announcing new measures to strengthen sectors of the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Majority Leader provided details of the plan for deliberations regarding the supplementary budget.
“Mr. Speaker, motions and their resolutions will be concluded within the week. The date to approve the mid-year budget statement and financial policy of Ghana and the supplementary budget for the 2020 financial year. This is expected to commence on Monday on the 27th of July and conclude on the 28th of July, 2020. Mr. Speaker, as I indicated yesterday, if there is not enough time, the Majority and Minority Leader will wind up [on Wednesday]. But if there is adequate space, we could do so on Tuesday,” the Majority Leader indicated.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Thursday, July 23, 2020, tabled before Parliament a request from the government for a supplementary budget of GHS11. 8 billion to support the government's expenditure for the rest of the year 2020.
Government projections for the 2020 financial year have largely been affected by the economic implications of the Coronavirus pandemic, but it hopes to restrategize to generate more revenue to revamp the economy.
Earlier this year, the Finance Minister announced that the government will require some GHS9.5 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation which may move the 2020 budget deficit to over seven percent.
He also stated that this will be 2.5 percent of Ghana's revised GDP, and there will be a “fiscal gap of GHS11.4 billion.”
But at the mid-year budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the supplementary budget is to assist government to implement various initiatives to strengthen various sectors of the economy due to the revenue shortfalls and budget deficit created by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Mr. Speaker, this Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review and its programmes draw us closer to our collective aspirations. Whilst this pandemic requires us to exceed the limits imposed by the FRA, Act, 982, we have had to make these major expenditures to protect lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses. We, therefore, request a supplementary budget of GH¢11,896,477,566.00 to enable us to continue this extraordinary task”, he requested.
According to the Minister, the country has been hit with a double shock: a health pandemic and a global economic recession.
The situation he says has resulted in revenue shortfall of GH¢13.6 billion and unanticipated but necessary expenditures of approximately GH¢11.7 billion.
This, therefore, leaves the country with a projected fiscal deficit of 11.4% of GDP, a figure which is above the 5% limit as stated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982).
The Minister also explained that “the overall fiscal deficit will increase from the programmed GHȼ18.9 billion to GHȼ30.2 billion, which will be 7.8 percent of revised GDP.”