2012 Budget: Finance Minister Delivers Govt's Fiscal Policy In Parliament

Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, has finished presenting the 2012-13 budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament. Earlier members of both sides of the house haggled over parliamentary procedures when the Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, invited Dr. Duffuor to the floor to deliver his much-awaited statement. Dr Duffuor was asked to withdraw his earlier motion that sparked a lot of debate for close to 45 minutes with both the Minority and Majority wrangling over a motion paper that was wrongly laid. Delivering the budget statement, the Finance Minister said Ghana lifted 2,980,720 barrels of oil at the end of October. Proceeds from the first three liftings amounted to US$337.3m and that of the fourth will be recorded at the end of November. An amount of US$112m has been transferred into the Consolidated Fund while US$54.8m transferred into the Stabilisation Fund. He revealed that the Ministry of Finance has set up a fiscal decentralization unit. Amidst shouts of approval from members of the Majority, the Finance Minister disclosed that the hedging of oil has contributed significantly to the maintenance of the economy, whiles interest and policy rates has kept decreasing as well as rates of treasury bills. "Government will hedge interest rates to mitigate risks," he added. He gave the assurance that the NDC would maintain the fiscal consolidation achieved so far despite the fact that 2012 is an election year. 2012 TAXATION MEASURES: Dr. Duffour revealed that Taxation of professional and other members in the informal sectors especially the self-employed, will take effect in 2012, adding that government is targetting 8% of that sector from the present 4%. He further disclosed that Government is offering amnesty to all companies who have evaded tax. "The tax amnesty will start from January 2012," he stressed. The Finance Minister indicated that to help with effective revenue mobilisation, following bills: (i) Tax Administration Bill (ii) Internal Revenue Bill (iii) Customs Bill (iv) VAT Amendment Bill, will be presented to Parliament in 2012. The Finance Minister added that 1,258, 690 school uniforms and 39,536, 119 exercise books were distributed to pupils in deprived areas throughout the country. WATER RESOURCES, WORKS AND HOUSING Government will provide 4,000 new boreholes countrywide in fulfillment of its promise of providing 20,000 boreholes over the next 5 years. Government, in addition, will provide 670 new boreholes in collaboration with development partners, rehabilitate 400 existing boreholes, construct 20 new hand dug wells, 4 small community pipe systems and 18 small town pipe systems, as well as rehabilitate 13 existing small town pipe systems. Government will continue with the Esakyire, Konongo-Kumawu-Kwahu Ridge Water project and Kumasi water expansion project. It will also start the rehabilitation/construction of water treatment plants, reservoirs and pipelines at Nsawam, Sunyani, Damango and Kpong. Government will source funding to complete the 4,720 Government Affordable Housing Projects at Borteyman, Kpone, Koforidua, Asokore-Mampong, Tamale and Wa. For the implementation of these programmes and activities, the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry has been allocated an amount of GH�283,176,014. 00 TRANSPORT, ROADS AND HIGHWAYS The Accra-Nsawam and Kumasi-Ejisu railway lines will be rehabilitated to increase sub-urban rail service. In addition, the reconstruction of the Western Corridor Railway Line will commence under the China Development Bank (CDB) Facility. The Takoradi Port Expansion Project and the Multi-Modal Transport Project that links the Tema Port by rail to the Volta Lake and coastal fishing harbours and landing sites will be undertaken. A total of 54,084km of routine and periodic maintenance works will be undertaken while 250km of spot improvement works will be done. in fulfilment of its pledge to complete key road infrastructure around the country, Government will in 2012 complete the construction of the following major highways commonly referred to as the �Gang of Six�: Achimota-Ofankor, Dansoman highway, La-Teshie expansion project, Tetteh-Quarshie-Pantang and Nsawam By-pass (Accra bound). Construction works on Sunyani Road (Komfo-Anokye to Abuakwa) and Kwafokrom to Apedwa Roads will continue. Government will continue to collaborate with private sector on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement for the financing, construction and management of road infrastructure. Projects to be considered include: Motorway Overpass at Teshie Link Junction, concrete overlay of Accra-Tema Motorway and expansion, dualization of Accra-Kumasi and the Accra-Cape Coast- Takoradi Roads. Construction of Eastern Corridor Roads Project As part of measures to open up the country through efficient and effective road network, Government has secured donor funding amounting to US$1. 5 billion for the construction of the Eastern Corridor Roads. The project has been packaged into seven (7) sections, namely: Section 1: Tema roundabout � Kpong � Atimpoku � Asikuma junction (91 km); Section 2: Asikuma Junction � Hohoe � Jasikan � Poase Cement (147. 2 km) Section 3: Poase Cement � Dodo � Pepesu � Nkwanta (78. 2 km); Section 4: Nkwanta � OtiDamanko (70. 0 km); Section 5: Tuwuo � Gushiegu � Nakpanduri (83. 