Claim: Comparing Ghana’s fiscal deficit in 2016 and 2019

Source: Fatimatu Abubakar

Verdict: FALSE

Researched by Benjamin Tenkorang

The Minister for Information designate, Fatimatu Abubakar, speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosiisen talk show has claimed that Ghana recorded a fiscal deficit of about 8.4% in 2016 and 4.1% in 2019.  

The talk show hosted by Osei Bonsu (OB) was streamed live on YouTube on February 27, 2024 hours after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s presentation of  the State of the Nation’s Address (SONA).

Speaking in an indigenous Ghanaian language–Twi, the minister designate said, “When examining the fiscal deficit for 2016, it was about 8.4%. We managed things so that we had single-digit inflation when our government largely took over under the first term and a 4.1% fiscal deficit as of 2019.”  (1:52:13 – 1:52:51)

This fact-check report seeks to verify:

  1. Whether the fiscal deficit for 2016 was about 8.4%.
  2. Whether the fiscal deficit for 2019 was 4.1%

Fact Check

A fiscal deficit is a shortcoming in the income of a government as compared to its spendings.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff report for the 2017 Article IV consultation shows Ghana recorded a 9.3% fiscal deficit at the end of 2016.

“The cash-based fiscal deficit turned out at 9.3 percent of GDP in 2016 relative to the program target of 5.2 percent of GDP, reflecting broad-based revenue underperformance and significant expenditure overruns,” the IMF report said.

Checks from Ghana’s 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy also show overall budget deficit for 2016 was 8.7% of GDP and not 8.4%.

Meanwhile, according to the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) 2019 Annual report, the headline fiscal deficit was 4.7% of GDP in 2019, while the overall fiscal deficit, including financial and energy sector costs, reached 7% of GDP.

This was reiterated in the IMF Executive Board 2019 Article IV Consultation with Ghana where the report states that: “After including energy and financial sector costs, this corresponds to an overall deficit of 7 percent of GDP in 2019.”

GhanaFact previously debunked a similar claim made by the Vice President, Dr Bawumia, during a public lecture on February 7, 2024, on the University of Professional Studies campus in Accra.


Therefore, the claims are inaccurate and false.