President John Dramani Mahama has given an assurance that Ghana’s inflation rate will fall to a single digit by 2017 when the country exits from the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The programme would also help reduce the country’s budget deficit, while stabilising the cedi, the President said at the launch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2016 campaign in Cape Coast last Sunday.
Inflation has been declining marginally over the last four months, with July 2016 inflation being 16.7 per cent.
The last time Ghana recorded a single digit inflation was in January 2013 when the rate at which prices of goods and services increased reduced to 8.8 per cent.
Explaining why the government went for the IMF programme, the President said it was meant to stabilise the economy and create a positive outlook for the nation.
It was also to help restore policy credibility after some fiscal slippages had eroded the confidence of the international community in the economy.
“In 2013, we were running a budget deficit of close to 12 per cent, rising inflation, depreciating currency and spiralling interest rate. This created a negative outlook for both domestic and international investors,” he said.
President Mahama said most of the conditions set by the IMF had, so far, been met by the government.
He said, for instance, that since January, the government had been implementing zero central bank financing which meant that the government was no longer borrowing from the central bank.
“This is unprecedented in the history of Ghana. What it means is that we have financed government’s expenditure this year up till now from Ghana’s own revenue,” he said.
President Mahama recalled that his first term was confronted with challenges but said with hard work significant progress had been made.
“My first term in office has been a very challenging but positive and fruitful one. In all the challenges that we have faced, God has created an opportunity for us to lay a foundation for the sustainable development of our dear nation Ghana.
“Shortly after our inauguration, the party was faced with the prolonged electoral dispute, some serious economic challenges, crippling power challenges, a spate of industrial unrest and market fires. Dissatisfied with the election results, our opponents tied the whole nation down,” he said.
He said while a lot had been done in addressing the power crisis, a lot needed to be done to bring the situation to expected height.
“I am committed to making Ghana attain not only energy sufficiency but become a power hub of Africa,” he said.
He explained that the difficult decisions he had taken were meant to bring stability to the economy and thanked Ghanaians for their forbearance.
He dismissed assertions that the results of this year’s WASSCE were the worst in the history of the country, explaining that the statistics pointed to the contrary.
President Mahama, however, conceded that there was still a lot of work to be done in the educational sector.
He said by the time he leaves office in 2021, Ghana would be one of the countries with the best road networks in Africa.
He stressed the need for political parties to avoid acts that could mar the peace and stability of the nation during the elections.
In that connection, he declared political party vigilante groups as illegal.