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Business News of Monday, 24 November 2008

Source: GNA

Robust revenue mobilisation needed to reduce global crisis impact

Accra, Nov. 24, GNA - Domestic resource mobilisation and rationalisation of expenditure are key to reducing the impact of the global financial crisis on Ghana, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, said on Monday.

Speaking at roundtable on the "Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Ghana," Dr Osei said robust collection of revenue and putting a lid on non-essential expenditure must just help to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

The discussion was the first in a series of annual lectures to be held in honour of the late Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu's contribution to the development of economic and financial journalism in the country. The global crisis that began in September this year in the US has swept across various regions with developing countries expected to bear the brunt of the effects.

There are fears that with the credit crunch and weaker growth, government in developing countries would have less money to spend on essential services such as health and education. Ghana, for instance, has a sizeable account deficit which it has in part funded through foreign borrowing, including a recent Eurobond issue.

However, Dr Osei said, with the credit crunch resource mobilisation from the external capital markets, was likely to be difficult while domestic borrowing might in the long-run reverse the gains made in the economy and hurt the development of the private sector. Dr Osei said while donors would continue to fulfil their commitments to the country, the onus was on government to maintain fiscal discipline and adopt innovative means to shore up revenue mobilisation from domestic sources.

The Country Director of World Bank, M r Ishac Diwan said the immediate impact of the crisis would be a fall in the prices of primary commodities, which incomes were essential to the budget of most developing countries. This, he said, would entail that developing countries needed to borrow more money to be able to stimulate domestic consumption and public spending.

Mr Diwan said foreign investment, banks borrowing from abroad and expansion of agriculture would be difficult because of the financial global crisis. Mr. Arnold McIntyre, Resident Representatives of International Monetary Fund, said rationalisation of expenditure in the areas of growth and poverty would be essential in reducing the impact. Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association GJA and the World Bank Group on Monday launched an award in memory of the late Mr Baah-Wiredu. To be known as the Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Finance and Economic Journalist of the Year Award, it would reward journalists, who showed excellence in economic reporting.

The President of Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Ransford Tetteh, said the award was named after the late Minister for his readiness to talk to the media at any time and also providing information which any person will understand. 24 Nov. 08

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