2022 budget: ‘We are rationalizing expenditure’ – Kwaku Kwarteng

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Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Kwaku Kwarteng says the 2022 budget seeks to rationalize government expenditure.

Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng said this in reaction to claims by the Minority in Parliament that the 2022 budget will worsen the economic hardship in the country.

Speaking in an interview with Evans Mensah on Top Story, on Wednesday, Kwaku Kwarteng argued that the government through this budget has reduced expenditure for 2022.

“The proposition that government should cut expenditure is what you clearly see in this budget. The total expenditure programme has been underspent under this budget. These are some of the observations we should begin to make that goods and services are lower than programmed.

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I see clearly in this budget an attempt by the government to signal to investors into this economy that going forward we will protect the fiscal. I think there should be an indication to everybody including our colleagues in the Minority to engage with that question… we are seeing expenditure rationalisation in the budget,” he stressed.

He added that “I go back to 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 budget statement and I see the cry by the then administration about monies not being available for discretionary expenditure…We cannot continue to criticize the government for the rising debt levels and at the same time seek to jubilate over what we consider would politically be unattractive for the government because the government is trying to close the gap. I think we cannot have it both ways.”

But ranking member, Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson believes that the government is rather worsening the economic hardships in the country.

He lamented that the removal of benchmark value on selected imported products would disrupt businesses in the country.

“I want Kweku Kwarteng to know that we in the Minority in Parliament are not jubilating. In fact, we are sad, we think the ordinary Ghanaian has been burdened with this budget. We think the introduction of this budget is going to introduce hardship and poverty. In fact, we have said that not only the introduction of the e-tax…the introduction of the benchmark alone is going to make life painful for Ghanaians,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the government has projected the total expenditure (including clearance of Arrears) for 2022 at GH¢137.5 billion, equivalent to 27.4 percent of GDP.

The estimate for 2022 represents a growth of 23.2 percent above the projected outturn of GH¢111.6 billion, equivalent to 25.3 percent of GDP for 2021.

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