Ghana’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 face major challenges, with rapid progress still needed in sectors related to the goals on hunger, gender equity and health. To accelerate progress toward development goals, Ghana needs to effectively mobilize domestic and international financing for programs that can address these challenges. National budgets are central to this effort; however, many governments deviate from planned budgets during implementation, a challenge known as budget credibility, which can result in shortchanging or deprioritizing spending in social sectors. The SDGs recognize this challenge with tracking indicator 16.6.1, which looks at government expenditures as compared to the approved budget, however, in many countries, including Ghana, public discussion around funding on the SDGs focuses more on allocations than implementation.
The government has shown its commitment to tracking investments toward the SDGs by publishing a budget report that shows allocations according to the SDGs. However, data has not been released about expenditure according to those allocation targets. This brief therefore looks at budget credibility patterns from 2018 to 2020 in seven key sectors that relate to 10 SDG goals, using available budget data from ministries as a proxy for SDG spending in the absence of more formal tracking systems for budget execution information on SDG spending. This analysis aims to show how Ghana’s current performance on budget credibility can potentially impact wider efforts to achieve the SDGs, and provides recommendations for how the government, development partners and civil society can expand awareness and action about budget credibility in SDG and development goal discussions. Download the paper.