Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting at the New Court Complex in Accra, to provide some achievements of the Government, he said the Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Administration inherited a weak economy with declining economic growth, high fiscal deficit, rising public debts, accumulation of arrears, non-performing banking system, erratic power supply among others.
He said although the Government did not make specific promises for the first 100 days, it had recorded some monumental achievements that were worth mentioning.
He said in the 2017 Budget, the Government abolished a number of taxes that were inhibiting business and economic growth in order to engender production.
He mentioned some taxes that were abolished in the budget including taxes on excise duty on petroleum, levies imposed on Kayayie and religious institutions by local authorities, one per cent special import levy, 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic airline, 17.5 per cent VAT financial services, 17.5 per cent VAT on selected imported medicines that were not manufactured locally and five per cent on real estates, initiated process to abolish import duty on vehicle spare parts.
Others are reduction in national electrification levy from five to three per cent, reduction in public lightning levy from five to two per cent, and reduction of special petroleum tax rate among other taxes.
He said the Government would reduce the budget deficit from nine per cent to 6.5 per cent this year to consolidate the national budget.
He said that the Government had created a lot of fiscal space by cutting earmarked funds to 25 per cent of government revenue and re-aligning expenditures to meet government priorities.
He said the country’s public debts as of 2016 was GH? 122 billion, therefore, the Government started re-profiling the public debts by replacing more expensive debts with less expensive ones as well as replacing long-term debts with medium-term ones.
In view of this, the Vice President said the Government issued a public bond worth $ 2.25 billion for a 15 -year tenure and that it had enabled the country to get more foreign exchange without increasing the public debt stock.
In the process, he said, there had been massive increase in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, saying since the country’s independence in 1957 to 2016, the country’s foreign exchange reserves was about six billion dollars, however, within the 100 days, it had been increased to eight billion dollars.
Dr Bawumia said, it had stabilised country’s foreign exchange rate and restored confidence in the national economy, adding the national currency, the cedi, had appreciated in value against the major trading currencies and that it would continue to pursue sound policies to keep it stable.
He said the inflation had also reduced from 15.4 per cent to 12.8 per cent and thus, restored confidence in the macro-economy by anchoring fiscal policy on those pillars of credibility, clarity and transparency.
Dr Bawumia noted that when the NPP Government took office, some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were signing contracts that the Central Government was not aware of, therefore, the NPP Government introduced a policy through the Ghana Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS) and that any contract that would be issued anywhere in the country must have a unique GIFMIS code to control fiscal expenditure and check outstanding government commitments.
In order to expedite registration of businesses, he said, the Government noticed that there were certain provisions in the New Companies’ Act that were inimical to business, therefore, some recommendation were made and incorporated into the drafting of the Act in order to fast-track the registration of business within a day and enhance the cost of doing business.
In addition, he said, it had completed the first phase of the Co-ordinated Programme for Social Development Policy in record time of three months, instead of two years, which would be outdoored in July.
Vice President Bawumia said since Ghana and Ivory Coast control the two-thirds of the cocoa markets globally; it had enhanced co-operation with that country in order to control price volatility of the commodity for their mutual benefit.
He said the Government would implement the digital public addressing system and issue the national identification cards, which would fast-track socio-economic development and enhance the business environment.
Commenting on measures to boost the agricultural sector, he said, the Government had slashed down the prices of fertilizers by 50 per cent and 300,000 metric tons of fertilizers would be imported and supplied to farmers to increase yield.
On employment, he said, 1,200 agriculture extension service officers would be recruited while 11,000 trainee nurses who graduated between 2012 and 2016 would be employed.
In addition, 80,000 youth would be recruited into the various modules of the Youth Employment Agency this year.
Dr Bawumia said the Government was committed to accountability and transparency, therefore, all the government officials had declared their assets in fulfillment of the party’s manifesto.
He gave the assurance that the Government would continue to pursue prudent economic policies that would inure to the benefit of the ordinary Ghanaian and bring economic prosperity.