2020 budget to focus on industrialisation — Finance Minister
The 2020 budget and economic policy of the government to be laid before Parliament in November will focus on providing the liquidity to boost industrialisation in the country, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has assured.
He said the country had gone through three years of macro-economic stability and it was now time to find interventions to boost industrialisation in order to sustain the transformation.
Speaking in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on the sidelines of the signing of a loan agreement between Ghana and Kuwait on September 13, he said “the type of liquidity that is required to support industrialisation will be a key element in the 2020 budget.”
He also highlighted the need to align the country’s industrialisation drive to the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision and document, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
“We want the country to become a regional hub for trade and a key trade and facilitation centre.”
Mr Ofori Atta also noted that the 2020 budget would review the country’s tax exemption policy.
“We lose a lot of resources in exemptions and it’s time to straighten it out and make exemptions count. There are too many institutions and people who are benefiting but do not need to,” he said.
Touching on measures to boost domestic revenue mobilisation, he said, “we changed all the commissioners and that is expected to yield some serious results.”
“Some prosecutions will also be carried out to re-align the way in which small scale mining of gold leaves this country,” he stated.
“But in the final analysis, we all as Ghanaians need to feel the urgency of paying taxes.”
The Finance Minister also pointed out that the cocoa syndication loan was coming at a good time for the country.
“The syndication is an annual ritual and it usually comes at a good time when traders are looking for foreign exchange and helps to support and keep our currency stable.”
Earlier, Ghana and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development signed a loan agreement for an amount of US$23.8 million to finance the rehabilitation of the Dome-Kitase road project.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta signed on behalf of Ghana, while the Deputy Director-General of the fund, Mr Nedhal Alolayan, initialled on behalf of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
The loan will be for a period of 28 years, including a grace period of four years, and will be repaid in 40 semi-annual instalments, the first of which will be due on the first date on which interest or other charges will fall due, pursuant to the loan agreement after the expiration of the said grace period.
The loan bears an interest rate of one per cent per annum, in addition to a rate of 0.5per cent per annum to meet administrative costs and other expenses incurred in the implementation of the agreement.
The project aims at supporting the economic and social development in the country by providing a reliable all year round land and transportation in the southern part of the country.
The project will improve connectivity and accessibility to places of work and social services for the inhabitants of the various towns and settlements located along the road path and will reduce travel time and vehicle operation cost.
The rehabilitation of the road is also expected to enhance investment in agricultural activities, development of light industries and is expected to create jobs and promote new business opportunities in this part of the country.
The total cost of the project, including taxes, interest during construction, land acquisition and price contingencies during the implementation period, is estimated at GH¢179 million.