Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that the Eighteen (18) months of President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo’s government is better that the Eight (8)years of ex-President John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress(NDC).
Presenting the 2018 Mid-Year Economic Review on the Floor of Parliament, the Finance Minister asserted that, in spite of the bad condition of Ghana’s economy at the time of taking over, the current government has managed to put the country on the course of major transformation.
He also asserted that, the government has prudently utilized the scanty of resources they inherited from the previous NDC government to the optimal benefit of the country, especially in stabilizing the economy, investing in people and easing the cost burdens of citizens.
Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta was in the House to present this year’s Mid-Year fiscal policy review of the economy in accordance with section 28 of the Public Financial Act 2016, Act 921.
Outlining performance of the economy, he indicated that, the government grew the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country by 8.5% under period of review. This was against the 3.7% growth as at December, 2016, by the previous NDC government.
According to him, current inflation stands at 11.8%, better than the 15.4% as at December 2016. Also, fiscal deficit dropped to 5.9% of GDP, better than the 9.3% of the previous NDC government as at December 2016.
The debt burden according to him, currently stands at 69.8% of GDP, better than the NDC’s 73.1%. Interest on 91 day Treasury Bills stood at 13.3% at current period of review, considering the 16.4% of the NDC.
He added that the Trade Balance currently stands at a surplus of 2.3% of GDP, far better than the deficit of 4.2% of GDP by the NDC government.
He also revealed that current account balance stands at a deficit of 4.6% of GDP, instead of 6.6% of GDP as at December 2016 under the erstwhile Mahama’s government.
According to him, Ghana currently have a 4.3 month imports cover of Gross International Reserves, against the 3.5 of the NDC.
With the cedi depreciation against the US Dollar, he said it currently stands at 4.9% against 9.6% under the NDC.
The country, he said, currently has a primary balance surplus of 0.6% of GDP, against a deficit of 1.4% of GDP under the NDC government.
He also asserted that the government has revamped the growth of the country, declining deficit at the same time.
Swerving speculators who predicted an increase in the Value Added Tax, the minister indicated that there would be no increase in VAT rate, however, it has now been converted into 2.5% straight levy.
He indicated that the government is on course of honouring all promises it gave to Ghanaians for which they voted for the NPP.
According to him, the implementation of the Free SHS policy, restoration of nurses’allowances, the kick starting of major flagship programmes such as the ‘One District One Factory, One Village One Dam’ and the rest, are testament to the above.
Adding that the infamous ‘dumsor’ that crippled industries for years has been permanently eliminated, with the assurance that steps would be taken in order to ensure that the nation do not go back to those dark days.
He further stated that, the government has so far transferred an amount of Gh¢3.701 million being the value of money in the Temporary Pensions Account of public sector workers’ pension fund to five sector pension schemes, in which public workers agitated for Seven (7) years under the NDC government.
He further emphasized his commitment to the fight against corruption, warning that officials who fall foul of having engaged in corruption would be prosecuted.
To this end, a special task force has been formed for such purpose, and also to help mobilize revenue.
Mr. Ofori-Atta further advised stakeholders to stop taking policy direction from the social media, arguably referring to the prediction of supposed increment in the VAT rate.
He touted that the country should recognize and associate with the fact that the world is hungry with action and not words.