Economy of Ghana Ghana will emerge stronger from deficit setback - Ofori Atta

Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta said that although his government inherited a budget deficit of about 10 percent – wider than the 5.3 percent that was agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he is confident the country will bounce back stronger.

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The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, has given the strongest indication yet that Ghana will emerge stronger from its economic challenges, as the NPP-led administration works to restore fiscal discipline and policy credibility.

Speaking to the media, Ofori Atta said that although his government inherited a budget deficit of about 10 percent – wider than the 5.3 percent that was agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he is confident the country will bounce back stronger.

He explained that government is currently undertaking an audit of the economy it inherited from the previous National Democratic Congress government. He explained that this will help them get a clear picture of the state of play.

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“We are still in the validating stage. So, in the end, we don’t know the full quantum of it, but whatever it is it enables you to now have discussions with the IMF which may bring new solutions as to what the programme will be like. So, I think we are in the discovery stage. I mean, clearly, it is a setback of some sort but I suspect we will find solutions to it as we grab hold of it.”

“We are hopeful because we believe that we can restore policy credibility and we would be able to enforce the public financial management act to restore the discipline that is required to stabilise the economy,” he added.

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He further added that even though they ensure fiscal discipline is practiced, they will also ensure that unemployment is reduced drastically.

“We are talking about growth that will create jobs and then really create what I would call economic freedom so that private enterprise will thrive and also create an environment for external resources in terms of partnership to come into Ghana for us to get the growth we need,” the Finance Minister said.

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The New Patriotic Party government during the political campaign in 2016 promised a drastic reduction in taxes to provide relief to the private sector as a means to stimulate economic growth.

Ofori Atta reiterated that government will fully abide by its promise as stated.

“We made a pledge in our manifesto that we will do that and we think quite a number of them are what we call nuisance taxes. So, we certainly will. It is a mix of things, from levies to exemptions to capital gains tax, and we are going to calculate to see which ones will be most effective. But, certainly, in the budget, we will lay it out and you will see some tax reductions.”

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