In accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and part 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the Minister for Finance introduced the finances assertion on behalf of the President on Wednesday, 15th November 2023. The 2024 finances is essential for the nation because it tries to navigate the need to fulfill societal wants and desires towards a fiscal tightening requirement by the IMF. This is much more difficult given the need for ruling events to spend extra in an election 12 months with or with out an IMF programme as evident in Figure 1.
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The authorities is projecting a finances deficit of 5.9% of GDP for 2024 as towards the budgeted 4.6% for 2023, comprising GHS226.7 billion expenditure and a complete income and grants of GHS176.4 billion. The measurement of the economic system is predicted to achieve GHS1 trillion.
The IMF backed Post COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) finances is anchored on the next aims: Restoring Fiscal and Debt Sustainability, Deep and Wide-Ranging Structural Reforms, Stable Inflation and Exchange Rate, Preserve Financial Stability, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Job Creation and Protecting the Vulnerable and the Poor.
The efficiency of the finances will largely rely on the success or in any other case of the exterior debt restructuring programme (exterior debt was US$ 29.4 billion (57.6% of the whole debt) as of September 2023), the effectiveness of the income mobilisation measures and above all of the self-discipline for presidency to remain throughout the expenditure.
The authorities units a extra formidable goal to mobilise a complete income of GHS 176.4 billion, which is about 22% larger than the 2023 goal. From the 2024 finances, tax income will comprise 81.1% of the whole authorities income. An examination of the tax buoyancy for 2024 yields a price of 1.39. The historic tax buoyancies for 2022 and 2023 have been estimated at 1.44 and 1.29, respectively. Even although the values of the tax buoyancies are largely homogeneous, the marginal rise within the tax buoyancy in 2024 results in a lot of questions concerning the credibility of the finances:
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- What further taxes is the federal government introducing to vary the buoyancy?
- Is the federal government rising the statutory tax charges, and can the focused elevated tax collections be realised?
- How is the federal government broadening the tax base to elicit acceptance?
- What is the federal government doing in a different way to extend tax revenues above the historic norm?
- What would be the influence on tax morale?
On the home facet, these questions are significantly essential provided that the federal government is abolishing a lot of taxes and granting import responsibility exemptions that might have in any other case spurred home tax income mobilisation.
On the exterior facet, the nation’s lack of market entry coupled with its commencement to a middle-income nation standing implies that exterior monetary sources, together with grants, will probably be constrained.
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The expenditure objects have additionally elevated, suggesting that the federal government’s fiscal coverage stance will probably be expansionary. Debt financing will enhance by at the very least 25% in 2024, inhibiting the federal government’s social and capital expenditures. Given the present constrained fiscal area, financing the first expenditure along with curiosity funds will probably be a problem. It is, subsequently, essential for the federal government to re-anchor fiscal coverage by a reputable medium-term technique.
Overall impression of the finances:
To the extent that the nation is beneath the IMF programme, which requires the adoption of a much less expansionary fiscal stance, proof from the expenditure patterns and the tax buoyancy means that the finances is much less credible. The knock-on results of those above-the-line finances objects will end in the next finances deficit, outstripping the deficit reported within the finances.
Other key observations are as follows:
- Although inflation has dropped to round 35.4% in October 2023 from 54.1% in December 2022, the decline is essentially pushed by non-food inflation which fell by 22.2% level in comparison with 14.9% level for meals inflation.
- The fee of the cedis’ depreciation has slowed. The cedi has solely depreciated by 6.4 % on a cumulative foundation since February 2023 in comparison with 53.9 % over the identical interval in 2022.
- Total public debt has declined from 73.1% of GDP on the finish of 2022 to 66.4% as of September 2023. It is refreshing to notice that the federal government won’t undertake any new non-concessional borrowing in 2024.
- The development in actual GDP of three.2% within the first half of 2023 was pushed by development within the Services and Agriculture sectors. However, it’s worrying to notice that the manufacturing sector skilled declines in all its sub-sectors, however the one-district-one manufacturing unit coverage.
- The good points in inflation and trade fee haven’t translated into rate of interest decline as the typical lending charges of banks elevated to 32.48% in September 2023 from 29.81% recorded within the corresponding interval of 2022.
- Consequently, there was a dramatic decline in credit score to the personal sector in actual phrases by 25.5% as of September 2023 in contrast with a 3.0% development in the identical interval final 12 months. This depicts a tightening financing setting for companies within the nation which is translating into lacklustre financial development in 2023.
- Although there was a rise in whole belongings of the banking trade to GH¢250.7 billion as of the top of September 2023, representing a year-on-year development of 14.9%. There are nonetheless some teething issues with the banking trade as asset high quality weakened on account of a rise within the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) to 18.0% in September 2023, as towards 14.1% in September 2022.
