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General News of Monday, 17 April 2017


100 days of change: We have arrested the cedi – Bawumia

The vice president has touted the current government as achieving what previous administrations have failed to do, mentioning the cedi's appreciation and fiscal consolidation as such major feats.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration in 100 days has accomplished what detractors thought could not be achieved.

The Vice President made the remark at Joy News' 100 days Town Hall on Monday at the New Court Complex in Accra.

He said contrary to criticisms that the first 100 days of the government have been marked by wrong calls on the economic front, there is evidence of progress such as a stable local currency that has brought some relief to investors and business owners.

"We have arrested the cedi from running," he said.

The cedis has sustained its appreciation against the US dollar over the last two months.

The local currency has appreciated by some 0.41 percent since the beginning of the year, selling at GH¢4.16 to the dollar among commercial banks as Wednesday April 12, 2017 – the local currency’s best performance against the U.S dollar on the last trading day in December 2016.

Fiscal consolidation

The Vice President also waded into Ghana’s perennial problem of poor fiscal consolidation and lauded the Finance Ministry for succeeding where past budgets have failed.

Despite the poor finances inherited by the current government from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Bawumia said the 2017 budget has secured a strong footing within the first 100 days in government.

“In the 2017 budget, we turned Ghana back onto the path of fiscal consolidation with a budget deficit target of 6.5%. We ended 2016 with a budget deficit close to 9%...Government also created a lot of fiscal space by capping earmarked funds to 25% of government revenue and realigning expenditures to government priorities.

"This capping of the earmarked funds is a remarkable reform especially if you look at 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 budgets all these budgets attempted to do this and expressed the intention to do this but never did it. But under Nana Akufo-Addo we did in the first budget,” he said.

Had this not been achieved the country would have continued its plunge into further economic challenges.

Focus on production

The 2017 budget, he said also saw Ghana moving away from an economy that was primarily focused on taxes to an economy that is focused on production.

This singular move, he said, will provide incentives to the private sector to bring down the tax rate and increase production,
Furthermore, the Vice President said the current government in 100 days has saved the country more than $300 million.

This, he notes have been achieved through the cancellation of some 20-poorly-though-out power purchasing agreements entered into by the previous NDC government.