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Inform govt. on the state of the economy –Minister

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Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to the country's economists and development partners to inform the government and other stakeholders on the state of the economy and actions that needed to be taken to shape and redirect the economy.

"In this way, we are in a better position to know what as a government we could have done and did not do and the implications thereof", he said.

He told institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the private sector to promptly identify economic policies that are likely to derail the gains so far made.

The Regional Minister made the call at the launch of the "State of Ghanaian Economy Report 2005" which was on the theme: "Economic Development and Northern Ghana", in Tamale on Monday.

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Cornell University in the United States, Economy of Ghana Network (EGN) and the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, organized the two-day seminar.

Alhaji Idris said the economy has good prospects and potential to grow and called on Ghanaians to be patriotic and work hard to move the country to a middle-income status. "We must put Ghana first above all other parochial considerations, be it political, economic or social ambitions", he said.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Director of ISSER, who presented the report, said 2005 was characterized by mixed events and reactions.

He said in spite of the volatile oil market the country's real GDP growth rate rose to 5.8 per cent as against world real GDP growth rate of 3.2 per cent, attributing this to prudent macroeconomic policies adopted by the government.

"According to the World Bank, the impressive global growth was aided by benign financial market conditions and appropriate macroeconomic policies", he said.

Professor Aryeetey said increased inflows in exports and aid, coupled with satisfactory stabilization policies in Ghana also helped to neutralize the negative effects of high world oil prices.

He said from 2001 to 2005, the Ghanaian economy had maintained a relatively high average growth rate of about 5.1 per cent, driven mainly by the agricultural sector "However, this rate of growth falls short of what the country needs to attain middle-income status and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015," he said.

Professor Aryeetey said the relatively high growth rates over the last few years had not been translated into real per capita output growth.

The government's fiscal policy for 2005 was aimed at stimulating growth and reducing domestic debt stock.

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