The 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy promised to raise GHC 72 billion revenue for the government, begged total expenditure at 114 billion, and increased GDP growth by 5%.
Whether this could be achieved or not, we wait to see on Monday 15th November 2021 when the 2022 budget is read. However, there are three things I would love to see as a citizen.
The first is job accounting. Job creation is the most important function of every government because that provides citizens with sources of livelihood. In other jurisdiction’s governments account for the jobs they create with simple twits.
However, in Ghana’s budget statement and economic policy presentations, governments over the years duel more on the macroeconomic indices such as inflation rate, interest rate, exchange rate, GDP growth rate, etc. without accounting for the number of jobs these indicators stimulated the economy to create both in the private and public sectors.
I therefore want to see the 2022 budget statement accounting for the jobs created with the 114 billion estimated expenditure stimulus in the private sector, and direct jobs created by the government's programs and projects, especially at the departmental and ministry level.
The second is on the environment. I think the GHC 1 Sanitation and Pollution Levy on petroleum products in the 2021 budget was misplaced. It’s fine if the government said that was a carbon tax. Else I would like to see the tax shifted to plastic producers and plastic bag to be used to pay for the environmental cost of plastic waste and the cost incurred to manage it.
Next, our government is in Glasgow chasing after $1 billion for emission reduction, climate mitigation, and adaptation measures. I’d love to see a policy statement indicating Ghana’s path to net-zero, targets, timelines, and specific policy interventions on fossil fuel use, land use, and agriculture, etc. to achieve Ghana’s climate goal.
Thirdly and finally, I would love to see post-budget workshops for local businesses on their stake in the 2022 government expenditures to expand and boost local industries.
Until that is done, the status quo does suggest that the government expenditures and private sector growth are running parallel which doesn’t help in job creation and suggests that the government has more interest in partnering with foreign companies to build the country than the local industry.
Solomon Atta is a Policy Advocate based in Canada.