On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is scheduled to present the government’s 2024 Annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament.
This report has been prepared in compliance with Article 179 of the Constitution of 1992 and Section 21 of Act 921, the Public Financial Management Act of 2016.
The Ministry of Finance has provided hints about the budget’s structure ahead of its official presentation.
IMF-backed Post-COVID-19 Programme of Economic Growth (PC-PEG) has been developed, the government said in a statement dated November 14 and seen by ARNews.
The Ministry noted that the budget will highlight, among other things, the state of the economy, efforts to increase the economy’s productive capacity via the new Growth Strategy, fiscal measures, and debt management techniques designed to strengthen the country’s financial position and spur growth.
Ghana is currently under an IMF Extended Credit Facility Programme of $3 billion spanning a three-year period. Macroeconomic stability, a healthy balance of payments, and debt sustainability are only some of the goals of the Fund-backed initiative.
The first release of $600 million has been secured, with a second disbursement from the IMF contingent on the country reaching an arrangement with its external creditors.
In the meantime, many labour groups, economists, and members of the business community have been discussing their hopes and fears in light of the upcoming budget.
They think the government should not add new taxes to the budget, but rather take urgent action to fix the tax code, adopt creative ways to raise money, and develop a plan to make debt manageable.
For instance, one of GUTA’s demands is that the government reform the Value Added Tax (VAT) system so that everyone pays the same rate.
The Association claims that there are gaps in the system, which result in some companies paying 22% VAT, others paying 4%, and yet others being exempt because their annual sales volume exceeds GH200,000.
“The consumer has the discretion of buying what he or she wants,” GUTA President Dr. Joseph Obeng said, “the one paying 22 percent VAT and those paying 4 percent VAT stand at a disadvantage since their goods are likely to be priced high while those not paying any VAT at all sell at affordable prices and are able to make good sale.”
As an extra, the Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) has demanded that the government do away with what they consider to be needless levies.
They are calling for the elimination of the COVID-19 Health Levy and the network service tax at the ports in particular.
David Kojo Amoateng, the group’s president, argued that abolishing these taxes would provide more relief to merchants, citizens, and the business community in light of the country’s current difficulties.
“I don’t see why I have to pay for network service. He argued that the network fee should be eliminated.
The president of the Taxpayers Against Government Waste (TAGG) has urged that the government either eliminate the COVID-19 Levy or rebrand it to focus on other pressing issues, such as healthcare (specifically, the prevention and treatment of kidney disease and cancer).
“We from the trading sector expect that even if the COVID levy will not go, maybe there will even change the name to dialysis, kidney, or cancer,” he stated on the Accra-based Citi TV programme Point of View on November 13, 2023.