Budget To Enhance Economy’s Resilience

seth terkperThe government has pledged to re-align the 2014 Budget and Economic Policy with national priorities, to enhance the resilience of the economy against risks and promote accelerated growth and development.

Presenting the budget and economic policy to Parliament in Accra yesterday, the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, said the government would achieve that by addressing the budget overruns, through a gradual shift to automatic adjustment of petroleum and utility prices, to help keep subsidy within budget estimates, and free more resources for key national projects.

“Other measures would include re-financing and extending the tenure of loans and bonds for financing the capital budget, implementing recovery schemes and establishing a debt service account to provide certainty of interest and loan repayments, he said.

The Minister said the government, consistent with the medium-term objectives, would pursue programmes and policies to achieve and sustain an average real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of not less than 8.0 per cent in the medium term, with annual real GDP growing at 8.0 percent in 2014, 8.3 percent in 2015 and 10.0 per cent in 2016.

The 2014-2016 GDP projection, according to the Minister, depicts a scaling up of agricultural output, a more evenly spread  industrial growth and a still strong performance in the Services Sector.

Mr Terkper said in line with the objective of maintaining a liberal tax regime, government proposed amendments including the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy, expected to end in December 2014, but now to terminate in June 2014, for consideration of the House

The Special Import Levy, scheduled to end in June 2015, will now end at the close of 2014, while  further proposing that agriculture and fishing inputs such as cutlasses, outboard motors and fishing nets be exempted from the Special Import Levy, with immediate effect.

Other exemptions like medical supplies such as condoms, educational materials and energy bulbs, were also exempted from import duty under, the original customs tariff.

The minister said the correction of economic threats is an obligation the country could not compromise. “We need to work harder than ever, to consolidate the economic fundamentals that have been built over the years.

“With the consolidation of these fundamentals, the transition from a lower middle income country to a middle income country will be easier,” he said.

The government, he said, would accelerate targeted investments in several sectors of the economy to cater for  public goods which facilitate private sector activities such as marketing and exportation.

These include infrastructure in transportation, energy, agriculture, public safety, education, and health.

He said the Ministry of Finance would lead a comprehensive review of services and charges at strategic public sectors, trade and investment locations such as the airports, harbours and other entry points, to ease business and reduce burdens on importers.

“It is the decision of government to consolidate various public sector identification programmes including: national identification, driver’s licence, national health insurance, taxpayer identification, and others as part of cost saving measures,” he said.  By David Adadevoh 

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