Ghana’s Parliament has approved a GHC10.9 billion request by the government to help finance “critical government expenditure” in the first quarter of 2017.
This follows the recommendation for the approval of the budget by the Finance Committee of Parliament.
The request for this amount was in line with Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 23 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
The Committee noted that the government’s request was necessitated by the “tight election calendar” which made it difficult to come out with an Appropriation Act before the end of 2016.
During the debate on the floor of parliament, the MP for the New Juaben South constituency, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah questioned what he described as the huge interest payments in the budget.
GHc1.8 billion has been earmarked for interest payments whilst grants to other government units will cost GHc 2.3 billion.
Also among the notable budgeted allocation is the compensation of employees which will amount to GHc 3.8 billion.
Finance Minister, Seth Terkper who laid the request on the floor of Parliament noted that all the expenditure budgeted for the first quarter is for essential and statutory payments whilst all non-core expenses will be deferred to the second quarter of 2017.
The Finance Ministry plans to raise revenue amounting to GHC8.9 billion for the first quarter of 2017, according to the Committee.
The bulk of this projection, GHC7.2 billion, will be from taxes ranging from income and property tax to international trade taxes whilst non tax revenue is expected to be GHc 1.1 billion.
Non presentation of budget
Contrary to the expectations of many, Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, did not present the details on the floor of the House as the Bill was referred to the Finance Committee for discussion.
But a former Majority Leader in Parliament, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor explained to Citi News, the turn of events was acceptable as the Finance Minister was just giving projections which was not accompanied by policies.