Ken Ofori Atta on the State of the economy

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta after the implementation of the nic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) has not made any pronouncement … Ghana’s economy, despite recent hikes in transportation fares, price of food items and the price of fuel products. 

 At a press conference on the upcoming Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank Group which will be hosted by Ghana, the finance minister spoke on current happenings in the economy following some questions by journalists. 

 Here are the 4 major things the minister touched on regarding current happenings in the economy including the collateralisation of the E-Levy and the listing of Agyapa Royalties on the London Stock Exchange. IMF programme Forever Product Asked whether an IMF bailout was on the table given that Ghana is still having challenges with revenue mobilization, the minister indicated that Ghana going for an IMF bailout was not an option. He said that the government of Ghana by itself is putting measures in place to ensure that it gets out of the current economic challenges. He said the expenditure reduction measures it put in place have started to show positive results. 

 He further stated that most of the measures to increase the government’s revenue are upstream, adding that the government will soon start the collection of property tax. Ofori-Atta indicated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will even reject Ghana’s application for a bailout because it knows Ghana is in the right direction. He, however, indicated that Ghana will only go to the IMF for advice. “We have committed to not going back to the fund because, in terms of the interventions and policy we are right there, the fund knows that we are completely in the right direction. 

The issue is, validating the programmes that we have put in place and then, in my view, supporting us to find alternative ways of financing or re-financing our debt, reprofiling it,” he said. Increase in prices and the introduction of price controls On the recent hike in prices of goods and services and the request by some Ghanaians for the introduction of price control mechanisms by the government, Ofori-Atta said that price controls were not an option. He said that the hardships Ghanaians went through during the eras of price controls make it a non-viable option. He added that price controls lead to corruption and nepotism and they are likely to worsen the current challenges Ghanaians are facing. He said that the government will put measures in place to alleviate the hardships Ghanaians are facing. 

 The Ghana Statistical Services on Wednesday announced that inflation has increased to 23 percent, fuel prices have also increased with diesel currently selling at GH¢ 11.24, and transport fares have also increased by 20 percent. Collateralising E-Levy On the assertions made by some Ghanaians that the E-Levy will be collateralized, the finance minister failed to completely refute the claims. Ofori-Atta said that generally, collateralisations are bad. He said that the government will make the right decision when the time comes. “I can’t give you an assurance that E Levy won’t be collateralized. 

The question is, you know that collateralization is bad. The assurance is where is the economy going, where are the instruments that we have in our basket and how are we going to deploy them. Unless you are categorical and you know something that I don’t know but collateralization is bad. So, I will not give you an assurance. I will at each point in time examine what we have and make a decision with cabinet as to how best we can use our resources as a country,” he said. 

 The Roads Minister, Kwesi Amoako- Attah has previously stated that the government was going to use the proceeds from the E-Levy for loans, claims that have been reiterated by members of the opposition National Democratic Congress. Agyapa deal Also, Ofori-Atta failed to refute reports that the Agyapa Royalties deal will be listed on the London Stock Exchange even though it has not been approved by Parliament. He said that listing on the stock exchange is in the best interests of the country. “Therefore, it is not the question of whether monetization of mineral royalties or listing of the company is bad or good,” he added


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