Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance
The country will need continuous support from development partners to be able to finance her development projects and also meet the targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor has said.
Opening the 2012 Multi Donor Budget Support (MDBS) Annual Review and Consultative Group (CG) Annual Partnership Meeting in Accra yesterday, he said revenues from the oil and gas industry in the interim could not meet the development needs of the country.
He therefore called for more donor budgetary support to address the development and infrastructural challenges facing the country.
The three-day MDBS and CG annual partnership meeting is on the theme “Leveraging Partnership in a transitional Middle income country for sustainable economic development,” is being attended by high government officials, members from the National Development Planning Commission, government departments and agencies, representatives of civil society organisation and development partners.
The annual review meeting would, other things, focus on key issues such as infrastructure development, the MDGS, and enhanced role of Civil Society Organisations to the MDBS.
Dr Duffuor in his address said though the oil and gas production presents huge economic prospects, the economy continued to face risks linked to the Eurozone crisis, global inflation outlook and the recent hike in crude oil.
“Despite these global economic developments, enhancing government’s capabilities to protect the poor and vulnerable, and also ensure equity in the distribution of the country’s wealth remain the cardinal objective of government’s economic and social policies,” he stressed.
He lauded the development partners for accepting MDBS as a means of providing financial assistance to the country.
Dr Duffuor assured the development partners that government would not overspend to derail the macroeconomics gains made by the country.
“We wish to reassure our development partners and other stakeholders that government is committed to maintain fiscal consolidation and sustain gains chalked under the Extended Credit Facility Programme with the IMF,” the Ministered stated.
Touching on recent development on the macroeconomic and fiscal fronts, the Minister said all the macroeconomic indicators were pointing to the positive.
He said inflation had significantly been kept in a single digit for 24 months and said the depreciation of the cedi had slowed down as a result of the measures introduced by government.
“Whilst fiscal performance has met all quantitative targets set for the first quarter of this year, the main risks to the economy include the payment of public sector wages arising out of the implementation of the single spine salary structure,” Dr Duffuor noted.
The World Bank Country Director, Yusupha Crookes who spoke on behalf of the development partners lauded government for opting for the General Budget Support (GBS) under the country’s Aid Policy and Strategy and said the development partners would continue to strive to be fully aligned with that preference.
“Since the last MDBS review, we have been refining the MDBS mechanisms to sharpen its effectiveness as the key vehicle for both harmonization among development partners and for fostering greater alignment with government strategies, policies, priorities and processes,” he stated.
Mr Crookes said the country growth in recent years and attainment of a middle income status was a strong testament to the country’s record of reforms and sound economic management.
But, he said, growth and entry into MIC status posed its own set of challenges, saying countries which attained the MIC status had slipped to a lower income country status – mostly as a result of external and internal shocks which they had not adequately prepared for.
Ghana, Mr Crookes said, would face potential sources of macroeconomic vulnerability as it open up and further undergoes structural and economic changes and said “Ghana will perhaps increasingly need more sophiscated, tailored advice and support, quickly delivered.”
The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, Paul V. Obeng in his remark said “in reviewing our performance, we also have to look at how to ensure that the MDBS meet the needs of society.”
He urged participants to put their parochial interest aside and discuss the issues dispassionately.