- There has been a rise in home investor participation within the fairness market because the GSE-CI moved from 35.9% recorded in 2022 to 46.4%, backed by a rise in Pension Funds allocation to equities.
- The authorities has met main necessities to entry the second trench of the IMF $3 billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF). This might present some assist within the finances financing.
- The Treasury market will probably be energetic and useful in 2024 because it represents the first home financing technique of the federal government, whereas funds from the IMF-ECF and World Bank Development Policy Objective will assist the exterior financing for the finances in 2024. Given the home debt structuring programme, the federal government ought to be cognisant of a attainable low rollover threat within the home markets.
- Government intends to undertake exterior debt restructuring to enhance the DDEP as a part of efforts to realize sustainable debt stage.
- Tax incentives resembling import responsibility waiver on importing uncooked supplies for native manufacturing of sanitary pads and the VAT zero-rating on made-in-Ghana sanitary pads might considerably influence the home sanitary pads manufacturing trade. The authorities should make sure that these tax incentives are mirrored within the closing costs shoppers pay for sanitary pads as pledged within the 2024 finances.
- Other tax incentives, resembling import responsibility exemptions for buyers to assemble electrical autos in Ghana and for business electrical buses for public transportation, although nicely supposed, might have a minuscule influence on the auto trade and the Ghanaian economic system. This is as a result of challenges to electrical automobile use, such because the excessive price of enabling infrastructure and insufficient charging stations, haven’t been addressed.
- GRA is to collaborate with the District Assemblies to utilise the property fee database and Digital Address System to establish homes and their utilization for functions of property fee evaluation. This creates a great alternative for income mobilisation on the native stage.
- Government ought to guarantee fiscal self-discipline and wade off the stress to unbridled spending throughout election years. This might assist in reaching the finances goal of restoring fiscal and debt sustainability. In addition to re-anchoring fiscal coverage by a reputable medium-term technique, the federal government should undertake a complete fiscal adjustment. It can be essential for the federal government to mobilise home income by curbing corruption in income collections and digitalising fee factors.
- Government ought to undertake proactive fiscal guidelines whereas strengthening finances establishments to enhance the implementation of the fiscal plan. In addition, the federal government should undertake a robust and clear communications technique that promotes the long-term advantages of reforms.
- To remodel the economic system’s construction, there’s a want to concentrate to the manufacturing sector to maximise the back and forth linkages related to the sector’s development. The AfCFTA gives a wonderful alternative for the federal government to give attention to the small-scale manufacturing trade, given the character of the economic system. As specified within the finances, this might be a sport changer in reaching entrepreneurship development and job creation.
- Agricultural financing must be given a prime precedence because the sector has the potential to scale back the nation’s import invoice and assist obtain a secure trade fee, which is likely one of the finances’s aims. It has been estimated that the nation spends about US$2.0 billion to import poultry, rice, sugar, greens, and different meals merchandise yearly.
- The implementation of the second section of planting for meals and jobs gives a possibility to handle essential challenges dealing with the sector. The programme can probably drive down meals inflation, which is a serious contributor to total inflation, and consequently carry inflation again in direction of the goal. This potential could be actualised if classes are drawn from the challenges confronted by the primary section of the planting for meals and jobs within the implementation course of.
- Government’s exercise on the home market might have a crowding impact on the personal sector. Given that it’s the main possibility open to the federal government, it must be executed with some moderation to minimise its impact on the rate of interest and personal borrowing.
- The measures to accentuate property fee assortment are laudable. However, there’s a want for a correct evaluation of the implementation technique and its attainable impact on personal rents, provided that landlords will doubtless cross on the fee to tenants.
- Government should work to make sure that the tax incentives prolonged to native sanitary pad manufacturing are mirrored within the closing costs shoppers pay for sanitary pads.
- Government ought to work to handle challenges to electrical automobile use, such because the excessive price of enabling infrastructure and insufficient charging stations to encourage the usage of electrical autos in Ghana.
- In order to efficiently restructure exterior debt throughout the Common Framework, the federal government should implement prudent debt administration methods, together with limiting creditor recoveries, introducing most favoured creditor clauses, immunising the sovereign belongings from seizure and transferring in direction of an mixture collective motion into present money owed and debt-like devices.
Ministry of Finance (2023). The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2023 Financial Year, Ministry of Finance.
Ministry of Finance (2024). The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2024 Financial Year, Ministry of Finance.
Prof. Issahaku Haruna
Dr. Yazidu Ustarz
Dr. Ibrahim Muazu
Dr. Ibrahim Nandom Yakubu
The authors are with the University For Development Studies,UDS School Of Business ,Department of Finance