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Minister predicts better macro-economic environment

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Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday projected a better macro-economic environment for the country ahead of 2006.

Continuing with the debate on next year's budget in Parliament, the Deputy Minister said the 2006 budget had positive interventions evidence for the achievements of growth targets expected to continue in future. He said the country was in an era of declining inflation and interest rates with other indicators pointing in the right direction and this was enough reason to believe that there were better days ahead. Mr Agyemang-Manu said the early presentation of the 2006 budget to Parliament was not only a constitutional duty but it augured well for the corporate sector and criticised those who had problems with the early presentation, saying "Ghana is following the steps of developed countries such as the United Kingdom."

The Deputy Minister lauded the interventions for the agriculture sector such as the provision of improved seedlings and tractors, which would go a long way to boost agriculture production. Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said the reduction in corporate taxes and other tax relief coupled with the downward trend in interest rates, would facilitate the expansion of these businesses.

Mr Lee Ocran, NDC-Jomoro, said the tax relief on minimum wages were so small to merit the noise being made about it. He said although the NPP Government had taken a cue from the NDC and made provision for the construction of housing units in the budget, the Government was yet to deliver on any of its proposals to provide housing units.

Mr Ocran said when he recently visited a site earmarked by the Government for the construction of housing units in previous budgets nothing had been done.

Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, however challenged Mr Ocran and said the area was being serviced with water, roads and electricity before the commencement of the housing projects.

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