Ahead of the 2016 budget presentation by the Finance Minster, Seth Terkper Friday, the business community, political opponents and Ghanaians have varying expectations.
However, tomorrow’s budget reading is generating massive interest properly because 2016 is an election year and there are talks of government’s propensity to over spend.
At a press conference on Wednesday by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the party expressed the fear of reckless expenditure by government.
Mr, Freddie Blay, acting chairman of the NPP said the budget will be an “election-year budget” which will be full of “reckless spending” and “corruption,” a situation which he said makes the NPP “nervous”.
According to him “the key aim of the IMF bailout is to control public expenditure to avoid the horrendous experience of reckless spending we saw in 2012, which has brought years of untold hardship on the people; caused the cedi to fall heavily, collapsed businesses, created mass unemployment, piled up huge debts, all forcing us to go for the IMF bailout in the first place”.
SME-bank Union Savings and Loans managing director in an interview with JOY Business said: their expectation is how government would be working towards improving the economic fundamentals, which is the continuous depreciation of the cedi and inflation.
“If the Cedi depreciation and inflation continues to trend it will be difficult for SMEs to sustain their operations”, Mr. Philip Oti-Mensah said.
He also called for protection of local industries in the face of competition from their foreign counterparts.
“We are not saying that we should make lives easy for the SMEs, they must compete with world standard institutions; but whenever government can, it should protect these industries”, he explained.
Also Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit told Citi FM that the less tax burden the budget brings, the better.
“We think that if government will not give a tax holiday from the special tax import levy, at least we wouldn’t want to see any additional taxes. We are appealing to government through the Ministry of Finance and the budget committee team that if they are looking for any additional source of revenue we wish to appeal that we do not want to hear any other additional taxes on the importing communities,” Mr. Awingobit said.
The AGI, for example, wants tax rebates. Its Spokesperson Nana Afua Oko told Citi Business News that: “We are aware that in the budget and also in the new VAT Act, a specific VAT refund account has been set up, but the issue lingers for the mining industry as a whole. This obviously has an effect on time value for money, cash flow implication and we are also affected by the general depreciation of the cedi, so we recommend that government should expedite the passage of the revenue administration bill.”