General News of Thursday, 5 December 2019
Parliament has changed its plans for sitting today, Thursday to allow members ample time to consider the 2020 budget estimates.
More than a week after the budget statement was approved by the House, not a single estimate has been considered due to the late delivery of the sectorial estimates to the House by the Ministry of Finance.
The House will convene at 12 noon to begin business instead of the usual 10 am.
MPs will be expected to sit deep into the night to pass the estimates.
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye has given an order for the Finance Ministry to quickly make available various budget estimates to the House for scrutiny.
The debate on the budget statement was concluded last week with MPs complaining about the non-availability of the estimates for Ministries, Departments and Agencies to be considered before the passage of the appropriations bill.
Prof. Oquaye described the concern raised as “a genuine one” and stressed that “budget estimates must quickly follow the debate so that we can efficaciously do our jobs.”
He also indicated among others that the government will increase the tax-to-GDP ratio from 13 percent to 20 percent in 2020.
Content of budget
The Finance Minister in delivering the 2020 budget statement stressed a focus on fixing roads across the country in 2020 and beyond.
This was after the government’s revenue target for July 2019 fell short by GHS 5 billion.
Although the government has missed its revenue targets over the years, it is still hopeful that it can generate GHS 67.1 billion in revenue in 2020.
The Finance Minister described this target as part of “radical policy and institutional reforms” towards raising the tax-to-GDP ratio over the medium term.
The government said there would be a focus on efficiency and base-broadening rather than imposing new taxes on people and businesses.
This is with a view to raising the domestic revenue towards achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid vision, the government explained.