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2017 Budget: 'Through Jesus Christ We Can Resolve These Challenges..." - Finance Minister
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Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, went a bit religious during his intro as he presented the much anticipated 2017 Budget Statement and Government Economic Policy on behalf of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Parliament on Thursday.

In his characteristic white African printwear, the Finance Minister was heavily heckled for paying tribute to founding members of the country including JB Danquah, resulting in a clearly outraged Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, threatening to suspend sitting if MPs will not cease the heckling and take notes to enhance debate later on.

Ken Ofori-Atta noted that the economy is distressed because of excessive borrowing, weak commitment to control, excessively priced procurements, inflated costs, among others. According to him, “the country's debt stock has reached a level of approximately 73 per cent of GDP as at the end of 2016, which is in excess of the debt sustainability threshold of 70%”, resulting in “high debt service costs with interest payments alone taking up nearly 42 per cent of tax revenue”.

This together with “compensation of employees, is more than the total domestic revenue, leaving no fiscal space for growth-enhancing policy programmes and expenditures”, he added. 

Bandying figures to buttress his point of “how challenged” the economy is, he revealed that “total expenditures at the end of December 2016 stood at 30.3 per cent of GDP against the target of 26.4 per cent of GDP with an outstanding stock of arrears of nearly GHS7 billion. This is at variance with the performance criteria on the non-accumulation of arrears of the 2016 fiscal year under the IMF-supported credit facility programme”.

The Finance Minister however gave the assurance that irrespective of the fact that the Private sector is struggling and “the large fiscal slippages” that resulted “in the fiscal deficit of 8.7 per cent of GDP on a cash basis and a 10.3 per cent on commitment basis” which clearly is “a sharp deflation from the IMF programme fiscal target of 5.3 per cent of GDP”, the current administration will reverse the dwindling fortunes of the Ghanaian economy.

Through Jesus Christ we can resolve these challenges and establish a righteous and just society for all...Our goal is to build the most business-friendly and people-centred economy in Africa which will translate into job creation and prosperity for all Ghanaians...We intend to reverse this trend and restore fiscal discipline,” Ken Ofori-Atta indicated.
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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