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06.06.2005 Business & Finance

Budget Can’t Absorb Excess Demands

Budget Can’t Absorb Excess Demands

...budget deficit of ¢11 trillion Accra, June 6 (Graphic) - The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, has stated that any financial demand which is outside this year's budget is likely to throw the budget out of gear because there is already a shortfall.

According to him, there was a limit to payments that government could make this year due to a budget deficit of ¢11 trillion as a result of the country's payments of ¢35 trillion which far outstripped its receipts of ¢24 trillion.

In an interview, Mr Baah-Wiredu stated that although the government was making frantic efforts at financing this year's budget, there was the need for revenue agencies to step up efforts at collecting more revenue.

He also called on Ghanaians in general to play an effective role to generate more income for the country since the country was capable of raising that money if all stakeholders showed more commitment.

“We must all put it at the back of our minds that the country needs more than ¢1.2 million every second to run the economy on a smooth scale,” the minister pleaded.

The minister explained that payments which had to be made included debt payment both locally and externally, salaries, pensions, payments into the District Assemblies Common Fund and the Ghana Education Trust Fund.

In another development, Mr Baah-Wiredu, also advised farmers to practise good farming methods during this rainy season.

He also urged farmers to seek advice from extension officers on methods to be adopted to ensure food security in order to stabilise prices to avoid inflation.

"Farming is a major economic activity. Stakeholders must, therefore, provide support in whichever way possible to ensure consistent supply of agricultural products at all times in the country," Mr Baah-Wiredu stated.

The minister stated that producing enough agricultural products in the country would reduce the tendency of the country spending large amounts of money to import in order to supplement local demand.

He said agriculture formed the bedrock of the country's economy and for that matter the government was doing everything possible to sustain the sector.

Touching on the threat posed by Fulani herdsmen in some food producing areas in the country, the minister gave the assurance that the Governance Committee, comprising the Ministries of the Interior and Defence, had instituted measures to curb the problem.

According to the minister, one area in the country facing the brunt of the illegal activities of Fulani herdsmen was the Asante Akim North where Fulani herdsmen had led assault on innocent farmers, destroying their farms and other property in the process.

He said a recent visit he undertook to that area revealed that a cashew farmer had sustained serious injuries during a struggle with a herdsman who had destroyed his crops, while another had suffered knife wounds at the hands of herdsmen who had destroyed his farm.

Another incident was that a farmer's house was burnt down when he told a Fulani herdsman he (farmer) had no place for the herdsmen to sleep after the latter had demanded accommodation.

These and other incidents, according to the minister were gradually building tension between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the affected towns.

Mr Baah-Wiredu has, therefore, appealed to all affected farmers throughout the country to exercise restraint, while modalities were being instituted to solve the problem.