The government is upbeat about the growth prospects of the economy because of the various economic measures it is implementing.
Already, the services and the agricultural sectors have recorded positive growth and the government believes that with the easing of the power crisis, the performance of the two sectors will improve.
This was the optimism expressed by President John Dramani Mahama and his Cabinet at the end of a mid-year review of the economy at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra on Saturday.
The meeting reviewed the economic performance of the government and developed strategies to achieve macroeconomic and fiscal targets for the rest of the year. The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur; the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani; senior presidential advisers, Ministers of State and their deputies, presidential staffers, heads of strategic government agencies and the leadership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) attended the weekend retreat.
Speaking to journalists in Accra on Sunday, the Minister of Information & Media Relations, Mr Mahama Ayariga, said the retreat also discussed the outline for the 2014 budget estimates.
The presentations were led by the Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, and his economic team, which included the Director of Budget and Debt Management at the ministry, the acting Controller and Accountant-General, a deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana and his team from the bank and the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The discussions focused on measures being implemented to tackle the challenges facing macroeconomic management, particularly on the fiscal front, which is driven by a weak revenue performance, rising expenditure on wages and high interest costs.
According to Mr Ayariga, the country’s growth prospects were strong following the various measures being implemented by the government. “From the briefing and discussions, there has been significant success, despite the initial challenges, but we have to work to enhance efficiency in public expenditure, enhance productivity of public sector workers and improve revenue mobilisation,” he stressed.
The minister said the meeting considered the issue of public sector wages and the danger they continued to pose to public expenditure management. The government has been talking about the inappropriate expenditure on wages from tax revenue, and, according to Mr Ayariga, while welcoming the ongoing post-single spine forum activities, the meeting noted the negative effects of the high wages on infrastructure development.
In 2012, Ghana spent 73 per cent of its tax revenue on compensation for the less than 500,000 government employees. Comparatively, Kenya spends 39.8 per cent, Tanzania 28.6 per cent, Uganda 15.6 per cent and South Africa 12.9 per cent on wages and salaries for public sector workers. Compensation for employees has risen from GH¢1.4 billion in 2007 to as high as GH¢8.8 billion in 2012.
Ghana has to deal with the rising wage bill to create fiscal space for investment in goods and services and capital expenditure. The next retreat, which will review certain critical growth and development-enabling policies, has been scheduled for September.
Source: Graphic Business
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