Head of Finance at the Valley View University, Dr. Williams Peprah says government is being cautious in its approach of economic recovery, post covid-19 by staying within budget.

That is demonstrated in its 2021 Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

According to him, government showed that by the end of June 2021, the deficit will be ¢22.7 billion and really it has been able to manage the same deficit of ¢22.7 billion.

“I’ll say that the Minister [Ken Ofori-Atta] is trying to be very cautious and staying within his budget. Let me give you a snap shot of his figures; so you will see that the budget presented at the beginning of the year [2021], government showed that by the end of June [2021], the deficit will be ¢22.7 billion. And truly, it has been able to manage the same deficit of ¢22.7 billion”.

“What government did was that when it realized there was a short fall in revenue and grant collections of about four budgets, it did not introduce new expenditure.

On his comments about no supplementary budget which probably introduce some levies, Dr. Preprah said he wasn’t disappointed since taxation has an element of enforcement, “so instead of the government reviewing  the taxes, it realised there was a short fall of about ¢4.4 billion cedis”.

The areas the short fall is coming – petroleum including downstream oil, mining and gold industry, the ports and international transits – these are the areas government thinks we are not doing well and it’s going to plug the loopholes”, he added.

“YouBanc” crafted to restart economy

On the establishment of the “YouBanc” to provide funding for young entrepreneurs, particularly start-ups, Dr. Peprah said this move is strategically crafted to restart the economy after the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

“What I noticed government trying to do with this agenda of getting the youth employed, is a way to kick start the economy all over again. The issue is that the youth in Ghana is very entrepreneurial, but there is no funding for them to play along the side of risk. Every money that go into business, people are making sure they get returns on it so the youth are not getting funds to enter into business”.

“There is no angel investor in Ghana. The venture capital fund as we have in Ghana does not support start-ups. I’m involved on the start-up bill that is expected to come off soon; what is lacking is the funding to start this project”, he stressed.

He however gave a sign of caution, teasing that “there have been an issue of a bank with a C and a bank with K at the end, so we don’t want the Finance Minister to fall on the side of the bank with the C because lots of Ghanaians have fallen victims of the bank with the C.”

Ghana Cares Programme lacking funds

Dr. Preprah also expressed concern about funding for the ambitious ¢100 billion Ghana Cares programme, saying, it is lacking funding.

“Is difficult for me to say it’s [Ghana Cares Programme] a safe bet because I’m just looking at 2014 when the fund [Ghana Infrastructural Investment Fund] was established; because if you look at the Minister’s words he said the Ghana Cares Programme hinges on the Ghana Infrastructural Investment Fund programme and since its inspection we have been able to mobilize $85 million from the French Development Agency before Covid-19.”

“Before Covid-19, the Fund [GIIF] was in discussion with other international bodies who were doing the due diligence to give Ghana ¢170 million; this is the only money we have received.   This fund is a ¢100 billion and if by now we have received less than ¢20 billion Ghana, it becomes a big problem as a country. So I don’t know what government will have to do, how government is going to lure international investors to give GIIF funding in order to set the agenda for the Ghana Cares Programme to take off smoothly”, he said.