2 km); Section 6: Nakpanduri � Bawku � Kulunguru (100 km); and Section 7: Atebubu � Kwame Danso Government has made a budgetary provision of GH�100. 0 million to begin the construction and development of the project in 2012. The Ministry of Roads and Highways, has been allocated GH�907,794,236. 00 for the implementation of their programmes and activities in 2012. In addition, GH�250,000,000 will be spent on the �gang of six� projects. The Ministry of Transport will receive and amount of GH�99,463,777. 00 for the implementation of their programmes and activities in 2012. EDUCATION Government will complete ongoing school infrastructural projects especially in the basic and senior high schools, including: Construction of 172 emergency six-unit classroom blocks at a cost of GHc49, 718,664. construction of 100 emergency blocks for 200 schools at a cost of GHc164, 872,400. Construction of 55 dormitory blocks, 380 six-unit classroom blocks and the rehabilitation of 100 Science Resource Centres in selected SHS throughout the country to be completed at a cost of GHc25. 0 million. The Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) will continue to receive support to coordinate skills development in both the formal and informal sectors. In the light of this, Competency Based Training will be rolled out to additional 50 institutions and 10 trade areas. Government will intensify the implementation of intervention programmes such as the capitation grant, free school uniforms, free exercise books and subsidies to basic and senior high schools as indicated below;  capitation grant - GH�25,368,008  free school uniforms - GH�28,800,000  free exercise books - GH�28,967,500  BECE subsidy - GH�6,718,332  SHS subsidy - GH�48,197,652 Government will also take measures to ensure that rehabilitated and newly constructed infrastructure facilities are user friendly to students with disabilities whilst action plans would be developed to implement provisions of the Disability Act. In 2012, the total amount of resources that would be utilized by the Ministry of Education to fund their programmes and activities is GH�2,871,680,218. 00 HEALTH Government will continue to implement programmes to bridge equity gaps in access to health care and nutrition services and also ensure sustainable financing arrangements that protect the poor. In connection with the above, the following programmes and activities will be undertaken in the health sector: Completion of maternity and children‟s block at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital; Construction of children‟s block at Korle-Bu; Construction of Maternity hospital at Tema; Provision of additional ICT equipment support to 86 district level diseases surveillance units; Completion of 5 Polyclinics at Babile/Brefo, Wechau, Ko, Lambuise and Hain and offices for the Nurses‟ and Midwives Council at Okponglo, Accra; 23 Digital X-ray in selected District Hospitals nationwide to enhance diagnosis are far advanced for implementation; Expansion of 6 Health Training Institutions and major Rehabilitation and upgrading of the Phase 3 Bolgatanga Regional Hospital; Supply and Install medical equipment under OPIC funding in 8 regional hospitals, 30 health centres, 3 Teaching hospitals and 90 District hospitals nationwide; Improve access to quality maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent services and intensify prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases ; other infrastructure projects earmarked for execution to increase access to health care will include the completion of 50 CHPS Compound. An amount of GH�1,799,434,809. 00 has been allocated to fund interventions in the Health sector. POVERTY REDUCTION PROGRAMMES poverty reduction is the core pillar of the Better Ghana Agenda of the NDC Government, and indeed of the GSGDA. Government spending on poverty reduction programmes and projects therefore continues to reflect our commitment to this important cause. During the fiscal year 2011, a total of GH₵2. 9 billion was spent on poverty reduction programmes and projects. The efficiency of the resource use was also improved significantly. Madam Speaker, permit me to highlight some of the critical poverty reduction programmes and projects undertaken in the first 9 months of the fiscal year 2011. GH₵783. 61 million was spent on basic education; GH₵455. 13 million was spent on primary health care programmes; GH₵6. 71 million was spent on rural water provision; GH₵30. 03 million was spent to provide electricity for our rural dwellers; GH₵66. 4 million was used to fund the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme to support rural agriculture and the establishment of Agricultural Mechanization Services Centers; GH₵36. 33 million was used to provide rural roads; and GH₵897. 22 million was spent on other poverty related activities, including social welfare, public safety, drainage systems, environmental protection, rural housing, and decentralization. Other social intervention programmes implemented to support poverty reduction include the following: In the education sector, GH�138 million was spent in fiscal year 2011 on capitation grants, BECE and senior high school subsidies, supply of free exercise books and school uniforms in deprived communities, rebuilding of schools under trees, rehabilitation/construction of science resource centers, and scholarships for further studies. This figure will increase to GH₵179. 28 million in fiscal year 2012. In addition, GH₵60. 