Business News of Saturday, 20 October 2018
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said that the Akufo-Addo-led government has attained key milestones in the economy within their 22 months in office despite the global economic downturn.
Ghana, he said, has been able to achieve a credit upgrade from B- to B status with a stable outlook for the first time in almost a decade as a result of the government’s prudent monetary and fiscal policies.
Mr Ofori-Atta said that for the first time in almost a decade, the debt dynamics have declined with surplus primary balance while the country has successfully issued bonds on international markets during a global economic down-swing.
The government, the minister noted, is striving to structurally transform the economy through investment in agriculture, strategic infrastructure development, investment in human capital and a deliberate push towards industrialisation, with active private sector involvement to create jobs and wealth in order to improve incomes of Ghanaians as well as their standard of living.
Addressing participants of this year’s stakeholders’ meeting held at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region on Friday, 19 October 2018 to solicit ideas prior to the preparation of the 2019 Budget, Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the slow pace of economic growth caused by energy challenges and a lack of an enabling environment for the private sector, among others, in the past, severely affected the fiscal space and undermined the prioritisation of the government’s policies.
Amidst the financial challenges, the government, he noted, made significant strides to tackle the fundamental problems of the economy.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the economy grew by 8.5 per cent in 2017 as compared to 3.7 per cent in 2016.
“By the end of 2017, we had reduced the fiscal deficit from 9.3 per cent at the end of 2016 to 5.9 per cent, lower than the programmed target of 6.3 per cent”, he recalled.
Inflation, Mr Ofori-Atta noted, has reduced from 15.4 per cent as of the end of 2016 to 11.8 per cent at the end of 2017 and further reduced to 9.9 per cent at the end of August 2018.
He explained that interest rates for the government’s 91-Day Treasury Bill reduced from 16.4 per cent from December 2016 to 13.3 per cent in October 2018.