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General News Thu, 5 Apr 2001

National economic dialogue next month

A National Economic Dialogue to review the results of the National Economic Forum and first step of Vision 2020 opens in Accra next month to examine the merits of the two documents for a new policy direction.

The event to be addressed by the President will be held on May 14-15.

The new direction will fall in tandem with the New Patriotic Party's own vision of ensuring a golden age of business.

Dr Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Economic Planning and Regional Integration told journalists in Accra on Thursday that the dialogue would address pertinent national topics, including the new economic policy - golden age of business, with specific reference to ECOWAS, regional integration and information technology.

The rest are financial sector capital mobilisation, domestic debt situation, and the Highly

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Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative and new poverty reduction strategies. He said private sector bodies such as GAPVOD, TUC and PEF, will play major roles in making the dialogue meaningful.

Dr Nduom said a number of preparatory meetings are to be held prior to the main dialogue in May.

He said one or two of the preparatory meetings would be held outside Accra as part of the information gathering process for the main dialogue.

Mrs. Grace Coleman, Deputy Minster of Finance-designate explained that nearly all the targets set out in the first step of the national document have been missed because of the previous government's inability to stick to microeconomic principles.

"Most of the targets were not met or implemented, such as balancing the budget deficit and ensuring that growth rates rose to eight per cent. This shows that there was something fundamentally wrong"

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Mrs Coleman said: "We are not discarding the vision 2020 document completely. We will make use of portions that are relevant to our needs. But in particular, experiences of the last five years would be of paramount concern.

"In a few weeks, results of a study on Vision 2020 will emerge as a means of acknowledging and knowing the poor state of the first step on the Vision 2020 document and build a sound economic foundation," Mrs Coleman said.

She said the document is relevant since it has shown the way and brought the nation forward in several instances.

Source: GNA