“He noted, however, that “the truth of the matter is that we are not in normal times and I appeal to all Ghanaians, including organised labour, to assist the government in this endeavour to have rebuild our public finances and economy”.
The President explained: “We need to mobilise additional resources to cater for the new challenges confronting us while meeting other statutory requirements”.
“I, therefore, urge all Ghanaian workers, to bear with the government in these unusual and rather challenging times. I’m confident that sooner, rather than later, and together we can create the happy, progressive and prosperous nation we all desire”, he said.
According to him, “COVID-19 resulted in a drastic slowdown in economic activity and a huge drop in domestic revenue combined with the sharp and [unparalleled] hike in COVID-19-related expenditure”.
“In sum, this unprecedented crisis, led to a sudden shortfall in government revenues amounting to some GHS13.6 billion and an unexpected and unavoidable rise in expenditure of some GHS11.7 billion”, he noted.
Last week, the Technical Adviser at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Samuel Nii Noi Ashong, said the government cannot offer huge salary increases to public sector workers for the next few years.
During a discussion on the 2021 budget organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Dr Ashong said: “If you look at the budget, COVID-19 is not expected to abate until the end of 2023 and we’re all looking to be tightening our belts for a while and people should not be expecting huge wage increases in the course of the next few years. This is because we don’t have money to pay for it”.
“You’ll realise that between wages and compensations for employees and unencumbered domestic revenues, if you net off all the mandated transfers which are required by law, talk of GETFund transfers, National Health Insurance, District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the rest which is left is not enough to pay for wages and salaries, goods and service, social intervention programmes, that portion alone is not enough to pay for even wages and salaries,” he said.
He said if the government were to cater to all those demands, it “will be left with 40% in the hole and government would have to go and borrow to pay for that extra 40% plus goods and services and other commitments.”
The government of Ghana’s total expenditure (including clearance of arrears) is projected at GHS113,750 million, equivalent to 26.2 per cent of GDP for 2021, caretaker Finance Minister Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told Parliament on Friday, 12 March 2021 when he delivered this year’s budget.
The amount “represents a growth of 13.7 per cent above the outturn of GHS100,052 million recorded in 2020”.