The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the government is managing the finances of the country with discipline and competence.
Presenting the 2021 Mid-Year Budget in Parliament, Mr Ofori-Atta said this is a manifestation of the fiscal operations in the first half of the year, adding the government has managed the economy better than it was managed in 2016.
“We are managing the finances of the country with discipline and competence. The fiscal operations for the period January to June 2021 indicate that the overall budget deficit was ¢22.32 billion, equivalent to 5.1%of GDP. The corresponding primary balance for the period was a deficit of ¢7.3 billion, equivalent to 1.7% of GDP, against a target deficit of GH¢4,797 or 1.1% of GDP.
“We will continue to pursue our fiscal consolidation agenda to ensure that we remain within the appropriation given by this House [Parliament],” he explained.
He further said the country’s macroeconomic indicators are pointing to the right direction despite the impact of Covid-19 on the economy which has shot up the country’s debt levels.
“We would like to note that notwithstanding our elevated debt levels as a result of COVID-19, our inflation rate is lower than it was in 2016, our interest rates are lower than they were in 2016, our exchange rate is more stable than it was in 2016, our foreign exchange reserves are much higher than they were in 2016, and we did not have to lay off any worker, nor cancel teacher and nursing training allowance.
“Furthermore, we did not go to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for a bailout programme, neither have we built an interchange for the price of three. This is because we have managed the economy much better than it was managed up to 2016. Let us not forget,” he pointed out.
On the back of these and other deliberate policies, the Finance Minister noted the country has attracted more foreign direct investments in the midst of the pandemic, outlining further that as of end-June 2021, total FDI into the country was valued at $954.2 million, indicating an increase of 71.2%, from $557.2 million recorded over the same period last year.
Economic recovery on course
“The strong rebound in growth, the low inflation rates, the stable currency, the strong reserve position and FDI flows are clear indicators of economic recovery. Indeed, the strategic investments we collectively made in building strong economic fundamentals in the three years prior to this pandemic, as well as the subsequent speed, scope and scale of our socio-economic response to the pandemic, is fueling our recovery,” Mr Ofori-Atta added
“I stand before this august House [Parliament] today to assure the nation that our transformation agenda is very much on course. However, with Covid-19 still with us, it is important to stress that this recovery is only the beginning; a beginning that requires our collective sense of responsibility and action as citizens to guide, protect and participate in the recovery efforts,” he said.