A Look into Ghana’s 2020 Budget Numbers

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Earlier in the week, Ghanaian Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on the authority of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, presented Ghana’s 2020 Budget proposal, titled “Consolidating the Gains for Growth, Jobs & Prosperity for all” to the Parliament.

Built into the budget is a wider fiscal deficit of GHc18.8bn ($3.4bn), as total revenue (GHc67.1bn; $12.0bn) is estimated to come in lower than total expenditure (GHc85.9bn; $15.4bn) for 2020. According to the budget numbers, non-debt recurrent expenditures remained dominant; Wages & Salaries (30.9%), Interest payments (25.2%) while capital expenditure remained low at 10.8% of total budget spending. On the revenue side, tax is expected to account for 67.1% of total revenue, followed by revenue from oil (13.3%) and other non-tax revenue excluding oil (12.6%).

Additionally, the government plans to fund the deficits by borrowing from domestic (43.6%) and foreign (56.4%) sources. Notably, the finance minister highlighted the country’s plan to visit the international capital market to raise c. $3.0bn, of which $2.0bn will be used to support the implementation of the 2020 budget and the rest for domestic debt liability management.

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In all, the deficit of GHc18.9bn is 4.7% of GDP and falls within the 5.0% limit set out in 2018’s Fiscal Responsibility Act. However, with the risk of underperforming revenues and election year overspending, this ratio could increase past the legally set cap.

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