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Ghana’s Budget Deficit Hovering Around GHC13.3 Billion
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Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said the 2017 budget would result in an overall budget deficit of GHC13.3 billion, equivalent to 6.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Mr Ofori-Atta, who made this known in Accra when presenting the 2017 Budget Statement in Parliament on Thursday, said the deficit was based on the country’s revenue and expenditure estimates for the financial year.
According to him, financing the budget deficit would be from both domestic and foreign sources.

He said the Net Domestic Financing was estimated at GHC14.6 billion, equivalent to 7.2 per cent of GDP, that includes financing from divestiture proceeds of GHC1.8 billion, while Net Foreign Financing estimated to constitute a net repayment of GHC1.3 billion, equivalent to 0.6 per cent of GDP.

Commenting on the petroleum revenue estimates, he said GHC300.7 million, equivalent to 0.1 per cent of GDP, would be saved under the Ghana Petroleum and Contingency Fund, while the Sinking Fund was expected to be drawn-down by GHC716.1 million.

Touching on the petroleum receipts and allocations, Mr Ofori-Atta said the country’s projected output for crude oil was 43,875,920 barrels with projected 120,208 barrel of oil per day (bopd) and 32,512,497 MMBtu for gas.
He said the estimated benchmark revenue price for crude oil per barrel was US$56.142 with an estimated US$515.64 million petroleum revenue while the benchmark revenue projection was US$242.08 million.

The minister, therefore, appealed to Parliament to maintain the existing Petroleum Revenue Distribution formula as captured in the Petroleum Revenue Management Law although the three-year cycle for the review of the formula had elapsed.

The existing distribution formula indicated that 30 per cent of the net Carried and Participating Interest would go to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC); 70 per cent of net receipts (after GNPC's share) would be allocated to the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA); while 30 per cent of the net receipts would be allocated to the Ghana Petroleum Funds.

In addition, 30 per cent of the amount allocated to the Ghana Petroleum Funds would be allocated to the Ghana Heritage Fund while 70 per cent would be allocated to the Ghana Stabilisation Fund, he stated.

Mr Ofori-Atta asked the House to approve agriculture, physical infrastructure and service delivery in health and education, as well as road and rail infrastructure development as the priority areas for spending of the ABFA from 2017 to 2019, in accordance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, (Act 815) promulgated in 2011.
He noted that Ghana’s economy had been exposed to the recent decline in commodity prices on the world market, thus leading to significant shortfalls in petroleum revenue over the last two years.

In order to safeguard revenue and reinforce fiscal stability, the minister said government had decided to revert to the national hedge programme which would be funded through proceeds from the Price Stabilization and Recovery Account.
Source: GNA

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