Govt economic records impressive- Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

 

Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah

Kwadwo Oppong Nkrumah

A Deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said the positive economic indicators under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government are facts which cannot be denied.

 

He said that though the government has recorded impressive growth in every aspect of the economy, more needed to be done to bring the economic relief Ghanaians so yearn for.

 

In a debate on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday ahead of the adoption or otherwise of the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government, Mr Nkrumah said having a strong economic foundation was the antidote to a sound economy.

 

According to Oppong Nkrumah, upon assumption of office, the government reduced fiscal deficit from 9.3 of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in to 2016 to 5.9 “and Mr Speaker, I will go ahead to add that this year, we are targeting to reduce it further to 4.5 per cent.”

 

Inflation, he said, has been on the decline from 15 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent now, public debt reduced from 73 in 2016 of GDP to 69 “and our target in the medium term is to get it down to 65 per cent of GDP.”

 

“In growth, we have grown from 3.7 as at the end of 2016 to 8.5 in 2017 and we hope to keep our growth above six per cent in this fiscal year.

 

“We have reduced interest rate from about 16.4 per cent for 91-day bills down to about 13.3 per cent and we hope and expect to carry it down a bit further.

 

“Mr Speaker, these are facts of our fiscal and macro improvements and denial is not an option,” the former broadcaster said to cheers from his majority side.

 

But the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Casiel Ato Forson, disagrees.

 

According to him, the budget review exercise which was presented by the Finance Minister laid before Parliament last Thursday means more hardship for the Ghanaian as the recalibrated Value Added Tax (VAT) would bring more hardship on the citizenry.

 

In his view, government was increasing consumption as an allocation of over GH¢2 billion to be channelled into capital expenditure was underperforming to the tune of over GH¢1 billion.

 

“Mr Speaker, in as much as capital expenditure is going down, at a rate which is not helpful, consumption expenditure is going up” a situation he said was not good for the country.

 

Mr Forson said government was programmed to borrow GH¢1.122 billion for January to May but has ended up borrowing GH¢4 billion more, opining that “the rate at which this government is borrowing is something we would have to question.”

 

He said the government was not honouring payments to the statutory funds like the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), National Health Insurance amongst others and feared that could run them into debt.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

 

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