Hope On The Horizon
5/12/2012 9:08:51 AM -
The Minister of Finance of Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, yesterday presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy for 2012, promising significant infrastructural development in the area of roads, health and education.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) assumed the reins of government in January 2009 on the platform of a ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ anchored on transparent and accountable governance, a strong economy for real jobs, investing in people and expanding infrastructure.
The 2012 budget is the third by Dr Duffuor on behalf of the government and those budgets, according to him, had significantly improved the standard of living of Ghanaians.
The minister captured some of the gains achieved so far to include a significant growth in real GDP from 4.0 per cent in 2009 to 7.7 per cent in 2010 and 13.6 per cent in 2011 on a provisional basis, making Ghana one of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2011.
Also, through the hard work of cocoa farmers and other stakeholders, Ghana has now attained one million metric tonnes of cocoa production for the first time in our history ahead of the 2012 schedule.
Another highlight of our gains is a decline in inflation from 18.1 per cent at the end of 2008 to 8.40 per cent in September 2011, a single digit inflation that has been sustained for the longest period of our economic history from June 2010 to date.
The budget spoke about steps by the government to implement the one-time premium payment for the National Health Insurance Scheme and the full implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP).
The DAILY GRAPHIC’s concern does not lie in the presentation of the statement to Parliament but in the concrete steps that will be taken to actualise the dreams contained in the budget policy.
We say this because budgets are projections that cannot all be attained within a year, depending on the circumstances, including internal and external factors.
Nonetheless, it is very important that we are able to find the resources locally and from donor partners to carry out the ambitious programmes contained in the 2012 budget statement.
Sometimes, we are wary of the government’s commitment to fiscal prudence in an election year because the tendency is to renege on austerity measures as a result of their tendency to hurt our constituents.
The government has so far demonstrated its readiness to implement policies that will engender growth and halt the deteriorating economic situation when it took power when inflation was high, interest rates were prohibitive, while the cedi was struggling against all the major foreign currencies.
Be that as it may, the country has a long journey to make to achieve total stability in the economy.
The DAILY GRAPHIC calls on the government to avert its mind to the promotion of local initiatives and human resource to resolve our dependence on foreign aid to balance our budget.
We cannot be an island onto ourselves, which is why Ghana will continue to depend on friendly countries to address the gaps in its development aspirations.
The DAILY GRAPHIC thinks that oil revenue and the judicious use of our resources should give us the needed revenue to carry out interventions that will help attain the better Ghana agenda.
Even as we pride ourselves on achieving much over the last three years, there is still more to do to address the plight of the excluded and vulnerable in society.
We call for more safety nets in the system that the poor can fall on when the going gets tough.
The DAILY GRAPHIC says this because in any development process there are unintended outcomes whose effects policy makers must find ways of reducing.
We also call on the government to arrest the negative growth in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, so that these sectors can contribute meaningfully to economic development. If we are able to feed ourselves, we will be on the way to resolving a major headache of all governments to put food on the table of the people at an affordable price.
Let us all do what is within our might to support the government to achieve the objectives outlined in the budget. But if we have dissenting positions, we should voice them out constructively.