Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia has highlighted 103 achievements under President Nana Akufo-Addo to mark the 100th day of his presidency.
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting on Monday at the new court complex in Accra organised by Joy FM, the vice president described his boss as “workaholic president” who has achieved a lot in his 100 days in office.
He said the Akufo-Addo government inherited a difficult economic situation “where the finances of government were in a very bad shape.”
However, he said the governing New Patriotic Party had made specific “promises to reduce taxes, restore nursing training allowance, one district, one factory, one village one dam and one million dollars for each constituency.”
“And at the same time we said that we were going to bring down the deficit and increase government revenue,” he said. “This was the background against which we went into the budget discussions for 2017. And thankfully by the grace of God, we’ve been able to accomplish what many people thought was impossible.”
According to him, the NPP’s first budget moved away from taxation to production, saying the focus was to give incentives to the private sector to bring down tax rate and encourage more production.
Highlighting the 103 achievements, the vice president said tax on spare parts has been abolished, “we reduced the national electrification levy from 5% to 3%, reduce the public lighting levy from 5% to 2%, reduce the special petroleum tax levy from 17.5% to 15%, we replaced the 17.5% VAT on small traders with a flat rate of 3% and we granted tax exceptions on stocks traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
“These were the major the tax change and they are indeed achievements of this government,” he said.
According to him, the 2017 budget “returned Ghana back onto the path of fiscal consolidation with a budget deficit target of 6.5% we ended 2016 with a budget deficit of close to 9% and we are going to bring it down this year to 6.6%.”
He said government also created fiscal space by capping earmarked funds of government agencies, describing it as a “remarkable reform” which successive government could not do.
“Government also created a lot of fiscal space by capping earmarked funds to 25% of government revenue and realigning expenditures to government priorities. This capping of the earmarked funds is a remarkable reform,” he said.
He said the capping created the need space for the government to spend because the budget was under stress from wages and salaries and other commitments.
“We began the process of re-profiling the public debt. As you know the public debt ended at GHC122 billion in 2016. And we as a matter of strategy began re-profiling our debt. This means we are replacing more expensive debt with less expensive debt. Short term debt with longer term debt,” he said.
He said the last 100 days has seen a massive increase in the foreign exchange reserves
“From independence in 1957 to the end of 2016, Ghana’s total foreign reserve was $6 billion. In less than hundred days, we have increased those reserves from $6 billion to $8 billion”
He has such prudent management of the economy boost investor confidence in the economy.
Bawumia further said the exchange rate has stabilised and the cedi has appreciated in value.
“We want to make sure that we pursue sound policies to keep the cedi stable,” he said. “Inflation has come down from 15% when we came into office to 12.6% now.”