2 April 2014

Ghana: Physical Measures Will Begin Yielding Results Next Year-Finance Minister

press release

Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, says the government has no intention of controlling the economy with the measures being implemented to promote fiscal discipline.

According to Mr Terkper, these fiscal policy measures will begin yielding positive results next year.

The minister, who briefing Parliament on the state of the economy yesterday, said government was confident that the measures, all of which are "home grown", are capable of making the economy readjust.

Mr Terkper said despite the marginal gains made so far, the threat of volatility still existed and, therefore, urged strict adherence to the measures.

Despite the fear that the fiscal measures would cause disaffection among investors, the Finance Minister said, Ghana still remained a favourable investment destination.

He promised the House that he would brief Parliamentarians regularly on the state of the economy.

Commenting on the statement, the Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, said the economy was a serious matter that should not be left in the hands of politicians alone or subjected to partisan politics.

He commended the finance minister for sending out the signals that in terms of the country's macro-economic framework, these were the red flag areas and this was what we needed to do as a people to address them.

Dr Kunbuor called on managers of the economy to avoid confusing structural approaches with monetary policies.

"You cannot use only your monetary tools to address a problem that has structural features. You cannot also address the structural aspects of the economy within four years," he said.

For his part, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, acknowledged the government for exhibiting frankness on the state of the economy and urged other government officials to take a cue from the finance minister.

"Very often the acerbic tongue, the language, and the vitriol that people pour on critics of government, certainly is not worth it," he said.

He indicated that the statement by the minister was imperative and added that the economic challenges professed by the finance minister actually began long ago.

The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Anthony Akoto-Osei, said it was good that finally the government had come out to admit that the country was going through financial challenges after initially telling the country that the economy was in good shape.

He commended the government for showing the commitment to confront the challenges to whip up confidence in investors, but added that the measures outlined by the minister could not be the only solutions to address the challenges.

For instance, he said, even though a moratorium had been put on loans, new loans were still coming into the House for approval.

On the freeze on wage increases, he said that measure would not be possible especially at a time when inflation was on the rise and advised the government to rather adopt a low wage increase rather than a complete freeze on wage increases. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, James Avedzi, said it was important that Ghanaians were made aware of what was happening in the country and the measures the government was putting in place to address those challenges.

"I am very happy that Ghanaians are made aware of what is happening to us in the country," he said, and commended the government for the bold interventions to save the economy.

Source :ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)

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