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Government to eliminate arrears by 2019 – Ofori-Atta

By
Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, July 31, GNA –
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has announced that government plans
to eliminate all its arrears by end of 2019 following the result of an audit of
the outstanding commitment generated as at end 2016.

He, however, gave the
assurance that the Government would institute stringent measures that would
prevent the accumulation of new ones.

Mr Ofori-Atta made the
announcement when he presented the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2017
Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to Parliament.

The 2017 Mid-Year
Fiscal Policy Review is the first to be done under Section 28 of the Public
Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

Mr Ofori-Atta stated
the fiscal deficit on cash basis was GH¢5.6 billion (2.7 per cent of Gross Domestic
Product) compared to GH¢6.7 billion (4.0 per cent of GDP) recorded in the same
period in 2016.

He said primary
balance recorded a surplus of 0.6 per cent of GDP, against a target deficit of
0.01 per cent.

He said petroleum
receipts in the first half of 2017 amounted to US$277.79 million compared to
the end-year projection of US$515.57.

Mr Ofori-Atta
indicated that the gross public debt stock stood at a provisional figure of GH¢138.5
billion (US$31.7 billion as at June 2017).

He said the stock
comprised external and domestic debt of GH¢74.6 billion (US$17.1 billion) and
GH¢63.9 billion (US$14.6 billion) respectively.

He said the overall
GDP rate had been maintained at 6.3 per cent, whiles nominal GDP revised
slightly to GH¢202.01 billion from the original projection of GH¢203.41
billion.

Mr Ofori-Atta noted
that the non-oil GDP rate had been maintained at 4.6 per cent and the end-year
inflation rate kept at 11.2 per cent.

He said the overall
fiscal deficit revised downwards from 6.5 per cent to 6.3 percent of GDP.

He said the primary
balance had also been revised from a surplus of 0.4 per cent to a surplus of
0.2 percent of GDP and Gross Foreign Assets to cover at least three months of
imports of goods and services maintained as originally programmed.

Mr Ofori-Atta further
stated that total revenue and grants had been revised downwards by 0.9 percent
of GDP from GH¢44.5 billion to GH¢43.1 billion.

He said the total
expenditure had also been revised downwards by 1.1 per cent of GDP from GH¢58.1
billion to GH¢55.9 billion.

He said some of the
key revisions to expenditures include 0.4 per cent of GDP (GH¢867 million)
adjustment to Goods and Services and 0.3 per cent of GDP (GH¢553.2 million).

He said the overall
fiscal balance is expected to improve from a deficit of GH¢13.2 billion (6.5
per cent of GDP) to GH¢12.8 billion (6.3 per cent of GDP).

GNA

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