- On November 20, 2018
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SEND GHANA released its preliminary assessment of the 2019 budget statement on November 20th, 2018, identifying several concerns with projected allocations.
Identified issues that cut across sectors include overdependence on donor funding and the capital market, fragmentation and weak governance, short-changed goods and services, and inadequate prioritization of marginalized groups. Several sector-specific concerns have also been identified by the preliminary analysis.
The projected budget for 2019 is too dependent on donor funding and the capital market.
With Ghana’s attainment of lower middle income status, donor support may start to dwindle. To make Ghana self-sufficient and attain a Ghana Beyond Aid as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2 and 17.1, (i.e., no poverty, no hunger and strengthened domestic resource mobilization), government must find a sustainable way to fund and implement its own capital investments.
Fragmentation among ministries, departments and agencies will cause weak governance, incur transaction costs.
To avoid the duplication of functions and needless costs, and ensure efficient infrastructure delivery, government should adequately equip sector ministries rather than the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives to take charge of capital investment and development.
“A common observation we have made is that the 2019 national budget is characterized by too much fragmented allocation,” said SEND GHANA Country Director George Osei-Bimpeh. “This is a recipe for duplication of functions, poor implementation and coordination, and likely low or no value for money. This must change to avoid unnecessary increases in transaction costs. The ambition of the budget can be greatly undermined by the current poor allocation and implementation framework.”
Low budgetary allocation and overspending on government salaries is short-changing goods and services.
To attain the SDGs, government must increase allocations for goods and services overall, and ensure they are released as promised.
There is inadequate prioritization of marginalized groups.
To link the poor and vulnerable to PFJ, government should enrol LEAP beneficiaries on the programme as a graduation measure and implement a quota system to target marginalized groups. Further, government must fast track the completion of the Ghana National Household Registry to improve data available on poor and vulnerable households for multiple programmes.
Sector-specific issues and messages:
- Low provision for health staff employment will prolong understaffing.
- Children at foundational levels of the school system need teaching and learning materials, too.
- Develop strategies to absorb tertiary school swell up before 2020.
- Institutions for persons with disabilities received zero compensation money in 2016 or 2017.
- Rural areas require drinking water.
- Schools cannot wait for accessible WASH facilities.
- Make regular payments to the DACF and strengthen institutional collaboration.
- Bring LEAP beneficiaries above the extreme poverty line.
- Address the NHIS funding gap.
- Proposed review of personal income tax band is not revenue enhancing.
Read our full preliminary assessment of the 2019 budget here.