Ghana has been facing fiscal difficulties since 2012 and the effects were at the forefront of the fiscal challenges that confronted the NPP government that came into office in 2017. For most of the past six years, large persistent fiscal deficits and a rising debt burden have posed an increasingly serious policy challenge for the country.
The implementation of the single spine salary structure for the public sector in 2010, coupled with a sharp rise in energy-subsidy costs and fiscal transfers, rapidly increased public spending. Consequently, the fiscal deficit rose from 4% of GDP in 2011 to 11.6% in 2012, coupled with a rapid accumulation of government payment arrears. The emergence of a large fiscal deficit and external imbalances led to a slowdown in growth, putting the country’s medium-term prospects at risk.
Government’s efforts to achieve fiscal consolidation since mid-2013 were undermined by policy slippages, external shocks, and rising interest cost. As a result, the fiscal deficit remained far elevated and above its target levels, reaching 10.7% of GDP in 2013 and 10.1% in 2014 (World Bank, 2017).