Veep: Govt is determined to transform economy

Vice President Amissah-ArthurVice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said the government will continue to initiate policies which will transform the economy and accelerate the development of the country.

“There is the need for “immediate and long term policies to salvage the economy,” he stated at the launch of the International Monetary Fund Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in Accra yesterday.

The three-chapter bi-annual report tagged “Navigating Headwinds,” produced by the African Department of the IMF, highlights the economic prospects as well as social and economic challenges, the demographic transition of SSA and trade integration.

The Vice President said Ghana would continue to position itself to be the economic model for countries in the sub-region, stressing that the country “since independence, has represented Africa’s economic successes”.

“The government will ensure that the right policy choices are made so that we can move to the future with confidence,” he said.

Mr Amissah-Arthur warned against the numerous conflicts and xenophobic attacks in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, noting that the menace, if not stopped, could hamper the trade integration and economic progress the region had achieved.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur commended the IMF for the report and the choice of Ghana for the launch of the report, saying “the launch of the report in the country, demonstrates the confidence the Fund has in the Ghanaian economy.”

“The IMF Africa Regional Economic Outlook has become an important document for most academics, businesses and even ordinary Ghanaians,” he said.

He dispelled rumours that the IMF was launching the report in Ghana in a move   to monitor the country’s fiscal expenditure and economic performance.

The Director of Africa Region of IMF, Antoinette Sayeh, said the short and long term economic outlook for SSA is “bright,” saying it is projected to grow at 4.5 per cent this year, below the five per cent recorded in 2014.

She attributed the drop in growth to the decline in oil prices and other commodities on the international market.

According to her, the price of crude which stood above $100 per barrel in June last year, had dropped more than 50 per cent on the world market to $56.99.

Dr Joe Abbey, Executive Secretary of the Centre for Policy Analysis and Dr Joe Amoako-Tuffour, a Senior Fellow at the African Centre for Economic Transformation, who spoke on the report, called on government to prioritise its spending, complete existing projects instead of initiating new ones and the need to add value to the country’s natural products for exports.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkper, said Ghana “fits into the discussions in the report.”

He said the challenges facing the economy, is due in part, to the decline in commodity and oil prices on the world market, saying he recently had go to Parliament to seek approval for the revision of the 2015 budget estimates.

Mr Terkper commended the IMF for its decision to launch the report which was simultaneously done in Ghana and Cameroon.

By Kingsley Asare and
Jennifer Apprey

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