Finance Ministry Holds Consultative Forum For Players In Commerce

| Updated Sep 10, 2017 at 9:35am


Kwaku Agyemang Kwarteng a Deputy Minister of Finance.


The Ministry of Finance has held a consultative forum to seek the views of trade associations in the informal sector and the traditional authorities towards the preparation of the 2018-2021 medium-term budget.

The trade associations included the Association of Road Contractors, the Ghana Spare Parts Dealers Association, the Peasant Farmers Association and the Ghana Union of Traders Association, as well as the traditional authorities.

The forum, which was on the theme: “Strengthening partnership for economic growth and development,” also served as a platform for two Deputy Ministers of Finance, Kwaku Agyemang Kwarteng and Mrs. Abena Osei-Asare, as well as the acting Director of Budget, Mrs. Eva Mends, to share with the participants the status of the 2017 policy initiatives of the government.

In a presentation, Mrs. Mends took the participants through the government’s policy initiatives, starting from the economy it inherited to the journey so far, key policy initiatives and upcoming activities.

The budget director mentioned poor revenue performance, huge expenditure overruns and accumulation of arrears as some of the problems that confronted the economy when the government assumed office.

Others were the slowdown in growth, wide fiscal deficit and rising interest payments.

She said the turnaround policies of the government were to build the most business-friendly and people-friendly economy in Africa which would translate into job creation and prosperity for Ghanaians.

Mrs. Mends also spoke about the government’s commitment to promote private sector-led growth and boost agricultural production, ensure quality education, entrepreneurship and skills creation.

She added further that the government would restore and maintain macroeconomic stability by curtailing inefficiencies and waste in government spending and ensure the strict enforcement of laws and regulations, especially with the new Public Financial Management Act 2016.

On the journey so far, Mrs. Mends indicated that to improve the business environment, a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan had been launched with a seed capital financing of $10 million to provide an integrated support for start-up businesses.

She also mentioned the National Industrial Revitalisation Programme, which is a quick disbursing stimulus fund that had been created to support distressed but viable companies.

Three hundred and fifty applications had been received under the programme and of the number, 80 had been selected to provide support in the first phase.

Mrs. Osei-Asare served notice to contractors that the government will not pay any contractor whose contract has no Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) code.

She said the government would be strict on ensuring prudent expenditure and in so doing, would not authorise payments to any dubious contractor.

The GIFMIS was launched in September 2009 as part of the Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms. It basically involves the use of Enterprise Resource Planning to improve public financial management.

Mrs. Osei-Asare dropped some hints on the 2018 budget, saying that it would focus on agriculture and industrialisation.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, in a brief remark, underscored the need to plug all revenue leakages for the government to secure the needed resources for development.

He observed that many who were expected to pay taxes to the state were not captured in the tax net and that denied the country the opportunity to mobilise the needed revenue.

SOURCE: Daily Graphic