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16.06.2008 General News

Minister Urges Wise Use Of Petroleum Products

By Kwadwo B. Donkor - newtimesonline.com
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THE Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, has appealed to Ghanaians to judiciously use petroleum products and electricity to help the nation cut down its bill on imports of crude oil.

He said as at April, this year, the country spent approximately 680 million dollars on the importation of crude oil as against 632.97 million dollars for the same period last year.

Mr Baah-Wiredu made the call on Friday in Accra when the government of Ghana signed a credit agreement of $100 million dollars with the World Bank.

The credit besides forming part of the loan component of this year’s budget, is also the world bank’s contribution to the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) for this year.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the escalating prices of crude oil and food were challenges to the government.

'The soaring price of crude oil has presented significant challenges as the current budget was prepared on an estimated crude oil price of $85 per barrel,' he said, noting that if the price should hit $150, 'it is projected that an additional cost of $2.14 billion will be incurred.'

The Country Director of the World Bank, Eshac Diwan, said aside the support that the bank gives to the nation through budgetary support, it also supports the country in other sectors.

Currently, Parliament is considering two more agreements worth $45 million on Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (NREG) and Agriculture Development Policy Operation (Ag DPO).

He said the 100-million dollar credit facility is the sixth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) to the government since its inception in 2003.

Mr Diwan said part of the credit will be used to support the relief support measures announced by the president last month adding that the programmes were not imposed on the country by the bank but rather were chosen by the government.

According to him the PRSC 6 will focus on the implementation of various reform programmes to accelerate private-sector led growth, to develop the human resource of the country and to promote good governance by deepening decentralisation, strengthening public finance management and enhancing efficiency, transparency and accountability in public investments.

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