First budget was impactful — Government
The government has described the first budget implementation cycle as very successful and impactful, noting that the successes chalked up have resulted in a significant economic transformation of the country.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, said the second quarter of 2018 was also showing positive indicators.
He expressed gratitude to God for the abundant grace and blessings He showered on the nation that led to the success story.
He said the government was also grateful to all stakeholders, particularly Ghanaians and the country’s development partners, for their immense support and contributions to the economic transformation.
“As we end the full 12-month cycle of the first budget of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and begin the second quarter of year 2018, we wish to acknowledge the Almighty God for His blessings onto us and the President,” the minister said.
A statement issued by the government in Accra yesterday also outlined increased economic stability, declining inflation, declining interest rates and exchange rate stability as some of the achievements that had been chalked up.
It said Ghana’s status as the fastest growing economy in the world in 2017, fiscal discipline in the management of public finances which resulted in the government attaining its budget deficit target for the first time since 2006 and the introduction of free senior high school education were positives that could not be glossed over.
It mentioned other achievements as the restoration of teacher trainee and nursing trainee allowances, the setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the appointment of Mr Martin Amidu as the Special Prosecutor and the laying of the Right to Information Bill before Parliament.
Other positives mentioned were the saving of GH¢5 billion public funds by the Auditor-General through a special audit he conducted, a functional digital property addressing system, the creation of a Ministry for Zongo and Inner City Development, along with a Zongo Development Fund, as well as the passage of a law establishing the Northern, Middle Belt and Coastal Development authorities which would facilitate the operationalisation of the authorities this year.
The rest of the achievements mentioned were the reduction of the debt-to-GDP ratio from 73 per cent to 69.8 per cent by the end of 2017, the significant progress made in the implementation of the mobile interoperability payments system which will be launched in some few weeks’ time, the increasing confidence in doing business and the upgrade of Ghana’s international sovereign credit ratings by agencies such as Fitch and Standard and Poor’s.
“We are thankful that we are fixing the economic mess we inherited and the data show clearly that the economy is getting stronger,” it said.
Work in progress
The statement said the One-village, One-dam project was on course and would be officially launched in a few weeks’ time, while the National Identification Project was also on course and would start the mass issuance of cards soon.
Again, it said, electricity tariffs had been reduced by 17.5 per cent for households and 30 per cent for businesses.
“We are thankful that the resort to sole sourcing for contracts has dramatically reduced; we are thankful that the government reduced or abolished some 15 taxes and levies, such as the Special Import Levy, the VAT on real estate sales, the Kayayei Levy, the national street lighting levy, the Special Petroleum Tax, etc.
We are thankful for the introduction of a paperless regime at our ports,” it said.
It added that preparations for the launch of the Nation Builders Corps (under which 100,000 graduates will be recruited) were advanced and the corps would be launched before the end of this month.
“We are thankful for competent economic management.
We are thankful that we have been able to increase the share of the District Assemblies Common Fund for persons with disabilities from two to three per cent, something previous governments promised but was not done,” it said.