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Gov't 2014 budget has no vision, no plan - Policy Analyst


CletusAn economic and public policy analyst, Prof Cletus Dordunoo, has described the 2014 budget as suffering from “a triple vacuum”: no vision, no medium-term plans and no specific plans.

Prof Dordunoo says the Finance Ministry “has tried very hard to put together some statements for the year...but it is heavily overloaded with a lot of statements,” adding that it poorly reviewed achievements of 2013 targets.

Speaking on a panel discussion programme, Talking Point on GTV on Sunday, Prof Dordunoo also noted that the policy document presented by the Finance Minister to Parliament last week lacks a medium-term plan that will guide the country for 2014.
He noted “the medium term plan [which the country] had expired at the end of the [fiscal] year.”

He said initiatives in the budget also lack “scenarios and simulations” for adequate appreciation of how the Finance Ministry hopes to achieve them. One of such initiatives is the Infrastructural Development Fund (IDF).

A key element of the 2014 Budget and Financial Statement which was presented to Parliament last Tuesday was the setting up of the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF).

The fund, according to Finance Minister Seth Terpker, will seek to provide a sustainable source of income for infrastructural development.

But Prof Dordunoo said the 2012 Auditor General’s report for instance pointed out several “financial malfeasance” with similar funds which makes the IDF a bit dangerous for the economy.

“With the huge fiscal deficit we have, plus the deficit on infrastructure, which is also very high, this IDF is something we have to look at...very well,” he added.

He said already there was a number of Funds, such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Common Fund etc, which were burdening the economy, hence the proposed IDF could be detrimental to the economy in 2014.

He also cautioned government against allowing IDF to suffer the same financial misappropriation which existing funds have suffered.

Dr Akoto Osei, a former Minister of Finance, who was also on the programme, however said conceptually, the IDF is good, but government would have to “flesh it out”.

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