The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, has proposed to present the 2018 budget to Parliament on November 15, subject to approval by the House.
JOYBUSINESS sources say, the budget would focus on Industrialization; Agriculture and consolidation gains made after almost a year in office.
This would this administration’s second budget after the 2017 statement and economic policy, which was christened “sowing the seed for growth and jobs”.
There are strong indications that government may push ahead with some fiscal reforms that could lead to further cuts in tax rates.
Speaking to JOYBUSINESS, Finance Minister, said all those critical social intervention programmes such as, free SHS, nurse training allowance would be maintained.
He added that “on issues of health and education, we are not going to compromise on that, we are going to continue with it, because the human capital is the essential thing”.
Marshall Plan for Agriculture is being described as one of the main focus of the 2018 budget. It is aimed at transforming the Agric sector and would be built on government’s flagship Agric policy “Planting for Food and Jobs”.
Speaking to JOYBUSINESS, the Agric Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says another key feature of the Marshall Plan for Agric would be the removal of duties on agro-processing manufacturing equipment and machinery, as well as the implementation of a grant funding facility for agribusiness start-ups.
Another policy that would be an anchor in the budget is Industrialization of the economy. Sources say this would be guided by government’s “one district one factory” policy
Many would be looking forward to the likely Macro-Economic targets that the finance minister, would announce in the budget, especially when it comes to budget deficit.
Would it be in line with IMF programme target of 3.8 percent? What about revenue? Would the current challenge that it is facing influence its target for 2018? These are some questions some financial analysts will be seeking answers to in the budget.
Government in 2017, planned to spend some ¢54 billion and mobilize ¢45 billion in revenue. However, this is how the picture is looking like as at July this year.
On revenue, government has missed on its target, it was hoping to realize ¢24 billion, but has secured ¢21.2 billion.
However, on the expenditure side, the numbers were within target, it was programmed to spend ¢30 billion, but has actually spent ¢28 billion. The budget deficit was also within target.
Macro- Economic targets for 2017
GDP growth of 6.3 percent
Inflation rate of 11.2 percent
Fiscal deficit of 6.5 percent
Foreign Reserves from 3.5 months to 3.6 months.
Current Account Deficit from 6.6 to 5.9 percent.