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Gov't likely to overspend 2016 Budget - NPP

The government is likely to succumb to election pressures and spend beyond the targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the 2016 financial year, the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Caucus in Parliament has predicted.

The Fund in September, 2015, advised the government to as a matter of urgency put a figure to the 2016 general elections to avoid the risk of fiscal overruns.

“To avoid the rist of fiscal overruns in connection with next year’s election, it is imperative to identify the full cost related to the elections as early as possible and provision for it in the 2016 budget, while ensuring that the fiscal targets will be achieved,” Deputy Managing Director of the Fund, Min Zhu said after the Executive Board completed review of Ghana’s performance under the three year Extended Credit Facility (ECF).

Ghana has over the years suffered budget overruns, especially, in election years. However with an IMF program covering 2016, a high level fiscal discipline is required to ensure that the country remains on track towards economic recovery.

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, delivering the 2016 Budget assured Parliament that the country will do its best to resist the temptation of election year overspending in order to safeguard the gains made by the economy.

“The President has assured of sustaining fiscal discipline despite 2016 being an election year. Whilst investing prudently in infrastructure development, we will resist the temptation of election year overspending,” he told a half-full Parliament.

But the Minority believes government will certainly not abide by the targets set by the IMF in its budget, describing the comments of the Finance Minister as a mere promise.

“Those targets will be breached for sure as the government will inevitably succumb to election pressures. It is not a credible budget,” the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told journalists at a press conference moments after the presentation of the 2016 budget on the floor of the House.
 

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