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Fri, Dec

BUDGET FOR JOBS

Business & Economy

With the 2018 budget statement and fiscal policy expected to be delivered today by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, many Ghanaians are of the expectation that it would largely focus on job creation. The Daily Statesman can disclose that this is exactly what the budget seeks to do.

With the 2018 budget statement and fiscal policy expected to be delivered today by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, many Ghanaians are of the expectation that it would largely focus on job creation. The Daily Statesman can disclose that this is exactly what the budget seeks to do.

 

Macroeconomic stability has been achieved under the Akufo-Addo led government in 2017. Inflation this year is lower than the four years under the previous Mahama government. The budget deficit is on target, the lowest in more than a decade in the country.

This has been corroborated by Eric Osei-Assibey, Senior Adjunct Research Fellow with the Institute of Economic Affairs, who had earlier stated that the Institute’s analysis of Finance Minister’s mid-year budget presented to Parliament showed that “most of the macro-indicators are moving in the right direction.”

The paper can disclose that the Akufo-Addo government is introducing many initiatives to create tens of thousands of jobs for young people, including graduates.

Apart from the 100 million dollar package set up by the President for the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, an initiative aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs grow their businesses, the government would also introduce another initiative, Nation Builders Corps, which  is expected to be launched  with over GHC100 million.

The reduction in electricity tariffs, expected to be more than 10 per cent across board, will give a major boost to industries that are already enjoying relief with reduction in lending rates and inflation.

This, coupled with the stable power situation, will undoubtedly help industries in the country to stay competitive and create more jobs, especially after enduring eight years of dumsor under the Mills/Mahama led governments.

Already government has chalked a major achievement in floating the biggest energy bond in African which raised more than$1bn (GHS4.7b).

There is also a bold initiative to transform agriculture, with the government set to launch an Agricultural Marshall Plan this month to enhance food production.

The Plan would focus on the use of scientific skills and knowledge approaches, provision of fertilizers to farmers and requisite storage and irrigation facilities to ensure high productivity.

The President hinted last week during a durbar of the Chiefs and people of Ga Mantse Agbona during his tour of the Greater Accra region that the budget would give meaning to his government’s industrialization agenda which primarily focuses on the creation of jobs.

“Next week, the Finance Minister will present the budget to Parliament and it will focus on job creation. The Finance Minister is a magician; he finds resources at places you never expect him to find,” President Nana Akufo-Addo stated, adding that the budget would also play a key role in strengthening Ghana’s economy.

The President, again, during the 6th Association of Ghana Industries and Quality Awards last Saturday hinted that the budget would announce significant electricity tariff review and reduction to help boost the industrial sector.

Mr Ofori Atta had earlier stated that the 2018 budget would also focus on using innovative ways to improve domestic revenue collection for economic development.

He revealed this in the wake of calls from the Institute of Fiscal Studies on government to use the 2018 budget to improve tax collection by broadening the tax base.

Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has also hinted of government’s plan to release funds to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises across the country in the 2018 budget.

Speaking in an interview at the 10th Global Entrepreneurship Week on Monday, Mr. Awal said the NPP government was bent “on promoting indigenous Ghanaian businesses” and in a bid to strengthen economic infrastructures, resources will be disbursed to that effect.

“Government is very keen on promoting indigenous Ghanaian businesses. We think that the economy can only grow if local businesses are empowered financially and with business support services. In this regard, government is allocating some resources in the 2018 budget towards entrepreneurship.”

It can be recalled that the 2017 budget, which was dubbed the ‘Asempa Budget’, presented in March this year was received with huge excitement by majority of Ghanaians who described it as one of the best.

Some of the highlights in the 2017 included the withdrawal of the 1 per cent Special Import Levy, 17.5 per cent VAT/NHIL on financial services, and 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally.

The 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets and levies imposed on kayayei by local authorities were also removed.

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