Business News of 2014-07-01

‘Make judicious use of scarce funds’

It is the responsibility of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to ensure that scarce resources available to the assemblies are used judiciously to provide the people with the necessary social amenities, especially in the rural areas.

To the newly appointed Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Julius Debrah,noted that this will enable the MMDCEs to win the confidence of the people.

Mr Debrah made the remarks when he addressed a sensitisation workshop for MMDCEs drawn from the southern sector of the country, namely the Eastern, Volta, Western, Central and the Greater Accra regions, at Koforidua.

The objective of the workshop was to update the MMDCEs on the state of the economy, especially on issues relating to the government’s fiscal and monetary policies so that they would manage better resources that come to them for the execution of projects and programmes for their people.

Revenue

According to Mr Debrah, 7.5 per cent of the country’s revenue had been allocated to the assemblies for the provision of social amenities and poverty alleviation programmes.

He urged MMDCEs to prioritisee their programmes so that only social amenities that would be beneficial to the people in the long run would be put up.

“A chunk of the national budget has been channelled through you and as representatives of the President, you are obliged to make judicious use of the resources at your disposal to win the confidence of the people,” Mr Debrah said.

He was hopeful that the political heads in the districts would live up to expectation.

A Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance, Mrs Nelly Mireku, spoke on government fiscal policies and challenges and said since 2012, the country’s fiscal deficithad gone up to 11.5 per cent with inflation currently hovering at 14.8 per cent.

She attributed the rise to a number of factors including the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, reduction in the prices of gold on the international market and the attendant lay-offs of mine workers and the country’s dependence on crude oil to fuel its energy plants.

Solution

As a solution to the problems, Mrs Mireku advocated a freeze in public sector employment, curtailment of new contract awards, removal of subsidies on petroleum products, and an increase in the Value Added Tax, while refinancing debts owed by the country.

The Senior Economist indicated that even though such measures would not to be well received by the people, she was hopeful their implementation would put the economy on a sound footing.

In her view, such measures would make funds available so that the country could continue with its poverty alleviation programmes such as the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme.

Source: graphic.com
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