Ghana's Economy Is Stable: Baah-Wiredu

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The Ghanaian economy continues to be stable as the country progresses with the medium term goal of achieving middle income status, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said on Thursday.

Presenting the 2006 Supplementary Budget to Parliament, he said there were great challenges which the country continued to face, such as the issues of the size of the public sector wage bill, the continued agitation for salary increases and improved conditions of service, the brain drain and the massive investment requirements in infrastructure.

"Nevertheless, Government is determined to face these challenges squarely and put in place the requisite measures to enable us to achieve the desired results."

Mr Baah-Wiredu requested the House to endorse the overall economic performance for 2005 and outlook for the rest of 2006 and to approve the supplementary estimate of ¢4,280.3 billion.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Government had put in place measures to strengthen revenue performance and was streamlining expenditures to enable them to meet the aims of the 2006 Budget.

He said the supplementary estimate presented to Parliament focused on increased resources to some critical areas in the three pillars of Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II - Private Sector Development, Human Resource Development and Good Governance.

Mr Baah Wiredu said to improve the momentum of development efforts and to achieve the growth rates being sought, so that Ghanaians could have jobs, and to further reduce poverty, the Government was proposing to increase investments in infrastructure development including roads, ports and railways, energy and water sectors.

He said the Government was also proposing to put resources into environmental management including work on the Korle Lagoon and Keta Sea Defence Project.

Other investments proposed are in Tourism and the Food and Agriculture Sectors. The Micro-Credit Sector would receive resources to promote job creation and generate incomes cutting across all sectors.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said in support of Good Governance, additional resources were being provided to the Ministry of the Interior, the Judiciary, the Legislature, the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Defence.

"For Human Development, which is a critical pillar in the drive for growth and development, we are investing in school infrastructure and providing resources to enhance the exemptions programme at the Ministry of Health.

"Government is convinced that these revisions to the 2006 Budget by providing additional resources to some critical areas will enable us to achieve the growth and poverty reduction objectives of GPRS II."

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