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2018 Budget To Stimulate Growth • Macroeconomic Indicators On Track
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Figures released by the Finance Ministry indicate that the Ghanaian economy will end the year better than earlier projected.

According to highlights of the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy which was on the theme “Putting Ghana Back to Work’, provisional data from January to September 2017 shows nearly all macroeconomic indicators on target.

The economy which is expected to grow at a rate of 6.5 percent in 2017, registered a 7.8 percent overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first half of the year. It is however estimated to grow at a rate of 7.9 percent by the end of this year. Industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17.7 percent, whilst agriculture and services will grow at a rate of 4.3 and 4.7 percent respectively.
Overall budget deficit on cash basis was estimated at 4.5 percent of GDP as at September 2017, against a target of 4.8 percent of GDP. This means the targeted budget deficit of 6.3 percent of GDP is on track.

The budget also noted that the cedi is expected to depreciate at 4.0 percent against the US dollar in 2017. Presently, it is trading at GHc4.39 against the US dollar on the interbank forex market.

Interest rates on short term securities which began the year at almost 16 percent have largely declined to 13.2 percent for the 91-day Treasury bill and 14.1 percent for the 182-day Treasury bill. The monetary policy rate has also been lowered by 4.5 percentage points since January 2017 to 21.0 percent presently.
On revenue performance, total revenue and grants for the period January to September 2017 amounted to GH¢28.4 billion, equivalent to 14.1 percent of GDP, compared to a target of GH¢31.3 billion. Although the outturn is 9.3 percent below the budgeted target, it represents an annual growth of 16.2 percent.

With regard to the public stock debt, the budget noted that government through the prudent management of the economy has successfully reduced Ghana’s debt burden, primarily as a result of reduction in the fiscal deficit and a policy of debt re-profiling.

Reduction in electricity tariff

The government also announced a 13 percent reduction in electricity tariffs for both retail and industrial clients beginning next year.

This is expected to reduce the disposable income of consumers and help reduce inflation.

Macroeconomic targets for 2018

On macroeconomic targets for the 2018 fiscal year, the economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6.8 percent whilst end-year inflation will be 8.9 percent. Average inflation will however be expected at a rate of 9.8 percent. Real GDP is expected to grow at an average of 6.2 percent between 2018 and 2021.
Fiscal deficit is expected to hit 4.5 percent of GDP while primary balance (surplus0 of 1.6 percent of GDP. Gross international reserves will cover at least 3.5 months of import cover.
On revenue, total revenue and grant is expected to be GHc51.0 billion.

Sectoral performance

Ministry of Food and Agriculture

A total of 220 tractors and accessories comprising 141 maize shellers, 77 multi-crop threshers were distributed to farmers and service providers to promote agriculture mechanization.
The fall army worm invasion was successfully managed and kept under control. Through this intervention, 123,232 hectares of farm lands were recovered out of a total area of 137,479 hectares of affected farms.
Cocobod during the 2016/17 season purchased 969,000 metric tonnes of cocoa. For the 2017/2018 season, a crop size of 850,000 tonnes is projected.

Ministry of Business Development

The budget stated that government has begun the construction of the largest Green House Estate in West Africa at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra region.
In 2018, government is expected to develop and implement a comprehensive National Entrepreneurships Polcy and continue to facilitate and support private sector business entrepreneurial development.

Ministry of Energy

A total of 445 megawatt power capacity was added to the country’s installed generation capacity, bringing the total installed capacity to 4,577MW in 2017. In 2018, the budget said government is expected to increase the installed generation capacity by about 487MW (Cenpower; 340MW, Early Power Phase 1; 147MW) to meet the growing demand of electricity.

Ministry of Education
In 2017, the Capitation Grant was increased by 100 percent from GH¢4.50 per capita to GH¢9.00, in fulfillment of government promise to make basic education free and ensure participation by all. The implementation of the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) Programme is also in its fourth cycle and operational in 43 districts of the three Northern, Brong Ahafo, and Ashanti Regions.
The Free Senior High School Programme also commenced in September 2017 with first year students in public Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Institutions. Government absorbed all fees approved by GES Council for 353,053 first year students. The budget noted that the programme will continue with the second batch in 2018.
Government also restored the Teacher Trainee Allowance to cover over 49,000 trainees from 41 public Colleges of Education for the 2017/18 academic year. A projected 52,000 Trainees will benefit from the Teacher Trainee Allowance in the 2017/18 academic year.

Ministry of Health
In 2017, Health Trainee Allowance was restored to cover 54,840 trainees from 77 Public Health Training Institutions nationwide. Mental Health Coordinators were also deployed at regional and district levels to help decongest the national psychiatric hospitals.
In 2018, government is expected to focus on activities directed at reducing mortality, especially maternal and neonatal, disability and improve the quality of life, through increasing access to quality health services and improving efficiency in governance and management of the health system.

Source: The Finder

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