General News of 2014-07-17

Economy not in crisis; challenges exaggerated - Terkper

Government spokespersons on the economy are singing a new chorus of hope and confidence in Ghana's economy which critics claim is in crisis.

Led by the Finance Minister Seth Terkper, the government insists the challenges facing the country's economy have been exaggerated.

Addressing the media men shortly after presenting a mid-year review to Parliament, during which he requested an additional 3.1 billion cedis to fund key economic activities, the minister said Ghana's economy is the envy of many across the world.

For an economy growing at 7 per cent, the minister reiterated that the medium term prospects are brighter and that merely because they have highlighted a few challenges facing the economy did not mean all is gloomy.

The Minister's new found hope contradicted comments he made few days ago during an interview with Joy FM.

In that interview he admitted that the economy was in crisis and that steps should be taken to amend the laws on statutory funds to make it possible for delayed payments to be made into the statutory funds in times of crisis.

He was reacting to a court ruling which directed the finance ministry to pay without any further delay the arrears owed Ghana Education Trust Fund.

After securing approval from Parliament to spend an additional of 3.1 billion cedis additional funds, the minister's hope and confidence in the economy appears to have been buoyed.

Newly assigned Minister for Employment Haruna Iddrisu shares in the optimism of the Finance Minister.

He told Joy News "there is no need to despair. There is hope in Ghana's economy."

Iddrisu stated that while there is a decline in domestic revenue and an increase in interest payment, all of which have affected the economy, the medium-term prospects are indeed brighter.

"You cannot have an economy growing at 7 per cent compared to an average of 4.4 per cent in the whole of Africa and turn around and say Ghana's economy is crisis," he observed.

He applauded the Finance minister for being candid on the Chinese Development Bank loan which has now been slashed from $3 billion to $1.5 billion. He stated with that loan, Ghana's major gas infrastructure will be completed and that will bring relief to all Ghanaians.

He said an amount of 200million dollars has been earmarked for landing sites in the fishing communities across the country, adding $100 million has also been allocated to support SMEs.

All these when completed will shore up the economy, he noted.

But members of the Minority in Parliament do not share in the new-found hope and optimism in the country's economy.

Dr Mark Asibey Yeboah said the minister's submissions in Parliament on Wednesday were nothing more than recycled promises which have failed.

He said if the managers of the economy are beaming with confidence and patting themselves on the back for good work done, then the impact of their hard work must be felt by the ordinary man.

But if the ordinary man does not find petrol at the pump; if statutory funds are in arrears for several months; if the ordinary man cannot make ends meet then it remains to be seen how such an economy can be said to be the envy of other countries in the world.

Source: myjoyonline.com
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