Graphic/Stanbic Breakfast Meeting:Strategise to meet 2022 Budget proposals-Asomaning urges govt

BY: Samuel Duodu & Vincent Amenuveve
Mr Kwamina Asomaning - MD, Stanbic Bank, Ghana
Mr Kwamina Asomaning - MD, Stanbic Bank, Ghana

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stanbic Bank, Mr Kwamena Asomaning, has called on the government to put in place effective strategies that will enable it to fulfill all the policies and programmes it will outline in the 2022 Budget Statement.

He observed that a gap often existed between what leaders wanted to achieve and the required discipline for connecting strategy with reality and aligning people with goals to achieve the results promised.

Mr Asomaning made the call at the last in the series of this year’s Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra last Tuesday.

He said although Ghana's budgets were prepared with painstaking detail, a lot more needed to be done to improve on results from “our budgeting processes through a more effective execution of plans".

Action plans

The Stanbic Bank CEO stressed the need for appropriate action plans towards executing the budget and supporting the government’s strategic plan, while ensuring discipline for a more detailed execution of plans with clear time-bound activities and targets that synchronised and provided a framework for all government decisions.

He noted that the milestones in the budget and government strategy should also be monitored, so that when the government failed to meet such milestones as it executed the plan, they could be tracked.

Issues, monitoring

He also called on policy makers “to reconsider whether they have the right strategy, after all, and adapt over the course of the budget year”.

Mr Asomaning intimated some of the burning issues that needed to be tackled to include how to ultimately improve the results in any endeavour and understanding where the results came from in order to improve on the processes and initiatives that caused them.

Acknowledgement

“Ghana isn’t the only nation with high debt levels, wide fiscal deficits and sluggish growth in the COVID-19 era,” he acknowledged.

However, he explained, the fact that when compared to the country’s African peers “our Eurobonds are currently attracting significantly higher risk premiums makes the near-term prospect of external financing of future deficits even more daunting”.

Budget discussions

Mr Asomaning underscored the importance of budget discussions this year, coming at a time Ghana’s fiscal position and trajectory were receiving increased scrutiny from external investors.

“Investors have underlined their concerns with the situation by aggressively selling off their positions.

Together with our partners, we are pleased to provide this platform as an avenue for the business community, citizens, experts in the financial industry and the government to actively contribute to the debate on our fiscal performance and outlook,” he said.

Mr Asomaning, therefore, entreated participants to discuss issues dispassionately, with the hope of collating a flood of ideas and approaches that would support the development of policies and programmes to reverse the negative outcomes of the implementation of the budget and improve upon them.

He also expressed the hope that a meaningful proportion of the discussions would focus on stimulating conversations that would improve results of the country's budgeting processes through more effective execution.

Assurance

In a response, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Charles Adu Boahen, who was at the meeting, assured investors and the global community that the economy was strong and robust.

He said efforts to achieve the 2021 deficit and revenue targets were also well on track and urged investors to have faith in the economy.

He said Ghana's economic fundamentals were as robust now as they were three to four months ago and, therefore, asked investors selling off the country's bonds in the international market to rethink their action, as the sentiments driving those moves did not reflect the true state of the economy.

Meeting

The meeting was held at the Labadi Beach Hotel on the theme: “Pre-Budget 2022: Insights and recommendations".

It was streamed live on the social media networks of the Daily Graphic and Stanbic Bank and also broadcast live on Joy FM and Joy News, which are supporters of the programme.

Other speakers included a tax consultant and Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ghana, Dr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea, who was also a special guest; a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, and a financial consultant and Senior Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Dr Randolph Nsor-Ambala.

The meeting brought together business leaders, policy makers, people in academia and business advocacy groups to explore the challenges facing the economy and proffer solutions ahead of the presentation of the budget on November 17.

No new taxes

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ato Afful, explained that the meeting was a platform for informed discussions on important topics that impacted on businesses and the economy at large.

He noted that it was to discuss the 2022 Budget, with the view to making inputs that would influence the content, direction and discussion of the budget.

Mr Afful summed up the key expectation of industry players, which was to expect no new taxes in the 2022 Budget.

He said many Ghanaians were looking forward to a budget that would boost consumer confidence.

He explained that the 2022 Budget had implications for not only the business community but also the ordinary citizens of the country.