Ahead of today’s presentation of the 2018 Budget to parliament, the Ministry of Finance has been touting some of the key policy initiatives in the 2017 budget that have been achieved by the government.
The government said it has used the 2017 budget to sow the seeds for growth and Jobs, noting it has set the stage for industrialising Ghana from the ground up using the One District, One Factory, One District, One Warehouse and the National Industrial revitalisation programme.
According to the government, prudent debt management outlined in the 2017 budget has led to some success.
- Launched a GHC9 billion domestic bond to lengthen the maturity profile of public debt.
- Conducted a debt reprofiling exercise that improved the debt mix and lowered domestic interest by GHC600 million
- Ghana’s credit outlook changed positively for S&P and Fitch Credit Rating agencies.
- Interest rates declined from 21.5% to 15% on treasury bills.
It also touted the achievement of its campaign promise to restore allowances for trainees in the various health and teacher training institutions, as well as the recruitment of health officials and increase in peacekeeping allowances.
- Government restored training allowance to cover 54,840 trainees from 77 public health training institutions
- Government approved the recruitment of 15,667 health workers
- Restored teacher trainee allowances to cover 49,000 teacher trainees from 41 public colleges of education.
- Increased peacekeeping allowances from 31 dollars to 35 dollars.
- Increased share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to persons with disability from 2% to 3%.
According to the government, it has also delivered on restoring economic growth in the country since taking over from the Mahama administration.
- Reduced debt to GDP ratio from 73% (Dec 2016) to 68.6% (Sept 2017)
- Reduced inflation from 15.4% (Dec 2016) to 12.2% (Sept 2017)
- Reduced monetary policy rate from 25.5 to 21%
- Improved Ghana’s soverign credit rating increased GDP from 3.7% to 3.9%
- Improved Ghana’s primary balance from -1.6% of GDP (2016) to 0.3% of GDP (Sept 2017)
On the issue of taxation, the government said within seven years, it has given tax reliefs to individuals and businesses in the country with the view to stimulating growth.
- Special Petroleum Tax reduced from 17.5% to 15%
- National Electrification and public lighting reduced from 5% to 2% and 5% to 3% respectively.
- Gains from realisation of securities listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange tax exempted for a period of five years.
- Replacement of 17.5% standard rate with a 3% flat VAT/NHIL rate for supplies by retailers and wholesalers.
On the education front, it said it has delivered on its promise to offer free education to pupils in senior high schools.
- Government absorbed all fees approved by GES Council for 353,053 first year students.
- Prompt release of feeding grant for the 2017/2018 academic year to cover over 7,000 pupils in all public Special Schools.
It said it has formalised the economy with the launch of the National Identification Programme and the National Digital Addressing System.
- The National Identification Programme launched and issued the first ‘Ghana card’ in October 2017.
- The Ghana National Digital Addressing System launched and digital addresses created.
The government said its flagship agric programme; the Planting for Food and Jobs has been progressing steadily, noting that major milestones have been achieved under it.
- Distributed 80,000 bags of cereal and legume seeds, 36,000 sachets of vegetable seeds and about 2,000,000 bags of fertilisers.
- Recruited 822 agricultural extension officers
- Linked institutional buyers to farmers
- Electronically registered over 34,000 farmers
- Reduced fertiliser prices by 50%
Note: Figures shown above were from the Ministry of Finance