Economy Still Resilient�Mona Quartey

The country’s economy remains on a sound footing despite the challenges government has had to contend with over the past few years, Mona Quartey, Deputy Finance Minister, has said.

Speaking at the third edition of “The Ghana Economic Outlook & Business Conference” held in Accra, Mrs. Quartey said: “Compared to the global economy, Ghana’s economy has maintained a commendable growth trajectory, with an average annual growth of 7.6 percent over the past five years. In 2013 growth decelerated to 7.3 percent, considerably lower than the growth of 9.3 percent achieved in 2012”.

The Ghana Statistical Service has projected 2014 growth to fall to 4.2% from the 7.1% targetted.

The growth has however been driven by the service sector, with the share of agriculture in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreasing over the past six years.

The Services Sector increased its share of GDP from 49.6 percent in 2013 to 50.2 percent in 2014. The Agriculture Sector, on the other hand, continued to experience a declining share of GDP, after having declined from 31.8 percent in 2009 to 20.6 percent in 2014.

The consistent increase in the share of the Industry Sector in GDP continued, increasing from 28.5 percent in 2013 to 29.2 percent in 2014 after growing from 19.0 percent in 2009 to 28.6 percent in 2012, mainly on the back of oil and gas

“The government’s plan as detailed in the 2015-2017 budget statement -- the first multi-year budget statement for Ghana -- is to create an environment for inclusive growth, value addition and diversification to deliver an expected non-oil GDP growth rate of at least 4.4 percent over the period 2015-2017.”

She however admitted that the country experienced some fiscal challenges during the past year. This culminated in inflation rising above the budget target of 8 percent.

“Fiscal pressure, exchange rates, depreciation and cost push-effects from high petroleum and utility prices have heightened headline inflation,” she said.

She noted that notwithstanding the challenges, “Ghana is ranked 67 out of 189 economies worldwide as compared to Nigeria which was ranked 147 in the World Bank/ IFC ‘Doing Business’ report’.

“In terms of private partnership, the national export strategy is to develop the non-traditional export sector potential to enable it make maximum contribution to GDP growth and national development so as to consolidate and enhance Ghana’s middle-income status.

“Government will promote export-led growth through products that will build on Ghana’s comparative strength in agricultural raw materials as a key strategic intervention for a successful structural transformation of our dear nation.”

The Deputy Minister said: “Going forward, we are going to look at agricultural raw materials like Shea, palm oil and cassava. Government has strengthened implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme. Government will continue to partner the private sector, in which new export incentives will be introduced in order to recognise and thereby boost the efforts of exporters of non-traditional products,” she said.

“Primary among these is an export bonus facility which will be a non-cash-redeemable voucher directly related to the proportion of export revenues earned by the exporters. As part of the strategies to boost foreign exchange earnings in 2015 and in the medium-term, government will facilitate the expansion of non-traditional export from about US$2.3billion to US$5billion,” she added.

“Ghana Export Promotion will also invest in human development, and as a result will design and implement tailor-made programmes to address specific problems of exporters. Government will also invest more in agriculture and ensure that producers use modern equipment.”