Planting for Food & Jobs budget decline by 45.7% for 2019

  • in contrast to 100%increase in beneficiaries

Allocations to the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative has drastically declined by 45.7 percent in the 2019 national budget, an assessment by the Social Enterprise Development Foundation-Ghana [SEND Ghana] has revealed.

However, the targeted number of beneficiary farmers has been increased from 500,000 in 2018to one million in 2019, triggering the question as to what could be the basis for a 100 percent increment for target beneficiary farmers in 2019 despite a drastically reduced budget allocation for the program.

SEND Ghana has also said, government has not been able to invest heavily enough in the agriculture sector in 2018 to help achieve the targets of SDGs 1 and 2.

The organization maintains that the non-allocation of revenue for specific proposed new initiatives such as the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) and Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) in the 2019 budget, must be addressed.

SEND proposes that there is the need to find sustainable methods of funding programmes and initiatives under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA)instead of relying inordinately on Ghana’s foreign developmental partners.

The organization also bemoans the continued downward deviations of revenue out turns from the annual targets.

Faster revenue growth has become necessary in the current era where unprecedented quanta of resources are needed to implement the numerous social intervention schemes and government flagship programmes. 

However, the dip in the projected growth rate in tax revenue from 2018 to 2019 could be attributed to the abolition and or the review of certain taxes in the 2019budget particularly, the special petroleum tax from 17 to 13 percent and personal income tax band above GH¢20,000 at a rate of 30 percent.

The 2019 projected tax to GDP ratio of 13.1 percent is also quite worrying, as the country should be achieving a ratio of about 22 percent to 25 percent (median tax-to-GDP ratio worldwide is 26.2 percent; 19.1 percent in Africa, 22.8 percent in Latin America and 34.3 percent in the OECD).

SEND asserts,there is an urgent need for government to find ways of generating extra revenue innovatively.

The organization, at its forum on the National Budget noted that government’s proposed tax reforms which are to enable the Ghana Revenue Authority rope in more citizens into the tax net and reduce loopholes and leakages in revenue mobilization is in the right direction.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe