Accra, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, on Thursday,
urged the Public Procurement Authority to ensure that from June, this year, every procurement conducted would be uniquely captured with a special identity code for easy tracking.
He said although the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) was in place the Government’s commitment in the system would have unique codes, emphasing that, no contract would be valid without that code to ensure fiscal discipline.
“No contract will be awarded without the knowledge of the Central Government so that the Minister could also monitor and know the Government’s commitment and bring sanity in the public financial system,” he said.
The Vice President said this at a lunch meeting with the German Business Community on the theme: “Deepening Economic Ties between Ghana and the International Community Dialogue with German Enterprises on the Business Climate in Ghana”.
The meeting was organised by the German Industry and Commerce in Ghana and the Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung to discuss how the private sector could partner the Government to promote economic growth.
Dr Bawumia said 99 per cent of public corruption was through the procurement process due to the lack of transparency, which needed to be addressed.
Additionally, the Vice President said, there would be a major conference in May this year, to find ways of resolving major inefficiencies in the Port operations, explaining that, there must be radical reforms at the ports because there were too many interface and human contacts resulting in corruption.
The inefficiencies and corruption at the Ports were making the Government lose a lot of revenue.
Dr Bawumia said the recently passed Public Financial Management Act needed some strengthening and amendment that would pave way for Fiscal Responsibility Law to increase transparency and accountability in fiscal management.
There was the need for the country to adopt international best practices for accelerated national development, he explained, saying the economy must be driven by agriculture and manufacturing industry in order to create more jobs and value addition.
“If we maintain discipline in the economic management and allow the businesses to grow then we will get somewhere,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia said the goal of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led Government was to build a strong economy with a stable macroeconomic environment underpinned by fiscal discipline.
The Government was interested in getting businesses to focus on production and giving incentives that would promote conducive business environment, he said.
In addition, he said, there would be a conference to discuss challenges in the Mining sector so that there would be clear understanding towards confronting the challenges to inform the Government’s policy decisions.
The Vice President said the Government had set itself an arduous task of instituting three fundamental pillars that would anchor the formalization of the national economy.
These included the finalisation of the National Identification System, the National Digital System and the Financial Inclusion of the unbanked populace that would facilitate easy processing of documents and delivery of Government services to the citizenry.
Commenting on the macroeconomic environment, he said the Government inherited a very difficult macroeconomic situation with the fiscal deficit around nine per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), saying it was surprising because it was supposed to be around five per cent of GDP.
Therefore, he said, the Government had no choice but to get back to the path of fiscal consolidation, control the deficit and bring down the debt and the interest rate could come down and ensure stability in the currency market.
“We realised that the situation was economically unsustainable, therefore, we needed to craft a budget, which would address the economic challenges, and also give the Government space to grow the economy,” he explained.
Upon assumption of office, he said, the combined wages and salaries, interest payments and statutory payments were more than 100 per cent of the Government’s revenue, explaining, this is the challenge we faced in crafting this year’s budget to address these “the monsters”.
The Vice President noted that tackling statutory payment was also a big challenge for the successive governments, adding that, the Finance Minister, therefore, decided to cap the statutory payment to 25 per cent of Government’s revenue.
“This is a major fiscal adjustment and a very difficult decision the Government took in order to stabilise the economy and create space for growth,” he stressed.
However, that decision would facilitate the process of bringing down the fiscal deficit from nine per cent to 6.5 of GDP so as to ensure fiscal consolidation and value for money.
The Vice President said the Government would establish a Fiscal Council similar to the Fiscal Committee of the Central Bank, which would monitor the fiscal development of Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the state-owned enterprises to enhance transparency and accountability.
In addition, there would be a Fiscal Stability Council that would monitor the overall macroeconomic environment of the country.
For his part, the German Ambassador, Mr. Christoph Retzlaff, said the German Government had launched the 2020 Partnership Initiative with Africa to bring more private businesses and investments to Africa and Ghana, in particular.
This, he said, would create jobs and infrastructural development, adding that, the cooperation between the Germany Business Community and the Government of Ghana would help achieve the objectives.
He commended the Government for putting business first in its development agenda, saying, it would ensure sustainable development.
Mr Retzlaff said the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, would host a conference of selected African leaders and G-20 leaders as well as some civil society organisations on June 13, in Berlin, to discuss development cooperation and conclude the 2020 Compact Initiative with Africa.
Source: Ghana News Agency