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Gov’t to Fight Fiscal Indiscipline — Osafo-Maafo

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Ten years ago, developing countries were catching up with developed ones remarkably quickly; it was an aberration but Ghana, for lack of Fiscal discipline failed to join the winning team despite the many doors of financial opportunities opened to her. Ghana has since suffered fiscal overruns consistently for years, raising concerns about introducing a control mechanism to checkmate the slippage. Its for this reason and more that the Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo has reiterated government’s decision to pass a Fiscal Responsibility Act which will allow for the establishment of a Fiscal Responsibility Council. Speaking at the Launch of the 2018 Ghana Economic Forum (GEF), held in Accra, yesterday, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said, “We are going to have a Fiscal Responsibility Council, made up of eminent Ghanaians who understand the microenvironment, who would make sure that we keep within certain limits so that our fiscal deficit would not be above five per cent of GDP.” After, the enactment of the law, no government would be allowed to make expenses exceeding the proposed figure neither would they be permitted to borrow beyond 10% of the country’s previous total revenue as stipulated by the Bank of Ghana Act. This, the Senior Minister said would help strengthen Ghana’s Macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability―one of the thematic areas earmarked by government to build a competitive economy for sustainable growth. The senior minister listed fiscal indiscipline as the number cause of Ghana’s stunted growth. “If we don’t work on this and provide guidelines…then we are going nowhere as a country,” he stressed. He continued: “It is only by growing that we can solve the unemployment problem…our number problem today is unemployment and not until we are able to keep growth at certain speed and at certain sectors, a growth that is inclusive, we will still have issues. Growth 2008-2018 On the Macroeconomic front, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said, government is on course especially after long years of decline in GDP growth from 2008 without oil rising to 14% in 2011 when commercial oil production had just kicked in. Ironically, even with oil production, Ghana’s growth rate took a downward turn reaching its lowest of 3.7% in 2016 but has since seen a sustainable growth of 8.5% after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into power. For the private sector to succeed, there is the need to ensure macroeconomic stability through which businesses can plan well, the senior minister noted. GEF The Seventh Edition of the GEF started yesterday with more than 500 local and international business leaders as participants. Anchoring the programme on the Theme: ‘Building a Competitive Economy for Sustainable Growth,” participants are expected to discuss and raise recommendations that would improve the development of Ghanaian businesses. It was established seven years ago to facilitate dialogue between private and public sectors to improve the business environment in Ghana. By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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