9 January 2014

Ghana: Salaries Must Not Cost Us Development - Fiifi Kwetey

Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, a Minister of State on Monday reiterated the need for pragmatic measures to save the nation from spending the chunk its revenue on salaries at the expense of investment and development.

In a very passionate tone, the Minister, who is also an economist, pointed out that the nation was spending a very large part of its revenue on the payment of salaries and warned that Ghana could lose its competitiveness as the light for economic recovery to other African nations.

"Enough is enough, this path cannot continue. Let's make the effort to focus more on investment. There is hope for the country," the Minister said at a public forum on the first anniversary of the inauguration of President John Dramani Mahama.

The forum, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, on the theme: "Advancing the Better Ghana Agenda: Prospects for 2014," threw the searchlight on achievements and challenges of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by President Mahama since January 7, 2013.

Mr. Kwetey noted that the year 2013 was challenging, but also provided opportunities that could bring about a nation that was strong. He went down memory lane with a recall that most of the challenges were inherited, with a rate of inflation of 124 per cent in 1981, as a result of a number of state institutions that were not performing.

However, the economy of Ghana, the Minister said, registered consistent policy growth rates since 1984. Highlighting the performance of the Ghanaian economy under the NDC, Mr. Mr Kwetey observed that inflation was high point in the early period of the NDC Government, led by late President John Atta Mills, but with hard work by the Government, inflation was brought down to 10 per cent, and was kept at that level for a period exceeding three years.

Describing the achievement as wonderful, Mr. Kwetey added that there had been consistent stability in the economy, but the inherited Government debt soared as a result of the Single Spine Salary Structure.

He said about 4.5 billon cedis would have been saved but for implementation of the Single Spine, which caused inflation to start inching up, and consequently attracted the removal of subsidies.

Mr. Kwetey said inflation stood at 12 per cent at the close of the year 2013, but added, however, that the difficulties had not affected the growth of the economy.

In the area of Agriculture, Mr. Kwetey said the recent performance shows that a lot more is being achieved and portfolio also continues to grow.

"In 2013, the interest in the Ghanaian economy continued to grow. The Eurobond was greatly subscribed," the Minister said.

He called for a bi-partisan approach to address issues on Ghanaian economy, stressing the need for a change in the Ghanaian consciousness for investment, and using the youth to be more entrepreneurial, and taking advantage of the recently created Youth Enterprise Fund.

Other speakers at the forum, which was chaired and moderated by Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, a Presidential Adviser, on behalf of Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, were Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications; Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister in Charge of Tertiary Education, and Mr. Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations.


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