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Mid-Year Budget Review: Some key highlights of Finance Minister's Presentation Featured

Written by  Jul 31, 2017
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta has said, the School Feeding Program covers 1,671,777 children in 216 districts and employs over 4,700 caterers.   Delivering the Mid-year budget review as required by law, the Minister touched on other areas.   According to him, some 149m cedis has been budgeted as allowance for health trainees in 2017. NHIS is under-restructuring.     Some 56million he noted has been paid to the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty LEAP beneficiaries as at July 2016.   The Minister stressed that the free Senior High School (SHS) is ready for those who will pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and will enjoy the intervention for the entire duration of the program. Thirty percent (30%) of SHS placements will be reserved for public Junior High Schools.   ‘’Free SHS, School Feeding, Planting for Food and Jobs, NHIS will be protected from cuts,’’ he assured     On Cocoa he said, ‘Cocoa output has declined to around 800,000 tonnes per annum over five years.’   ‘’Government wants to hit 1million tonnes. Mass cocoa spraying exercise which will include private sector participation and cocoa rehabilitation plans are strategies government will adopt to boost production,’’ he added.       On Fall armyworm he said, the armyworms in April affected maize and cow pea most severely.   About 74,000 litres of chemicals were procured to address the situation, he said.     On government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, he said, some 185,000 farmers registered against a target of about 200,000. Some 56,000 bags of improved seeds of maize and rice were distributed to the farmers across the regions.       Government he said will bring to parliament an amendment to PFMA to limit fiscal deficit to 3.5% in any fiscal year.       Nominal GDP has also been revised as has non-oil tax revenue: Corporate income tax, import taxes collection revised downwards.   Revision of fiscal deficit from 6.5 to 6.3% of GDP.             On how government intends to roll a debt management strategy, he said, we will  borrow at minimum cost to reduce re-financing risk and reprofile debts which does not increase the debt stock.   On  government's macro-economic targets for 2017 he said, interventions is working and in some cases exceeding expectations.   GDP by first quarter 6.6% against 4.4 same time last year.   Fiscal deficit: 2.7% compared to 4% compared to 2016. BoG cut policy rate by 21%   Gross international reserves is 3.4months equivalent to 2.8months as at last year first quarter. Interest rates have gone down by more than 500 basis points because of conssitent fall in headline inflation. Average interest rate he said moved from 16.81% to about 12% in June 2017.      ‘’The Akufo-Addo government is not daunted by this state of affairs. He says Ghana's debt has ballooned from 5.9bn cedis in 2008 to 122.3 billion cedis at the end of 2016.’’A 1154% percentage increase, he added.   The review will revise the budget and present key highlights of the 2017 budget performance.     According to the Minster, there is a need to re-examine the nation's value system to exalt the place of deep reflection over issues before speaking. He conveys the President's good wishes.      

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