Economic prospects for 2014 very positive — Veep

Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has described the economic prospects of the country for this year as very positive.

He said the nation was compelled to take some ‘hard’ but necessary economic decisions last year, which were expected to yield dividends in the medium term this year.

Speaking to some members of the Ghanaian community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday, Mr Amissah-Arthur mentioned some of the tough measures taken as tax increments and upward adjustments of petroleum prices.

Admitting that the impact of the measures on the people could be biting, the Vice-President nonetheless remarked that they held positive promises for the medium term this year.

Mr Amissah-Arthur, who  represented President John Dramani Mahama at the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, therefore, predicted an appreciable growth rate this year.

“We have tried to create a balance to ensure that government finances are stable, and also introduced other tax systems to allow for the growth of the economy,” Mr Amissah-Arthur explained, citing the removal of fuel subsidies and the introduction of the Automatic Tariff Adjustment Formula as examples.

2012 electoral petition
The Vice-President said the 2012 presidential election petition was a contributory factor to the difficulties that confronted the country last year.

In the situation, he said the government was compelled to take some difficult measures to restore normalcy to the economy.

Explaining why the inflation target was not achieved, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said there was first the need to fix the fiscal challenge, which in a way destabilised the economy.

He said while the import bill rose from $8 billion to about $14 billion, cocoa and gold earnings slumped.

Mr Amissah-Arthur added that while the 2013 growth rate was below expectation, it far exceeded those of many African countries, and this was a plus for the nation.

Ghanaians in diaspora
The Vice-President said the government was coming up with some measures to enable citizens living outside the country to support national development.

For instance, he said, there were plans to establish a skills bank that would enable Ghanaian professionals outside the country to use their skills to propel national development.

To demonstrate its resolve towards realising this vision, Mr Amissah-Arthur said consultations were ongoing with Ghanaian technocrats and scholars in Washington and Addis Ababa to help review government’s project and development initiatives during their leisure times.

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