By Bernice Bessey .
The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has admitted that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) had not solved all the problems it met, however, the policies that the government had set in place over the last two years are capable of making life comfortable for Ghanaians.
“We don’t claim to have finished solving all of Ghana’s problems.”
According to him, the government’s first two years was a good foundation which should enable it do more in the coming years to further cushion the Ghanaian towards a more comfortable life in the medium term.
The Minister, during a media briefing yesterday in Accra, stated that the NPP administration had improved the macro environment by reducing the policy rate, inflation, fiscal deficit, increased growth, reserves and credit ratings.
He noted that the success so far chalked by the government in the first two years has enabled it satisfy all the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions that would help the country exit from the Bretton Woods institution policy programme this year.
The Information Minister further indicated that the Akufo-Addo government achieved this, due to the high tax target it sets for domestic tax mobilisation, as well as sealing of financial leakages in the system.
Hence, the 2019 Budget would mark the beginning of Ghana’s exit from the IMF programme, under which the country sought almost $918 million over three years, with conditions attached.
Mr. Nkrumah said the Minister of Finance will, on November 15, throw more light on how the country would sustain itself to avert going back to the IMF, as “Cabinet, this past weekend, reviewed the economic policies of government and budget for the 2019.
“The budget will be the first which will not be under the supervision of the IMF. It will be the third budget of the Akufo-Addo administration.”
He indicated that after exiting, the government intends to follow the following principles; maintain the fiscal discipline which has been restored, increase liquidity in the Ghanaian economy, and sustain the heightened growth which has been restored.
Additionally, it would invest in massive infrastructure without compromising on debt sustainability, and expand credit to the benefit of small and medium scale enterprises.
“As the President recently mentioned that Ghanaians should have hope, that the gains made will be consolidated while we bring relief to Ghanaians in the 2019 Budget,” he added.
He also announced a new programme, Rural Development policy, for Ghana to be adopted by the government and championed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to facilitate local development.
“This new policy will provide a proper framework for addressing prevailing issues in Ghana’s rural development and the appropriate institutions to effectively respond to the challenges.
“It will also serve as the single reference point for all ministries, departments and agencies, whose activities and mandates impact on the lives of people living in rural Ghana. All MMDAs will have responsibility for the implementation of the policy,” he stressed.
The policy, which is yet to receive cabinet approval before it is presented to Parliament, is to improve economic and social development of the rural residents, through the provision of opportunities.
The policy, as it may be, would provide a roadmap for systematically tackling issues such as the high incidence of poverty, migration, inadequate employment opportunities in rural areas, low investment in infrastructure, and high incidence of illiteracy, and the non-functioning of sub-district structures.
It also focused on agriculture, social service provision, industrialisation, financial inclusion and skills development, as drivers of change in the rural areas, and the utilisation of the potentials for rural development to tackle issues that would deliver the desired conditions for rural growth and development.
“It is also our anticipation that the Rural Development Policy would additionally ensure the sustainability of government flagship programmes for the rural areas,” Mr. Nkrumah said.