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29.05.2008 General News

We will maintain fiscal discipline despite coming elections-President Kufuor

We will maintain fiscal discipline despite coming elections-President Kufuor
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President John Agyekum Kufuor has re-affirmed the government's determination to maintain strict fiscal discipline despite the upcoming general election to ensure economic gains achieved were not destroyed.
"We are not going to disappoint ourselves. We are not going to allow inflation to run away", he said, when a delegation of the International Monetary Fund led by the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Takatoshi Kato, paid a courtesy call on him on Thursday.
He said the good economic framework built over the past seven years that had led to the macro-economic stability would be sustained.
President Kufuor is in Japan for the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) that is discussing concrete measures to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in Africa.
The economy, he said, was doing well and that for the sharp rise in oil prices it would have performed even better.
Mr Kato described Ghana as Africa's success story and gave assurance that the Fund would continue to support Ghana.
At an earlier meeting with Mr Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank, President Kufuor underscored the need for the bank to do a country-to-country assessment to determine the kind of response it could provide to cushion countries against the global crude oil and food crisis.
The political situation, he warned, could be explosive for some of the countries if the bank did not act quickly.
On steps Ghana is taking to make ensure that its recently discovered oil was efficiently managed to the benefit of its people, President Kufuor said the right institution and legal framework would be created to prevent government from having the free hand to do want ever it wanted with revenue from the resource.
He said inputs from the bank in this direction would be welcomed.
Mr Zoellick said the bank was working out a special arrangement on how to help countries like Ghana that are on the growth path.
"We have observed that there is something we can do to help you. We are proud for having you as our partner."
The Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also called to convey the UN body's gratefulness to Ghana for what he described as a "landmark success" of its Accra conference.
He informed President Kufuor that the Geneva-based body had set up a Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of decisions reached in Accra.
"We will continue to work on the basis of the Accra Accord and pursue the goal of getting investments into Africa", he said and added that UNCTAD should be able to achieve targets set in four years time.
President Kufuor met separately officials from two Japanese companies and an Israeli company who have expressed the desire to do business in Ghana.
ITOCHU Corporation is into mining, oil and gas development and is also interested in building a thermal plant in the country.
The Managing Executive Officer said the corporation was sending a team to Accra to hold discussions with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
Meiji Seika Kaisha Limited is already in Ghana and is engaged in the buying of cocoa to process into chocolate for the Japanese market and said it wanted to go into turning shea butter into medicine.
President Kufuor said Ghana was ready for genuine partnerships and investments and asked Meiji to consider establishing a cocoa processing plant in Ghana.

From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA Special Correspondent, Yokohama, Japan

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