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2013 Budget: Gov't outlines policies to address budget deficit

By|Nathan Gadugah

Government says it is keenly monitoring the level of debt incurred over the past four years and has outlined measures to solve the gaping budget deficit which is threatening to collapse the country's economy.

Critics including members of the opposition New Patriotic Party have expressed worry over the increasing debt profile of the country with some suggesting the country may soon return to the Highly Indebted Poor Country status.

According to former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Dr Akoto Osei, Ghana's debt has increased from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢33.5 billion.

But during his presentation of the Budget Statement for the 2013 financial year, the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper said government was aware of the rising debt stock and is putting stringent policies in place to stem the tide.

He cited shortfalls in grants from international donors, the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, higher spending on goods and services as some of the reasons for the deficit, adding corrective measures including hikes in petroleum prices have been adopted to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure.

Seth Terkper said, as a developing country Ghana must still borrow to expand its infrastructure but noted the government will shift its focus to the quality of loans it acquires and the quality of projects it applies the loans to.

He said the government was looking at investing in commercial projects which will be viable enough to pay for their cost.

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