The government "must walk its talk, not merely engage in rhetoric" as far as its promises to take certain measures to turn the exonomy around are concerned, auditing and accounting firm PwC has said.
In its commentary on the 2024 budget budget oresented to parliament on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, PwC said the government "must do the things it promises and with sincerity, too".
"In our view, the Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogue will serve as the acid test for this sincerity", it noted.
The Dialogue, which will be a series, aims to gain a deep understanding of the needs of the private sector and realise pragmatic ways to improve the ease of doing business in Ghana.
The government will dialogue with leading voices in agriculture, energy, finance, hospitality, manufacturing, mining, retail, telecommunications, and other key sectors of the economy.
PwC said: "Various stakeholders would be observing closely to see how Government/ the Ministry of Finance would utilise the Dialogue as a resource for economic management".
PwC said its pre-budget survey found “there is deep mistrust of government — mistrust of its expressed intent, mistrust of its word, mistrust of its competence or capabilities.”
For instance, it said less than 30% of businesses and professionals believed that the Minister’s 2024 budget would include the necessary interventions to help the Government deliver on its macroeconomic targets.
Also, more than 85% of respondents noted that it is very unlikely the government would meet the primary balance target of 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product in 2024, an election year.
Similarly, less than 15% of survey respondents agreed that the government is committed to and would really be able to use the Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogue as the platform it professes it to be, and to drive 2024 macroeconomic growth goals.
“Without a doubt, the picture is not pretty. And this should not be surprising with the memory of the challenging year of 2022, and the DDEP [Domestic Debt Exchange Programme] experience in 2023”.
“What this reveals to us is that the Ministry of Finance can’t simply focus on its technical mandate and on executing the IMF-supported PC-PEG. It cannot simply go ahead and execute the budget. It must seek to proactively engage and communicate its plans and actions, and results thereof, in as simple terms as possible. It should be very creative about such communication to be able to reach the masses and for people of various walks of life to understand what it is doing to execute its mandate”, it added.