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Ghana poised for balance of trade surplus …President predicts by the end of 2019 financial year

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has predicted a surplus trade balance for the country by the end of the 2019 financial year.

Ghana recorded higher exports than imports for the first time in a decade in 2017 and maintained the feat in 2018.

According to the President, the gains will be consolidated when the country ends this year with a balance of trade surplus.

Speaking at the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Forum organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industries, in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo touted the macro-economic success of his administration over the past three years, having inherited an economy that was “in distress”.

The forum formed part of government’s comprehensive public-private dialogue framework designed to provide a structured and institutionalised mechanism for consultations between government and the private sector. 

President Akufo-Addo said since 2017, the economy had been growing steadily above seven per cent and, in the last two years, had been among the world’s fastest growing economies.

“Indeed, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects Ghana’s economy this year to have one of the world’s highest growth rates of 7.6 per cent. Inflation for September stood at 7.6 per cent, the lowest in over two decades,” he said. 

Fiscal deficits has also been brought down to 4.5 per cent, the President said and added that external reserves as of June 2019 stood at 4.3 months of import cover. 

“All our macro-economic indices are pointing in the right direction. And it comes at no surprise therefore that today, Ghana is the leading recipient of foreign direct investments in West Africa,” he said.

The President said the country could now access Eurobonds at lower rates and longer maturities because international credit rating companies had recognised the economic successes and increased the country’s credit ratings.

He pledged to continue to ensure the stabilisation of the country’s economy to ensure that the country reached a situation where it would no longer need support from external donors. 

To ensure discipline in the management of the economy, he said an Economic Advisory Council made up of renowned economists, headed by the former Vice President of the IMF and former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Paul Acquah had been established to ensure that the government complied with fiscal laws, rules and targets.

“I am committed to fiscal rectitude becoming an essential feature of our DNA in the management of our public finances and national economy,” he said. 

President Akufo-Addo touched on the banking sector clean up and noted that the difficult decisions taken by the government had significantly enhanced liquidity in the sector.

The President used the occasion to explain the Business Regulatory Reform Programme which seeks to support Ghanaian businesses to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. 

He said the programme would help strengthen local industries to make them competitive and help make Ghana’s business environment the most transparent and efficient in Africa. 

The Business Regulatory Reform Programme is a three-year initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and implemented in partnership with other stakeholders.

The programme, aimed at improving the business atmosphere in the country, consists of seven components, President Akufo-Addo said.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, in an address, said the government would commit to creating the platform for the private sector to contribute to the improvement of the country’s policy and regulatory environment.

BY YAW KYEI

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