Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has described the 2018 budget statement presented to parliament Wednesday by his successor Ken Ofori-Atta as challenged.
As a result, he told Francis Abban, the host of Morning Starr Thursday he feared for the country’s fiscal sustainability.
Reading the 2018 budget and policy statement which the government themed: ‘Putting Ghana Back to Work,’ Mr. Ofori-Atta rejoiced that the Akufo-Addo led government has turned around the ailing economy in the last 10 months.
Submitting that the policies implemented by the government are yielding results, he told the Legislative House that: “We resolved to be fiscally disciplined and respect the limits that parliament set for us [and] I am glad to report that we are on course to end the year with the fiscal deficit of 6.3percent from 9.4percent.”
He continued that overall real GDP grew by 7.8 percent as of June against 2.7 percent in same period 2016 and that it is estimated to grow by 7.9 percent at end of 2017, up from the original forecast of 6.3 percent.
Also non-Oil real GDP, he indicated grew at an estimated 4.0 percent as of June 2017 compared to 5.9 percent in the same period in 2016 thus it is estimated to grow at 4.8 percent at the end of 2017;
Again, he noted that end-period inflation was 11.6 percent in October, 2017 compared to 15.8 percent at the same period in 2016 with the overall budget deficit on cash basis being 4.5 percent of GDP in September, 2017 against a target of 4.8 percent of GDP and an outturn of 6.4 percent in the same period in 2016.
The primary balance, he further noted posted a surplus of 0.3 percent of GDP in September, 2017, as targeted and is a significant improvement over a deficit of 1.6 percent realized during the same period in 2016 with the current account balance registering a deficit estimated at 0.2 percent of GDP in August, 2017 compared with 2.6 percent in August, 2016.
In his reaction, however, Mr Terkper wondered why sometimes “we think we can overdo the world and that is not possible.”
He further cautioned the government not to over-estimate the country’s potential which he believes is being done.