Govt request additional GHC11.9 billion to fund key initiatives for the year

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The government has requested parliament to approve an additional GH¢11.9 billion to enable the funding of key initiatives and other expenditure for the rest of the year.

The GH¢11.9 billion when approved brings to GH¢109.9 billion funds needed by government to implement the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

Already, Parliament had approved approximately 98 billion to fund government’s project for the 2020 fiscal year.

Presenting the Mid-Year Review of the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to revenue shortfalls, which had created the need for additional funding for government to implement its programmes and policies.

“This Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review and its programmes draw us closer to our collective aspirations. While this pandemic requires us to exceed the limits imposed by the FRA, Act, 982, we have had to make these major expenditures to protect lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians and sustain businesses,” Mr Ofori-Atta said. 

“We therefore request a supplementary Budget of GH¢11,896,477,566.00 to enable us continue this extraordinary task”, the finance minister explained to the lawmakers.

The minister explained that the additional funding would enable the government to continue to fund the Free Senior High School programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, One District One Factory, Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme and Nation Builders’ Corps, among other social interventions of the government.

The other programmes are the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty, the National Health Insurance Scheme and the Teacher Trainee Allowance.

 Mr Ofori-Atta said the aforementioned programmes had brought economic and social relief and impacted positively on the lives of all the citizens.

“Mr Speaker, Free SHS has saved parents and guardians a cumulative total amount of GH¢3.2 billion since in 2017 and that is money in their pockets and investment in their future,” Mr Ofori-Atta stated.

He stressed that the FSHS programme “has sustained the schooling of 1,199,750 students.

He said the Kufuor Government, in 2005/2006 academic year, rolled out the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to provide, at least, one meal to school children in deprived communities.

 “Between 2016 and now, the feeding programme has been extended to reach 2,980,000 pupils in deprived communities, representing an increase of 78.3 per cent in beneficiaries. In providing equal opportunity for foundational education, through school feeding, we have invested GH¢1,310.92 million since 2017 as compared to the GH¢925.56 million in the three years prior to 2017,” the minister said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the LEAP had been expanded to reach 334,084 households by June, 2020; representing an increase of 56.8 per cent in beneficiaries since 2016, adding that  government through LEAP, had successfully enrolled 73 per cent of its beneficiaries onto the NHIS for free.

“We have invested GH¢464.38 million since 2017 to increase access to services and opportunities among the extremely poor and vulnerable,” the Finance Minister said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said GH¢994.23 million was projected to be  paid to 50,825 and 48,000 nurses and teacher trainees respectively between 2017 and December, 2020, adding that an additional GH¢57 million had been released for 48,200 nursing trainees at the end of June 2020. 

The Finance Minister said 97,373 graduates had been employed under the NaBCo programme since May, 2018, saying “We have subsequently retained them by spending over GH¢1. 6 billion and that is money in their respective pockets, but more importantly the build-up of dignity and training for future jobs.”

Mr Ofori-Atta explained that government was making huge investment in agriculture and health and education in a bid to boost the economy.

He paid glowing tribute to the citizens for their resilience and support to the government in this difficult period of COVID-19.

Source: ghanaiantimes