Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has requested Parliament’s approval to spend an extra GH¢11.8billion for the 2020 fiscal year.

This is in addition to the GH¢85.9billion approved at the end of 2019 for government’s expenditure for 2020.

The additional expenditure has become necessary as a result of the impact and revenue shortfalls the economy has suffered due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Ofori-Atta told MPs while delivering the mid-year budget statement, Thursday.

The extra cash, therefore, would help government to implement various alleviation initiatives.

The impact means the budget deficit stands at some 11.4% of GDP more than double the 5% spelt out in the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2018.

Mr Ofori-Atta, acknowledging this, told MPs government must nonetheless, make these major expenditures to protect lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses, a task he described as extraordinary.

Governing NPP MPs have backed the Ministers request in media arguments.

However, Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson is not convinced to rally his colleagues to back the Minister’s demand.

The Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP told JoyNews after the budget presentation, that the Finance Minister must first give a breakdown of how he intends to disburse the entire GH¢11.8billion.

He insisted that government’s spending so far does not warrant granting it any extra cash.

Meanwhile, debate on the budget is expected to begin this week.