Laar AK, Aryeetey RNO, Akparibo R, Zotor F and the Ghana SUN Academic Platform. (2015)
Ghana’s Constitution and several international treaties she has ratified demonstrate support for fundamental human rights to nutrition and freedom from hunger. However, it is unknown how this support is being translated into investment in nutrition. National budgets are important vehicles through which governments communicate intent to address pertinent national challenges. The present paper assesses the nutrition sensitivity of Ghana’s budget statement for the year ending 31 December 2014. We perused the budget in its entirety, examining allocations to various sectors with the goal of identifying support for direct nutrition interventions. We examined allocations to various sectors as per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). The review shows that the total revenue and grants for the 2014 fiscal year is Ghana Cedis (GH¢) 26 001·9 million (25 % of GDP). The total expenditure for the same period is estimated at GH¢34 956·8 million (33·1 % of GDP). The health sector is allocated GH¢3 353 707 814 (3·8 % of GDP). As of 28 October 2014, the Bank of Ghana’s Official Exchange Rate was US$1 = GH¢3·20. It is one of the key sectors whose interventions directly or indirectly impact on nutrition. However, the proportion of the national budget that goes to direct nutrition interventions is not evident in the budget. Nutrition is embedded in other budget lines. Allocations to relevant nutrition-sensitive sectors are very low (<0·5 % of GDP). We conclude that Ghana’s 2014 budget statement pays scant attention to nutrition. By embedding nutrition in other budget lines, Ghana runs the risk of perpetually rolling out national spending actions insensitive to nutrition.