The government has re-affirmed its resolve not to overspend this year to impress the public, but to stay within the projected four per cent fiscal deficit, in order not to derail from a stable macroeconomic environment.
The Chairman of the President’s Economic Advisory Council, Dr Ishmael Yamson, and a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Fiifi Kwetey, gave
the assurance at the opening of the two-day Euromoney Conference currently underway in Accra.
The event was co-hosted by Euromoney Conferences and Ghana's Finance Ministry. The first in the country, the conference is a major platform for policy and strategy debate and its carefully selected local and expatriate speakers will highlight Ghana’s attractions as a foreign direct investment (FDI) destination.
It comes in the wake of worldwide attention on Ghana as one of the fastest growing economies of the world and regional centres for minerals, gold and cocoa, and the new-found oil and gas that make it ripe for foreign investment.
It is sponsored by Ecobank and co-sponsors, the Agricultural Development Bank, Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Ghana Stock Exchange. Other sponsors include HFC Bank, accounting firm, PWC, and the Venture Capital Trust Fund.
Dr Yamson stated that having graduated from a low-income economy to a lower middle-income status, the government would continue programmes that ensured stable macroeconomic fundamentals, and take advantage of the opportunities associated with an oil-producing economy.
“The whole economy is geared up and is ready to take up all the opportunities that present themselves. Ghana, without doubt, has become a very attractive partner for trade and investment across a multitude of sectors. The government will continue to make frantic efforts to make Ghana the best destination for foreign investment into Africa, Dr Yamson stated.
He, however, said the country was aware that much needed to be done, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, human capital development, equitable income distribution and efficient resource mobilisation.
Recognised as one of the fastest growing economies in the world after growing at 13.6 per cent at the close of last year, Ghana continues to attract a lot of interests in many areas including the emerging oil and gas industry.
Foreign Direct investments (FDIs) subsequently increased from the 4.28 per cent of the total value of goods and services produced within the economy – Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – in 2008 to 6.44 per cent of GDP in 2009 and to a further 8.07 per cent in 2010.
Dr Yamson drew the investor community’s attention to various opportunities in infrastructure development which had been buoyed with the National Public Private Partnership Framework, with which the government was hoping to deliver more infrastructure such as roads and highways, hospitals and schools.
For his part, Mr Kwetey, who was interviewed, said although 2012 was an election year in which governments in Ghana traditionally exceeded budgeted expenditure, the government would not over-spend in order to overheat the economy thereafter.
“We are very mindful that this year is an election year, but we will not overspend. We’ll stay within a fiscal deficit range of four per cent of GDP target although this is slightly higher than the desirable average,” Mr Kwetey said.
On oil and gas, he said the Stabilisation and Heritage Funds created under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act would ensure that while about 70 per cent of the revenue was dedicated to infrastructure development under the budget, the rest would go into the twin funds.
He said the funds would insulate the economy against economic shocks and guarantee that future generations benefit from the oil.
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