They also warned that Ghanaians will experience “severe hardship” equivalent to the 1983 experience.
According to the Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, contrary to what the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised in opposition, they have done virtually nothing to keep to their promise of holding the country’s debt stock in check.
Speaking at the Minority’s pre-budget economic assessment forum, Ato Forson indicated that, the country’s debt to GDP ratio has hit over 76 percent.
“When the Energy Bond and the UT/Capital Bank bond is added, the Debt-to-GDP will rise to 76.8 percent from 72.5 [inherited from the previous government]. Ghana is heading towards HIPC. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be surprised if by the end of 2019, we are declared HIPC,” the MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam constituency added.
“How can you create jobs under severe austerity under fiscal consolidation? The budget deficit in IMF article 4 is projected to be 3.8, so ladies and gentlemen, next year, let us be assured that there will be severe austerity equivalent to 1983. How can you create jobs when you have mandated the central bank to pursue tight monetary policy? How can you create jobs when the real sector, the non-oil GDP, is projected to grow in 2018 almost at the same level as 2016?”
“We believe that unfortunately, government economic policy for 2018 will bring about severe hardship and Ghanaians must be well informed,” he added.
Ato Forson further warned government to desist from its intention to tax mobile money transactions as it would hit the country’s many poor folks the hardest.
“Ghanaians expect a reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 25 percent to 20% to be included in the 2018 budget statement. It is our expectation that government will follow through with the firm promise that they made and we hope that we are not going to see another 419 budget,” the Minority spokesperson on Finance added.
Finance Minister to present 2018 budget on Wednesday
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, is expected to present to Parliament the 2018 budget on Wednesday.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had revealed that the 2018 budget statement and fiscal policy will focus largely on job creation and also announce a downward review of electricity tariff.