Politics 2018 budget GOV’T TOUTS ECONOMIC GROWTH …But Minority Ridicules Strides By admin Posted on February 7, 2018 5 min read 0 0 71 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr By Kwabena Adu Koranteng The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, yesterday presented the 2018 budget statement to Parliament with the assertion that the New Patriotic Party government has returned Ghana to a robust economic growth intheir firstyear in office despite the hugechallenges inherited. From a ballooning debt stock, strangling fiscal deficit it inherited in 2016, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta says the prudent management of the economy in the last eleven months has ensured a more stable macro-economic environment. Presenting the 2018 budget statement on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, the Minister said the government is on the path of meeting all its macro economic targets set in the 2017 budget. The theme for the 2018 budget is “Putting Ghana back to work.” In a budget statement which took close to three hours to deliver, the Finance Minister chronicled key macro economic targets which he said have been achieved. Having recorded, over two decades, the lowest economic growth in 2016, with a figure of 3.6% the Finance Minister said the government has returned the country to a robust growth after just one year of prudent economic management under an Akufo-Addo government. According to him, the overall GDP for 2017 has shot up to 7.9% up from an estimated target of 6.3%. Inflation and budget deficit figures for 2017 also showed signs of stability, a marked improvement from the 2016 figures inherited, the Minister stated. Figure for 2016 Target for 2017 Actual for 2017 Over all GDP 3.6% 6.3% 7.9% Non-Oil GDP 4.2% 4.6% 4.0% End-Period Inflation 15.4% 11.2% 11.6% Overall budget deficit on cash basis. 8.7% 6.5% 4.5% The agriculture sector achieved a marginal growth despite the fall armyworm invasion it suffered in 2017. From a 3.6% growth in 2016, the sector saw a 4.3% increase largely due to planting for food and jobs programme initiated by the government. The biggest growth was however experienced in the industry sector with a growth from a 1.2% growth in 2016 to 17.7% growth in the industry sector. Sector 2014 2015 2016 2017 Agriculture 4.6 2.5 3.6 4.3% Industry 0.8 1.0 1.2 17.7% Services 5.6 5.2 5.9 4.7% Debt stock The Minister said a ballooning debt stock was one of the challenges the government inherited which in many ways put an undue pressure on economic activities. According to him, before the NPP left power in 2008, the debt to GDP ratio stood at 32%. However in 2016, before leaving office, the John Mahama government left behind a 72% debt to GDP ratio as a result of its reckless borrowing regime. He said as a result of the prudent management of the economy, there has been a reduction in fiscal deficit and a declining debt to GDP ratio as a result of the debt reprofiling policies it adopted. Ken Ofori Atta said the debt to GDP ratio has declined to 68.3% from the 72% government inherited in 2016. “This is the first time since 2006 that Ghana has seen a year-on-year reduction of debt to GDP,” he stated. The Minority has been unimpressed by the figures provided by the Minister. The members, in unison, brandished placards, accusing the government of 419.