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Baah-Wiredu: There is sustained growth in the economy

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Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday said the past seven years had witnessed sustained growth in the economy.

This, he noted, was achieved by continually maintaining the broad policy orientation of reducing the country's level of poverty while providing the appropriate environment for private business to grow and thrive.

"An analysis of the key economic indicators points to a stable, resilient and growing economy," he said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said this when he presented the 2008 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament.

"All sectors of the economy have achieved varying degrees of success and the combined effect of this effort has culminated in a strong and thriving economy, which has been able to withstand numerous domestic and external pressures.

"This positive state of affairs can be attributed to Government's strict adherence to a number of measures, including strong fiscal discipline; prudent monetary stance and the implementation of well focused policies even during the previous election year.

"Admittedly, some of these policies have not been politically favourable but we have been resolute in our conviction that we should not trade a better economy and improved livelihood for political gains.”

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Medium Term Strategy as spelt out in the Growth and Poverty-Reduction Strategy (GPRS) II was to achieve middle-income country status by 2015.

"Within this framework, Government has harnessed efforts in all sectors towards accelerated growth and reducing poverty. In this, the focus has been wealth creation through developing our human resources, promoting the private sector and ensuring good governance.”

Touching on performance in 2007, Mr Baah-Wiredu said the economic performance as measured by growth in GDP stood at 6.3 per cent, slightly lower than the projected 6.5 per cent.

This result, he noted, was achieved despite the major energy challenge that the country faced.

On the resolution of the energy crisis, Mr Baah-Wiredu said in an effort to address the energy crisis, a number of short, medium and long-term intervention targets were pursued.

"Significant among them is the successful negotiation of the $622.0 million loan for the construction of the Bui dam and Bui City,” he said, adding, "this investment is the second largest single investment in the history of the country after the Akosombo Dam.”

He said as part of measures to reverse the energy crisis and to improve upon the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, significant expenditures had been made since 2006 and by end-2008 government's total budgetary expenses would have exceeded US$2 billion.

This included the purchase of crude oil and generation and transmission equipment, he said.

"Crude oil alone would have received an allocation of about US$1 billion for the same period."

He said given the desire of all Ghanaians for an enduring solution to the power crisis, it was Government's belief that all were ready and willing to pay realistic rates to ensure a much more efficient and reliable energy supply.

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