General News of Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori Atta will today [Wednesday], November 15, 2017, present the 2018 budget to lawmakers.
The budget will be the second for the Akufo-Addo administration since it took over the administration of the country in January 2016.
The Government has so far released a document titled The Key Policy Initiative Performance which spells out the various achievements of the previously read 2017 Budget. The performance is themed, ‘We have sown the seeds of growth and jobs.’
According to Government, they have been able to; restore the allowances of 54,840 trainees from 77 Public Health Training institutions; approved recruitment of 15, 667 health workers; restored 49,000 teacher trainee allowances from 41 colleges of education and increased peacekeeping allowance from $31 to $35.
With the issue of fighting corruption, Government has been able to pass the Special Prosecutors Bill which was laid before parliament. With regards to resolving issues with the Banking sector, the insolvent banks have been taken over by GCB Bank. Also, minimum capital requirements have been increased from GHS 120million to GHS 400 million.
The first tranch sponsored E.S.L.A PLC was raised from 4.6 billion at 19% and 19.5% for 7-year and 10-year bonds respectively to reduce NPLs and; improve liquidity with the banking sector. Under formalization of the economy, the National Identification Program was launched and issued the first ‘Ghana Card’ in October 2017. The Digital Addressing was also launched and digital addresses created.
With the provision of energy for all, 298 communities were connected under the rural electrification program. Government also provided 52,191 potable solar lanterns to poor off-grid rural households, distributed 17,000 cylinders, stoves and accessories under the rural LPG Program and ended dumsor.
Other achievements include;
Expenditure Management and Commitment Control
- Implemented the Public Financial Management Act
Enacted the Earmarked Funds Capping Realignment ACT 2107 (Act 97)
*Treasury Single Account – moved Government bank accounts to the central bank to provide visibility and proper cash management
*Improved payroll management – Rolled out the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) across all MMDAS
Economic Growth Restoration
*Reduced debt to GDP ratio to from 73% (Dec 2016) to 68% (Sept 2017)
*Reduced inflation from 15.4% (Dec 2016) to 12.2% (Sept 2017)
*Reduced monetary policy rate from 25% to 21%
*Improved Ghana’s sovereign credit rating increased GDP from 3.7% to 3.9%
*Improved Ghana’s primary balance from -1.6% of GDP (2016) to 0.3% of GDP (Sept 2016)
Planting Food and Jobs on course
Major milestones achieved nationwide include
*Distributed 80,000 bags of cereal and legume seeds, 36,000 sachets of vegetable seeds and about 2,000,000 bags of fertilizer
*Recruited 822 agricultural extension officers
*Linked institutions buyers to farmers
*Electronically registered over 34,000 farmers
*Reduced fertilizer prices by 50%
Prudent Debt Management
*Launched a GHS 9.0 billion Domestic Bond to lengthen the Maturity Profile of Public Debt
*Conducted a debt profiling exercise which improved the debt mix and lowered domestic interest by GHS600million
*For the first time in many years, Ghana’s credit ratings outlook changed positively for S&P and Fitch credit rating agencies
*Debt accumulation declined from an average 36% to about 13.6% for the first 9 months in 2017
*Interest rates declined from 21.5% to 15% on treasury bills
Ghanaians are all eager to hear the budget reading today in parliament.