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Economy is making gains on all major fronts – Finance Minister

By
Christabel Addo-GNA
  

Accra, July 31, GNA-
Mr Ken Ofori Atta, Minister of Finance, has said the country’s macroeconomic
indicators are pointing to the right direction, attributing these successes to
the various strategies put in place to ensure fiscal stability and growth.

He said currently
inflation had taken a downward trend, with the Cedi stabilised, and other
macroeconomic indicators also showing positively strength in the first
half-year of the Akufo-Addo-led Administration.

Mr Ofori-Atta who was
presenting the Mid-Year Review Budget and the Fiscal Policy of the Government
to Parliament, in Accra on Monday, gave key the highlights of the 2017 Budget
Performance.

He listed a number of
taxes abolished by the Government in its 2017 ‘Asempa’ Budget, and said the
Government’s macro-economic targets for 2017 and interventions were working and
in some cases had exceeded expectations.

He said the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) by the first quarter was 6.6 per cent against 4.4 per
cent same time last year; while a fiscal deficit of 2.7, compared to 4 per cent
in 2016 had been achieved, alongside a cut in the Bank of Ghana (BoG) policy
rate reduction by 21 per cent.

The Finance Minister
said the Gross International Reserves was 3.4 months equivalent to 2.8 months
as at the first quarter of last year, while Interest rates had also gone down
by more than 500 basis points because of the consistent fall in headline
inflation.

He said average
interest rate had reduced from 16.4 per cent to 12.08 per cent at the end of
June 2017.

He said the Government
had chosen debt management strategy, which aimed at borrowing at minimum cost
to reduce re-financing risk and re-profile debts, which did not increase the
debt stock.

Again, the Finance
Minister said nominal GDP had been revised as had non-oil tax revenue;
Corporate Income Tax and Import Taxes collection had also been revised
downwards.

He said there had been
the revision of fiscal deficit from 6.5 to 6.3 per cent of GDP over the period.

Mr Ofori -Atta said
these, notwithstanding, the Free SHS, School Feeding, Planting for Food and
Jobs, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and some key infrastructure
developments would be protected from cuts.

He cited a number of
setbacks, saying ongoing investigations had unearthed massive under-declaration
at the ports, which had contributed to revenue shortfalls over the period.

The Government, he
said, was currently clearing the huge arrears it inherited from the previous
Administration, and was investigating it in an audit, which was expected to end
in October this year.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the
Government was, however, not intimidated by the state of affairs, but was
committed to ensure that its promises to Ghanaians were duly delivered.

GNA

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