Government to eliminate arrears by 2019 – Ofori-Atta

Accra,Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has announced that government plans to eliminate all its arrears by end of 2019 following the result of an audit of the outstanding commitment generated as at end 2016.

He, however, gave the assurance that the Government would institute stringent measures that would prevent the accumulation of new ones.

Mr Ofori-Atta made the announcement when he presented the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to Parliament.

The 2017 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review is the first to be done under Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

Mr Ofori-Atta stated the fiscal deficit on cash basis was GH5.6 billion (2.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product) compared to GH6.7 billion (4.0 per cent of GDP) recorded in the same period in 2016.

He said primary balance recorded a surplus of 0.6 per cent of GDP, against a target deficit of 0.01 per cent.

He said petroleum receipts in the first half of 2017 amounted to US$277.79 million compared to the end-year projection of US$515.57.

Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that the gross public debt stock stood at a provisional figure of G38.5 billion (US$31.7 billion as at June 2017).

He said the stock comprised external and domestic debt of GH74.6 billion (US$17.1 billion) and GH63.9 billion (US$14.6 billion) respectively.

He said the overall GDP rate had been maintained at 6.3 per cent, whiles nominal GDP revised slightly to GH202.01 billion from the original projection of GH203.41 billion.

Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the non-oil GDP rate had been maintained at 4.6 per cent and the end-year inflation rate kept at 11.2 per cent.

He said the overall fiscal deficit revised downwards from 6.5 per cent to 6.3 percent of GDP.

He said the primary balance had also been revised from a surplus of 0.4 per cent to a surplus of 0.2 percent of GDP and Gross Foreign Assets to cover at least three months of imports of goods and services maintained as originally programmed.

Mr Ofori-Atta further stated that total revenue and grants had been revised downwards by 0.9 percent of GDP from GH44.5 billion to GH43.1 billion.

He said the total expenditure had also been revised downwards by 1.1 per cent of GDP from GH58.1 billion to GH55.9 billion.

He said some of the key revisions to expenditures include 0.4 per cent of GDP (GH867 million) adjustment to Goods and Services and 0.3 per cent of GDP (GH553.2 million).

He said the overall fiscal balance is expected to improve from a deficit of G3.2 billion (6.5 per cent of GDP) to G2.8 billion (6.3 per cent of GDP).

Source: Ghana News Agency