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2018 Budget To Focus On Agric, Industrialization
 
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11-Sep-2017  
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The Ministry of Finance has revealed that the 2018 Budget will focus primarily on agriculture and industrialization.

Deputy Minister of Finance in-charge of Budget, Abena Osei Asare, made this known on Friday in Accra at a stakeholders’ engagement on the 2018/2021 budget.

According to her, the Akufo-Addo-led administration would focus on massive industrialization and development of the agricultural sector in 2018.

The move, she said, seeks to address issues of high unemployment, particularly among the youth.

The 2018 budget is expected to be presented to Parliament in November 2017 to take effect from January, next year.

Sectors Outlook

The country’s agricultural sector has reportedly declined steadily in the last seven years in terms of its contribution to Gross Domestic Product.

A provisional data captured in 2016 budget released by the Ministry of Finance showed that the sector’s contribution to GDP in 2015 is estimated at 19%, as compared to the 21.5 percent recorded in 2014.

Despite a 3.6% growth target for the sector in 2015, provisional data by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) which was also captured in the 2016 Budget statement show the sector has only grown by 0.04%.

In 2014, the agricultural sector grew by 4.6% according to revised data by the GSS despite a 5.2% target for the year.

The industrial sector in the country has also seen a decline over the years, with many state industries facing collapse due in part to poor management.

Renewed Energy

But Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said government was poised to make agric more dynamic, indicating that the intention is to use agriculture as a catalyst for industrialization under the ‘One District, One Factory ‘policy of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

That, he said, may require the Agricultural Development Bank (adb) to revert to its core principle of supporting the agricultural sector instead of operating as a commercial bank.

Tax Cuts

Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng said government was still committed to honouring its 2016 manifesto pledges with respect to tax cuts.

He reiterated that government was able to cut some taxes in 2017 budget and shall do same in 2018 and the years ahead.

“We promised tax cuts in our manifesto, we have a mandate of four years. We have promised that we will deliver on all those tax cuts, but we have to be quick to add that we should be careful in order to manage these tax measures in such a way that they do not collapse the economy,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the stakeholders’ meeting.

He added that “We provided quite many tax reliefs in the 2017 budget, we will do some more in the 2018 budget statement.”

Caution

“The focus of the business community and the general public should not be too much on tax cuts, which have the potential to adversely affect the growth of the country’s economy.

“So we ask stakeholders to exercise patience, we would deliver on all the tax measures we promised them in our manifesto and in the 2017 budget,” Mr Kwarteng said.

The meeting, held under the theme: ‘Strengthening Partnership For Economic Growth and Development,’ was organized by the Ministry of Finance and GIZ to provide the platform for key stakeholders such as traditional rulers, market women, traders’ associations, engineers, civil society groups, religious leaders, journalists, among others, to make their inputs into the budget for 2018.

Commenting on the rationale of the meeting, Mr. Kwarteng said “we read the budget not for ourselves, but we do that for businesses and for Ghanaians and therefore it is important that before we do that we do have this kind of consultation with representatives of various stakeholders so that we prepare the budget bearing in mind things that are immediately of concern to them. But also these pre-budget engagements allow us to communicate some of the ideas we have for the 2018 budget,” he added.
 
 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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