The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, will present the 2019 budget statement and financial policy of the government to Parliament today, Thursday.

This will be the third budget of the Akufo-Addo administration, in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 constitution.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said that the budget will bring hope to Ghanaians, amid times he himself has described as difficult.

He said the 2019 budget will “reflect the hope Ghanaians have in the government and the future of the country”.

Ghanaians are slowly getting used to fuel being above GHc 5 per litre. The cedi has also been trading at GHc5 to a dollar for a while.

Citi Business News visited the Ministries and spoke to workers where most of them appealed to the government to announce measures that will improve the living conditions in the country.

According to them, the government must try to reduce the prices of petrol and electricity tariffs to make life easier for them.

Importers have urged the government to take critical steps to strengthen the local currency against the dollar in the coming year.

The local currency began the year on the interbank market trading at GHC 4.42 pesewas to a dollar, but is currently trading at about GHC 5 Cedis at some forex bureaus around the country.

Budget beyond hell

The Minority is less optimistic and has tagged the budget as one ushering in hopelessness.

The Minority is projecting an addition of GHc16 billion to Ghana’s public debt stock.

The public debt stock as at August 2018, stood at GHc159.4 billion up from GH¢122 billion some two years ago.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson said the two previous budgets presented by the Akufo-Addo government have brought nothing good but only hardships to Ghanaians.

He added that the 2019 budget will turn President Akufo-Addo’s ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ mantra, to “Ghana beyond hell.”

“We say Ghana beyond hell because in the year 2017, the budget was named ‘asempa’ budget, meaning good news. But at the end, what did we see? We saw ‘asembone’ budget meaning bad news. In the year 2018, the budget was named ‘adwuma’ budget, meaning we were going to expect more employment, but what are we witnessing now? We are witnessing job losses, layoffs and no jobs.

President Akufo-Addo announced that the 2019 budget will be full of hope. But judging from the outcome of the 2017 and 2018 budget and economic policy statement, what should we expect in the 2019 budget? Hopelessness.”

Relief for Amidu

The upcoming budget is set to give a boost to the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

The office tasked with weeding out corruption has received concrete assurances it will be getting a budgetary allocation in the 2019 budget
Citi News is in possession of a letter from the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu in which he expressed appreciation to the Finance Minister for an apparent pledge.

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor appreciates efforts of His Excellency the President and your good self in supporting this Office to be able to establish and operationalize to the best international standard to decrease the incentive and increase to the highest level the risk for corruption towards the attainment of the agreed national anti-corruption vision for our dear country.”