00 million was spent in 2011 on the School Feeding Programme. The programme will receive GH₵60. 00 million in 2012.  Some GH₵12. 00 million was spent on the Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP), aimed at empowering the youth through the acquisition of technical and entrepreneurial skills and supporting job creation at the local level. Given the impact of this programme on job creation, particularly jobs for the youth, an allocation of GH₵63. 00 million has been made for this programme in fiscal year 2012. Government has released an amount of GH�30. 0 million to the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority With the completion of feasibility studies, Government will commence the construction of infrastructure facilities and installation of equipment in the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani and The University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho with a campus at Hohoe. Government has identified several structures for use by the two universities as start- up in anticipation that the first batch of students will be enrolled in the 2012/2013 academic year. An amount of GH�20million has been provided in the 2012 Budget for these projects. A total of GH₵33. 3 million was spent in 2011 on sanitation and waste management projects undertaken by the MMDAs. For the 2012 fiscal year, the figure will rise to GH₵60 million. In addition, Government will support Public Private Partnership to construct/install compost plants around the country to treat waste and produce fertilizer for farming. 1:36(SADA) for the implementation of its work programme in 2011. Government has allocated an amount of GH₵30 million to SADA for its operational and start up programmes in 2012. In addition Government will create an investment fund window for long term investment in the SADA zone in accordance with Act 805, 2010. To this end Government, will raise an additional amount of GH₵200 million as seed money for the SADA Investment Fund. A donor conference is scheduled to be held on 21st November 2011 to review SADA‟s long term investments needs and seek to align current and future donor funding to these needs. The Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM) will receive GH�10. 9 million in 2012, while the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) will be supported with GH�10. 0 million. HOUSING since 2009, Government has embarked on a number of initiatives in conjunction with the private sector to provide affordable houses for Ghanaians. Government will continue to pursue the objectives of the National Housing Policy, to support the private sector to increase housing delivery. Government will source funding to complete the 4,720 Government Affordable Housing Projects at the following 6 project sites; Borteyman, Kpone, Koforidua, Asokore-Mampong, Tamale and Wa. Disaster Management total of GH₵25. 0 million was spent on disaster management to support victims of disaster and repair destroyed infrastructure and facilities caused by acts of nature. Adequate provision would be made to fund disaster management in 2012. 1:40to sustain the achievements made in reducing poverty, planned government spending on poverty reduction programmes in 2012 is increased to GH₵3. 2 billion, representing 22. 1 percent of the planned total government expenditure for the year. This amount is intended to support basic education, primary health care, poverty-focused agriculture, rural water, feeder roads, and rural electrification. Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) as part of MASLOC‟s mandate to provide, manage and regulate approved funds for microfinance and small scale credit loan schemes and programmes, new loans to benefit 31,793 customers amounting to GH�15. 2million had been disbursed by the end of July 2011. In 2012, an amount of GH�35million will be provided to fund the programmes and activities of MASLOC. with close monitoring, the Centre successfully recovered 95 percent of the loans disbursed as at June 2011. in 2012 the Centre will continue to support the value chain processes through the provision of loans and, in collaboration with Ghana Export Promotion Council, find markets for Agro-processed products and the fishing sector. Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Ghana has made significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty, improving access to education, reducing gender disparities in education in primary education, and providing access to improved water sources. These achievements have been lauded internationally. progress in the other goals has been slower and meeting the 2015 target date will require accelerated efforts. The MDGs for child and maternal mortality and that for sanitation are lagging behind. Though we continue to make progress in them, the rate of improvement may not be sufficient to put it on track to achieving them by 2015. Recognizing the significant challenges to achieving these goals government continues to prioritize maternal and child health interventions as well as programs for improving sanitation. INFORMATION Government is setting aside GH�1 million for the establishment of the Media Development Fund. The Fund would be administered by a Board of Trustees and is aimed at improving the profession output and competence of media organizations and personnel in Ghana. Donors and Corporate organizations would be invited to contribute to the Fund.