seth-Terkper

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper has expressed optimism in Ghana?s medium term prospects describing it as a bright future that will support the country?s expanded services sector.

According to him, growth is expected to pick up over the medium term to 9.2 percent in 2017, while inflation will be reduced to 8.2 percent within the same year.

?The fiscal and current account deficits will be reduced to 3.7 percent and 4.9 percent respectively in 2017?, he said adding that all the indicators will result in a build-up of reserves to cover 4.2 months of goods and services.

Mr. Terkper who was speaking at a forum to present the state of the economy and outlook in Accra explained that the country?s medium prospects are bright due to the discovery of more oil fields and the coming on stream of the country?s own gas processing plant.

Ghana has witnessed significant economic growth over the past decade with real GDP growth rising steadily from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 11.5 in 2011 before decelerating to 4.0 percent in 2014 mainly on account of energy challenges.

Currently, the country is facing severe energy crisis, causing industry and small business owners to make huge losses but Mr. Terkper was hopeful pragmatic measures being used by the government will turn the fortunes of the country around soon.

?The government recognizes the importance of addressing the short-term challenges facing the economy in order to safeguard the bright prospects that the economy has and it is determined to do so?, he assured.

Touching on progress made, the minister pointed out that since 2013, government has been implementing a number of measures to ensure macroeconomic stability and address the causes of the fiscal overruns in 2012.

He stated that significant progress has been made in addressing the challenges in the wage bill as a ratio of GDP reduced from 8.9 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent in 2013.

With a further decline, it hit 8.3 percent in 2014, and according to Mr. Terkper, government expects it to decline further down to 7.7 percent in this year.

Similarly, the wage bill including the wage arrears cleared as a ratio to tax revenue has declined from 68.2 percent in 2012 to 65.1 percent in 2013 to 52.1 percent in 2014, and expected to decrease further to 46.1 percent in 2015.

He continued that subsidies on petroleum prices and utility tariffs have virtually been removed, while corporate income tax from the oil companies have significantly turned positive.

LAWRENCE SEGBEFIA

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