Minister for Finance Ken Ofori Atta has declared Ghanaians would return the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to power to do even more for the country.
He expressed confidence that by God’s guidance and support, the President’s leadership and the government’s performance, the administration would be retained to continue its economic revitalisation and transformation programme.
“To improve the quality of life for the Ghanaian people who, at the end of every decision and programmes, are the ones who matter and who should reap the dividends from the transparent and democratic governance that the NPP is offering,” he stated.
The Finance Minister gave this assurance in Parliament on Wednesday when he moved a motion for the House to approve an amount of GH¢27.434 billion for government’s expenditure for the first quarter of 2021 in advance of appropriation.
The government, he said, will continue to implement measures that will result in significant improvements in business regulations, their implementation and digitisation to improve quality and transparency of public service delivery.
Leadership in times of crisis
He stated that leadership is best tested in times of crisis whether it has to do with Dumsor, home-grown economic mismanagement or imported crisis of a global pandemic like the coronavirus.
“It is when crises hit that the people see and feel who a real leader is and who is not.”
“The whole world and more importantly, the vast majority of Ghanaians know that the President and his team have managed the COVID 19 crisis far better than most countries in the world. Indeed, our efforts have been adjudged as among the best three in the world,” he said.
According to him, government projects the 2021 expenditure in advance of appropriation of a first-quarter total revenue and grants at GH¢13.3 billion.
Total expenditure, he said, including the clearance of arrears is projected at GH¢24.0 billion resulting in a projected fiscal deficit of GH¢10.7 billion for the period.
He explained that to support the 2021 budget and liability management, the government plans to source funding from the international capital market.
“This will comprise the issuance of sovereign bonds of US$3 billion with the option to increase it to US$5 billion should market conditions prove favourable.”
“Out of the amount to be raised, US$1.5 billion will be used to support the 2021 budget and US$3.5 billion for liability management,” he added.
The Finance Minister disclosed that in 2021, government will provide significant investment in infrastructure, especially affordable housing.
These interventions, he said, will create more jobs and enhance artisanal skills and indicated the government will replicate the National Mortgage and Housing Fund Scheme housing model across the country and alongside the agenda 111 district hospitals programme.
He stressed that for fair-minded observers, the economic indicators are clear evidence of the sharp and stark difference between a competent Akufo-Addo-led Government and others.
The gains the government has achieved over the past three and a half years, he said, have not been at the expense of promises to improve the welfare of Ghanaians.
He averred that the issue of welfare is very dear to President Akufo-Addo and the government for which reason an amount in excess of GH¢15.7 billion has been spent on key flagship programmes.
He noted that these flagship programmes have created the platform for real economic transformation; strengthen human capital through enhancing access to health care, education and skills development, modernizing agriculture and industry, and delivering infrastructure across the country – including a revitalised railway sub-sector – and creating jobs.
He stressed that the government has remained faithful with all its budgets since it assumed power namely; Asempa in 2017, Edwuma in 2018, Mpuntuo in 2019 and the prescient Nkosuo and Nkabom budget of COVID-19 2020