Ghana is not likely to realize this year?s estimated petroleum revenue due to a sharp dip in global crude prices, necessitating a critical review of its 2015 budget as the country strives to maintain fiscal consolidation.
Based on new revenue assumptions, total petroleum receipts for 2015 will fall 64.4 percent lower than expected, with an initial projection of Ghc4.2 billion oil income representing 3.1 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) now forecast down to GHc1.5 billion, or 1.1 percent of GDP.
Finance Minister Seth Terkper in a statement to Parliament on Thursday on the implications of the fall in crude oil prices on the 2015 budget, said owing to a slump in crude prices and its effect on the economy, the budget deficit had risen to 7.5 percent of GDP from 6.5 percent.
Consequently, he said, the economy would register a shortfall of Ghc2.7 billion in total revenue and grants for the 2015 fiscal year, as an initial revenue projection of Ghc32.4 billion is now forecast at Ghc29.7 billion, representing 22.3 percent of GDP.
The Petroleum Benchmark Revenue price in the 2015 budget, based on a formula stipulated in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), was estimated at 99.38 dollars per barrel and a volume of 102,033 barrels a day was also estimated in pursuant to the Act.
But the new assessment by government is based on a price of 52.8 dollars per barrel, which is consistent with the IMF?s forecast.
Mr Terkper said oil output is however expected to remain unchanged at the 102,033 barrels per day, following discussions with oil production companies.
He said due to these factors, total domestic revenue for 2015 is now expected to be Ghc27.8 billion, resulting in a shortfall of Ghc3.1 billion, adding that out of the projected total petroleum receipts, Ghc468.9 million will be transferred to the National Oil Company, and the remaining amount of Ghc1.0 billion would not be sufficient to cover the Annual Budget Funding Amount of Ghc2.5 billion.
But the Minority in reaction to the Minister?s statement said the present economic difficulties besetting the country should not be blamed on the slide of crude oil prices but on fiscal indiscipline on the part of government.
It said the nation?s current economic malaise could worsen in the course of the year, and that the fall in crude oil prices had only exacerbated the fiscal ineptitude of government.
“We have engaged in fiscal indiscipline which has hindered growth occasioning our engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The situation has only been exacerbated by the fall in oil prices,” said the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
“Let nobody give the impression that all our problems are as a result of the fall in oil prices,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, noting that the Finance Minister failed to explain the implications of the cut in expenditure on economic growth.