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Business News of Tuesday, 18 April 2017


‘Government has laid a solid foundation’ - IEA

Eric Osei Assibey Eric Osei Assibey

Dr. Eric Osei Assibey, an Adjunct Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Tuesday said the Government had laid a solid foundation that would propel it to achieve its electoral promises.

He noted that when the manifesto of the New Patriotic Party was juxtaposed over what it had achieved within the 100 days in office, it deserved some commendations because it had laid the policy framework for smooth take-off.

‘‘We hope the government would continue to take prudent policy decisions that would inure to the benefit of the ordinary Ghanaian and avoid spending outside the budget for the sake of fulfilling election promises,’’ he stressed.

Dr Assibey, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, made the remarks in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, in reaction to the government’s 100 days in office, which Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President, presented to the public at a Town Hall Meeting last Monday.

He said in spite of the good policy decisions the government had taken so far, it must ensure prudent financial management to consolidate fiscal gains and stabilise the macro-economic environment.

Commenting on the public bond issued by the government which fetched the nation $2.25billion dollars, Dr Assibey said it was innovative and strategic way of re-structuring the country’s debts since it did not add-up to the existing debt stock.He said it would relief government of any pressure of having to service another debt and thus, create fiscal space to secure funding for other relevant programmes.

‘‘The good news about the 15-year public bond is that, it was issued in Cedis, which would be paid in dollars and this would increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves and ensure macro-economic stability,’’ he explained.

Touching on the cancellation of some Power Purchasing Agreements, he said it was a wise decision because the existing installed power capacity of the country was sufficient and that there was no need to rush for any power agreements, adding that the thermal plants and other power producers must produce power to meet public demand.

‘‘I don’t think the government must rush into any Power Purchasing Agreements because the installed power capacity could serve both domestic and industrial needs, only that the VRA and GLICO must meet the current demand’’

With regard to government’s decision to ensure all public contracts signed to be given unique code for easy tracking, the Senior lecturer, said the bane of the previous administration was a situation, where contracts were signed at the blindside of the Central Government.

He, therefore, noted that the decision would enable the government to monitor and track all public contracts to avoid financial waste and control government expenditure.

Dr Assibey expressed the hope that various programmes such as the free senior high school, paying of allowances for teacher trainees and nurses among other promises, as well as tax exemptions in the 2017 budget would be fulfilled to give meaning to what the government had been touting as achievements chalked within the first 100 days in office.