Budget requires fiscal discipline – Benteh

Mr Francis Kofi Benteh, Vice President of Global Investment Bankers Limited, has observed that the mid-year budget review presented to parliament on Wednesday appeared realistic and reflected the true challenges facing the economy.

However, he said the implementation required fiscal discipline and political will mustered by government to reverse the economic downturn triggered by some domestic conditions.

Ghana continue to battle with continuing shortfalls in tax and non-tax revenues, falling commodity prices, depreciation of the cedi against foreign currencies slowing down economic activities.

Given the challenges, Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance told legislators the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including oil growth has been revised from 8.0 per cent to 7.1 per cent while non-oil real GDP growth is brought down from 7.4 per cent to 6.6 per cent.

The minister also raised end of year inflation target of 9.5 percent to 13.0 per cent with the overall budget deficit target soaring to 8.8 per cent of GDP from 8.5 per cent.

Speaking to Ghana News Agency on the review of the macroeconomic targets to match global trends, Mr Benteh, said the ministry of finance was the right government machinery to address the structural difficulties facing the nation.

Mr Benteh said the minister seemed to have “seen the clear direction of our economic problems” but could not proffer specific solutions.

He said the economy now is “inflation imported,” adding “we are depending too much on imports, almost everything is imported and the government ought to gather courage and come out with clear specific long term policy measures to confront it headlong.”

He said financial discipline by government is key in the implementation of the budget to restore confidence in businesses and revive business activities.

Mr Terkper presented the supplementary estimate to parliamentary seeking approval to commit additional GH¢3.2 billion to fund additional expenditures resulting from the revisions made to the 2014 budget. GNA

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