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20.11.2007 Business & Finance

2008 Budget Donors Pledge $350m

By Daily Guide

Ghana's development partners have pledged to commit $350 million into the government's 2008 general budget which was read in Parliament last Thursday by the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu.

Contributing development partners include the African Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, World Bank and Japan, which is contributing for the first time.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Accra and signed by Mrs Cecilia Akwetey, Head of Public Relations, said the money is to support Ghana's aim of reaching the Millennium Development Goals and also attaining the middle-income status by 2015.

Since 2003, development partners have contributed around $300 million a year to the general budget in the form of loans and grants.

This support, which is called multi-donor budget support, amounts to between 9 and 13 per cent of the total government budget.

While these contributions have been fairly stable since 2003, revenue from domestic sources such as taxes, has increased significantly.

However, this support which comes in the form of money is released based on a track record of good performance in the area of energy, agriculture, private sector, education, water and sanitation among others.

Each year, government and development partners agree on a set of targets for reforms and results in areas such as energy, agriculture, private sector, education, water and sanitation, good governance and public financial management systems as outlined in Ghana's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II.

The amount of support development partners give depends on how well these results are achieved.

Other factors taken into account are the micro-economic performance of the country, commitment of government to reducing poverty, and the progress on reforms of the systems for managing public finances.

On the afore-mentioned counts, the statement said: “Ghana scored well, with about 97 per cent of available funding being approved for release into the 2008 budget.”

According to the statement, funding from the development partners would help government reduce poverty and promote growth in the country, such as health, education, developing the private sector and reforming government systems.

By Felix Dela Klutse