2019 Budget to revive business activities

BY: Daniel Ofosu Dwamena
• Charles Benoni Okine, Assistant Editor of the Graphic Business, displaying his award
• Charles Benoni Okine, Assistant Editor of the Graphic Business, displaying his award

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has assured Ghanaians and the investor community of the intentions of the government to use this year’s budget statement to strongly revive activities within the economy.

He said after using the first two budgets since 2017 to stabilise the economy and place it on the right footing, it was time for a take off, adding that “this will happen this year for all to see”.

The minister gave the assurance soon after he received an award from the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana when it held the 2018 edition of the annual thanksgiving dinner and awards ceremony to honour some leaders from the business community whose efforts have deepened the economic and trade ties between Ghana and the US.

The event was also organised to commemorate the American National Thanksgiving Day, network and raise funds for charity.

This year’s edition was organised on the theme; “When diplomacy meets business: Strengthening US-Ghana relations to unlock business opportunities.

“The figures about our economic performance is glaring for all to see”; We have done a lot and with the help of Ghanaians and the confidence they reposed in the government to work, we have achieved what we set out to do”.

Mr Kyerematen hinted of a the government’s resolve to check its expenditure and help grow the economy by 7.6 per cent.

It is also determined to bring the fiscal deficit further down to 4.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019.

Using the figures in the budget to buttress his point, he said for instance that in 2017, the government’s deficit target was 6.3 per cent of GDP through prudence and discipline, managed to end with 5.9 per cent.

In addition to significant achievements in stabilising the economy, the government said it is on course to achieve it’s fiscal deficit target of 4.5 per cent for the year (3.7 per cent in the rebased series).

If achieved, this will be the second consecutive year the government has achieved its fiscal deficit target.

Mr Kyerematen said the government has provided strong support to stimulate the private.

He said the government provided direct support to the sector, through the stimulus package and One district One factory (1D1F) programmes.
    
The 1D1F programme, according to the Finance Minister in the budget, has generated strong interest from several banks. Fifty-five companies have been funded, with several others in the pipeline.

The Trade and Industry Minister also mentioned the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme (PFJ) and said that was also yielding impressive results.
He said there has been marked improvements in the real sectors of the economy and gave the assurance that, all those successes will be improved with the way now clear for the government.

US investments in Ghana

Mr Kyerematen noted that, though, the relationship between the US and Ghana has been very cordial, it had not yet reflected in the number of US investments in the country.

“The United State of America and Ghana have enjoyed superlative relations for several decades.

 Regrettably though, the quality of the relationship between our countries has not been reflected in the same magnitude in terms of investments from US to Ghana,” he said.

Mr Kyerematen, therefore, asked for greater collaboration between the government and the chamber to put the US on top of the investment chart in the country.

 He also advocated the quick establishment of a US-Ghana Business Council.

Charity presentations

The US business community offered financial support to two charity foundations operating in the educational sector in the country.

An amount for GH¢50,000 was donated to United Way Ghana, a foundation that is providing literacy for young people in inner cities in the country.

Additional GH¢10,000 was also donated to the St. Bakhita Foundations, an orphanage which takes care of vulnerable children, especially females, and provide them with the basic needs to be enrolled in school.

Awards

The chamber used the ceremony to recognise the contributions of some individuals and organisations that have helped the chamber in diverse ways in the year 2018.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Alan John Kyerematen was adjudged the Most Outstanding Government Official, the highest award of AMCHAM, for his contribution to the chamber.

The Assistant Editor of the Graphic Business, Mr Charles Benoni Okine, was also recognised for his continuous support in championing the course of AMCHAM to the benefit of Ghanaian and Unites States’ businesses in the country in the year under review.

Other awardees included Newmont Ghana, Kimathi & Partners, a leading international law firm, Kosmos Energy, and Conship Ghana.

The event was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Charles Owiredu, the acting US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christopher J. Lamora, business executives from the American and Ghanaian business community and officials from the US Mission to Ghana.

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