Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance
Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, yesterday presented the 2018 budget and economic policy statement of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to parliament with the assurance of building a society with equal opportunities for all Ghanaians for inclusive growth.
The budget, which is on the theme, “Putting Ghana Back to Work,” highlights some achievements recorded by the government in the past 10 months of this year.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the government had successfully maintained macroeconomic stability, rolled out the ‘Free Senior High School’ policy, ensured reliable supply of electricity, restored the confidence of businesses in the local economy, rolled out the teacher and nursing trainee allowances, the National Digital Property Addressing System, National Identification System, e-procurement system, and a host of other programmes and policies.
The minister noted that the year-on-year inflation had reduced from 15.4 per cent in 2016 to 11.6 per cent as at October 2017; the Policy Rate reduced from 26 per cent in 2016 to 21 per cent; Debts to GDP had reduced from 73 per cent in 2016 to 68.3 per cent and maintained fiscal discipline in government expenditures.
To sustain these gains and ensure a robust and resilient economy, he said, the government would continue to take strategic steps to fix the economy by ensuring macroeconomic stability, improve domestic revenue mobilisation, ensure tax compliance and widen the tax net to rope in the informal sector by implementing the National Digitisation Programme, ‘One District, One Factory,’ ‘One Village, One Dam,’ implement the ‘Agriculture Marshal Plan’ to enhance infrastructure, agribusiness and entrepreneurship, among other innovative programmes, to ensure sustainable economic growth.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the government is determined to ensure fiscal consolidation and protect the public purse by ensuring value for money by ensuring strict compliance to the public procurement laws through the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).
“Our commitment is to solidify the gains made as far as we remain the managers of the economy and energise the entrepreneurial spirit of every Ghanaian,” he emphasised.
The minister gave the assurance that the government would create opportunities for all Ghanaians, irrespective of one’s political inclination, gender, ethnic background or creed, with the private sector leading the industrialisation transformation agenda so that Ghana would be self-sustainable and develop beyond aid.
Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the government’s strategy to enhance economic growth is to add value to the country’s raw materials to ensure a resilient economy, which could withstand external economic shocks.
“The government will ensure open, self-confidence, optimistic, democratic, mutual trust and opportunity for all,” he stated.
Characteristic of such occasions, the minority side of parliament – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – interrupted the finance minister’s address, with shouts and waving of hands to express their disagreement; while the majority side – the NPP – hailed him for being on point and encouraged him to continue delivering.
The speaker, Prof Mike Oquaye, brought them to order when he felt they had gone beyond conventional practice.
The presentation of the annual budget by the Government is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.