Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said government through prudent management of the economy successfully reduced the country’s debt burden.
“This was achieved as a result of a reduction in the fiscal deficit and a policy of debt re-profiling,” he stated Wednesday during his presentation of the 2018 budget.
“Consequently,” he continued, “the debt to GDP ratio has declined from 73 percent at the end of December 2016 to 68.6 percent at the end of September 2017.”
He further explained that the annual average rate of debt accumulation of 36.0 percent over the last four years has declined over the last nine months to about 13.58 percent.
Ghana’s total public debt as at May this year reached GHS137 billion and, according to the breakdown of the debt numbers by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the debt stock increased by GHS9.4billionin three months from GHS127.8billion.
Presenting the budget which the government themed: ‘Putting Ghana back to work’, Mr Ofori-Atta also touched on the government’s revenue measure for 2018, saying as a policy to stimulate investment and to further shape economic behaviour, the following policies will be introduced in 2018:
- “Tax Breaks to help Position Ghana as a Higher-Education Hub;
- Grant tax Incentives for Young Entrepreneurs of age 35 years and below who start their own businesses holidays based on the number of persons employed;
- Review the current income tax thresholds by pegging the tax-free threshold to the current minimum wage in an effort to protect low income earners and ensure fairness in our income tax administration;
- Introduce a Voluntary Disclosure Procedures (VDP) in the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) to waive penalty on voluntary disclosures and payment of unreported and understated taxes by taxpayers within a period agreed with the Commissioner- General of GRA.
- Extension of National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (NFSL) and Special Import Levy (SIL) to end 2019: as a short term measure as efforts are made to improve compliance.
He further noted that government in 2018 would undertake a comprehensive review of pay systems to attract and retain skilled personnel to the public.
Also, he said government will accelerate the full roll out of the Human Resource Management Information system (HRMIS) to cover all MDAs, MMDAs and Subvented institutions by the end of June 2018.
“As a continuous measure to decentralise salary validation and ownership by management units across the country, government will leverage the THEME “Putting Ghana back to work” 20 existence of Internal Audit Units in the various MDAs and MMDAs across the country to provide assurance on Electronic Salary Payment Validation (eSPV) and HR validation,” he explained.