Veep: Foreign reserves increase to US$8 billion

Vice President Dr. Bawumia interacting with some of the participants

Vice President Dr. Bawumia interacting with some of the participants

Government has increased the country’s foreign reserves from US$6 billion to US$8 billion in just three months.

In addition, inflation, which records the persistent increase in the general price level of goods and services, has been reduced from 15 per cent to 12.8 per cent.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced this yesterday when he enumerated a number of achievements of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration in its 100 days in office.

The Vice President said despite the initial signs of economic recovery, the government would continue to pursue sound policies to make the currency stable and recover the economy.

On the country’s debt situation, he said the government had initiated a move to exchange more expensive debts with less expensive debts.

He explained that the government is in the process of re-profiling the country’s debt by converting short term debt to long term debts and indicated that the initiative would have several positive implications on the economy, aside reducing the country’s debt stock.

As part of measures to check corruption and give the government an idea of its contract obligations, he said a new policy had been introduced in the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to give all contracts unique codes.

He said the policy was developed because most of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in previous administrations, issued contracts without the knowledge of the central government.

He said the decision to give all contracts unique GIFMIS code would check such practices and give the government the opportunity to control its expenditure and reduce the pressure on the public purse.

In line with the government’s commitments to ensure the ease of doing business in the country, he said the Companies Act was going to be amended to make it possible to register business within 24 hours.

The Vice President indicated that under the instructions of President Akufo-Addo, he visited the office of the Registrar of Companies and realised that it took weeks to register a company in the country due to some bottlenecks in certain provisions in the Companies Act.

“We are drafting a bill for the new Companies Act to incorporate these changes so that we can register businesses in just one day,” he said.

Vice President Bawumia noted that although the Constitution gave every government two years to come out with its economic and social intervention policy, the Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration had completed the process of drafting its policy for national development.

“The Constitution says it should be done in two years but the President gave us a task to prepare it in two months. We have done so and we will outdoor it in July,” he said.

He said the dream of President Akufo-Addo was to take the country beyond aid by building an economy capable of standing on its feet.

Vice President Bawumia noted that aside the GH¢457 million earmarked for the One District One Factory programme, the government had earmarked GH¢220 million stimulus package to support distressed but viable companies in the country.

On energy, he said the government had taken a decision to reject any power purchase agreement that cost the state more than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

He explained that the government would no longer contract any power producer who would charge the country more than 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

The decision, according to the Vice President, was a drastic move to reduce the cost of electricity in the country and bring relief to household and business consumers.

“Ghana is one of the countries paying high prices from power. We pay between 17 and 21 cents. Now, we are saying that you cannot charge us more than 10 cents,” he said.

In addition, he said the government would not contract any producer that produced with thermal because the country was transitioning from thermal to renewable energy.

Vice President Bawumia said a policy had been taken to move all government buildings, including schools, to solar to reduce the pressure on the national grid.

“We will not accept any thermal power purchase agreement again. If you have to bring us energy, you have to come up with renewable energy. If you want to do thermal, do not come to Ghana,” he said.

Touching on the recent increases in transport fares, he said the transport operators wanted to increase the fares by 30 per cent but the government negotiated to bring it down to 15 per cent.

However, he said the Metro Mass Transit and the State Transport Company which operated under the government’s supervision did not increase their fares.

“As the economy continues to stabilise, with fuel coming down, exchange rate down, we will ask that once there is a reversal in those factors, they should similarly reduce the prices,” Vice President Bawumia said.

By Yaw Kyei

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