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15.11.2007 Business & Finance

Budget out today

By Daily Guide
Budget out today
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Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, will today read and present the 2008 budget dubbed “Brighter Future Budget” to Parliament.

This would be the third consecutive year that the sitting government has presented the budget in accordance with the provision of the constitution.

Importantly, Mr. Baah Wiredu has already launched the 50 years budget which is directed towards an inter-modal transport system, a thriving agro industrial complex as well as rapid macro-economic growth such as an inflation rate of about 4 per cent, among others.

Categorized into 10 sections such as General Introduction, World Economy, West African Economic Outlook, 2007 Economic Performance- up till September 30, 2007 and 2008 Macroeconomic Projections, the budget is expected to consolidate the socio-economic gains of government and as well put the economy on a take-off after sustainability in the last six years.

Other sections of the budget include Sectoral Policies, Global Initiatives, National Policy Initiatives, Implementation Challenges and Conclusions with appendices which include table, estimates and votes in addition to the Appropriation Bill.

According to the Finance Minister, section five, which will deal with the 2008 macroeconomic projections- an overview of the economy in 2008 with special mention of cash flow, gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, other indicators such as fiscal deficit and balance of payment, doing business and climate change, would be the most important aspect.

Mr. Baah Wiredu is expected to make projections such as the growth rate and revenue target for next year.

A recent release of the third quarter performance of the economy by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana revealed that the economy remained robust and resilient to the energy supply interruptions and load shedding as well as rising crude oil price on the world market.

Indications were that the GDP growth was estimated to have eased to 6.4 per cent for the year, a slight mark down from an initial forecast of 6.5 per cent growth.

Headline inflation had been stable with the current rate of 10.1 per cent for October.

Total assets of universal banks had also grown by 56.2 per cent to GH¢7.11 billion, compared with 28.4 per cent during the same period last year.

Total merchandise exports cumulatively recorded an increase of 48.2 per cent to reach $3,155.69 million at the end of the third quarter. This was mainly due to high gold price and strong growth in cocoa production.

The proceeds from the $750 million raised on the international bond market was also to be invested in the country's long term energy needs as well as major road sector improvement projects to support domestic and export trade.

$460 million, representing 61 per cent is being invested in the energy sector, with the road sector getting $200 million, representing 27 per cent with the remaining $90 million going into the rail sector.

The country also decided to wean itself from the International Monetary Policy (IMF) after completing the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility on October 31, 2006.

The Finance Minister told CITY &BUSINESS GUIDE that next year's budget would witness improvement in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry and services.

Additionally, it would give priority to the widening of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to cover a large spectrum of the population and boost government's revenue mobilization so as to support several development projects such as a long-term energy programme.

Other key focal points of the budget, according to Hon Baah Wiredu, are the reinforcement of the Capitation Grant, School Feeding Programme as well as the sustenance of the National Youth Employment Programme.

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