Budgetary cutbacks affecting projects execution

Non-fulfillment of public expenditure commitments has been diminishing public confidence and raising concerns about the level of government’s assurance of actual monetary allocations to fund public projects execution. Even more importantly it has been having major adverse effects on government’s development agenda execution and the efficacy of its social welfare interventions.

The repeated deviations, according to SEND Ghana, a policy research and advocacy organization, poses a threat to a Ghana Beyond Aid and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

The organization’s assessment of the 2020 budget statement notes that while spending cut backs are necessary to curb the fiscal deficit, public programmes are suffering as a result.

SEND has given several examples of a trend it claims cuts across most aspects of social; intervention as well as capital expenditure.

For instance it is concerned that actual releases for the department of children and other child protection agencies has consistently been less than 40 percent of budgetary allocations. Actual expenditure for the department of children in 2017 and 2018 was 6.71 percent and 34.97 percent. These were inadequate to ensure projects execution for child protection agencies.

The situation was not different in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors where an underspending of GHc6.208 billion constituting 15.8 percent was released in 2018 out of an approved budget for capital expenditure of GHc39.142 billion which was allocated to the sector in that year’s budget.

Hence, challenges with release of approved budgeted funds keeps affecting infrastructural development goals, including fishing harbours and landing sites in the sector.

Indeed, key ministries such as Gender, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Water Resources and Sanitation among others, in 2018, were not given their entire approved budgetary allocations SEND’s report further reveals.

Instructively though, education has been receiving more than its budgeted amount, ostensibly to ensure the execution of government’s flagship free senior high school programme.

Paradoxically as government pushes for a Ghana Beyond Aid, an analysis of previous budgets and medium term framework for impending  ones, from 2017-2020, shows little enthusiasm to put in place meaningful measures to reduce development of critical social sectors in the hands of development partners (DPs).

For instance donor partner’s contribution to child promotion in the 2017, 2018 and the 2019 budgets were crucially high at GHc79.3 million, GHc94.8 million and GHc77.1 million respectively.

In the same vein, only 11.8 percent allocation for CAPEX in the 2020 budget is from Government of Ghana and other sources (IGF and ABFA) combined, with the remaining 88.2 percent by donor partners.

Over reliance on donor partners therefore could have some implications on the implementation of interventions, especially at a time that support from donors has been dwindling with coupled with delays in release.

This is also justified with the fact that grants disbursement by donor partners continued to trail the target by 29.8 percent.

Source: goldstreetbusiness.com

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