Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta goes to Parliament next week to present the national budget amid all the fanfare and drama.
It may, perhaps, be the finance minister’s last budget reading if the conventions established some time ago are continued.
That is, a new administration will present its own budget when the baton of governance changes after the 2024 General Election.
This is on account of the fact that he is currently, under the 4th Republic, the only finance minister to serve an entire eight years, as we do not foresee any cabinet reshuffling from now till after the 2024 election.
On a personal level, Ghanaians would presume that eight years of being in the political limelight would be fulfilling for any finance minister.
Ken Ofori-Atta indeed is a strong character. He survived the clamour to get him out of office by both the opposition and his party members in Parliament.
And we believe the decision to maintain him at the peak of the country’s economic crises was a good one.
Ghanaians are the beneficiaries of stability at the leadership front in the nation’s treasury, as all macro-economic indicators are trending downward, albeit slowly. Even though we acknowledge that there is actually very little room for the Finance Minister to maneuver on account of our country’s program with the IMF, there is some hope. Under the IMF program, we take note that all government’s social intervention projects have been maintained, including the School Feeding Programme, Free SHS, NHIS, Planting for Food and Jobs, LEAP, Obaatanpa Cares Programme, etc.
On the other hand there is also the added effect of job freeze in the public sector, government expenditure rationalisation and overall government spending cuts.
Recent World Report has that projects that a lot more Ghanaians have moved below the poverty line on the basis of higher inflation and the higher cost of living generally in the country as a result of the global supply chain disruptions following the pandemic.
Therefore, being aware of these developments and taking a cue from the responses of about 130 businesses in a survey, we expect the 2024 budget statement to bring some relief, no matter how marginal, to businesses.