This year’s annual public lecture organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) (ICAG) has taken place in Accra.


The quarterly public lectures provide the platform for the Institute to present is views on or discuss national and key government policies. 


The lecture, therefore, aimed to interrogate the issues for possible interventions in overcoming the challenges arising from some of the policy implementation.


Speaking on the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Accra on Friday, Prof. Kofi Quartey, Head of Department, Economics, University of Ghana, Legon lauded Government Policy Initiatives on Agriculture and Industry, cautioning, however, that the policy’s implementation should be devoid of partisanship influences in order for it to be successful.


In the area of services, Prof. Quartey said, the Financial sustainability of the `Free SHS’ programme was very critical, adding that 2018 should witness better and well-integrated placement system to avoid the chaos witnessed in 2017.


He noted that infrastructure was inadequate for the Free SHS and expressed the hope that the proposed Education Fund would be able to address it.


He noted that many projects of the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) had stalled because they could not levy to fund their projects.


According to Prof. Quartey, better health systems was key and should be well integrated into a value for money sanitation programme while urging government to do more to drastically reduce child mortality.


He noted that the revenue and expenditure targets were very ambitious and urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to continue to cautiously pursue its revenue mobilization drive while stressing the need to reduce the proportion of revenue spent on wages and salaries by removing Ghost names as well as reducing interest payments.


He urged the Central Bank to continue to pursue inflation targeting, interest rate and exchange rate policies that would promote private sector activities and to regulate unorthodox financial investment institutions such as crypto currencies.


Prof. Quartey described the proposal to establish a National Investment Bank (NIB) as  laudable but that merging Agricultural Development Bank  (ADB) and NIB should be accompanied by policies that would change their mode of operations in favour of SMES.


He noted that debt sustainability remained a major concern and that steps should be taken to reduce it now in view of the `Ghana Beyond Aid’ Agenda.


He said in spite of the commitment to the `Ghana Beyond Aid’ Agenda, donors were still funding some of the projects and cautioned against the allocation of projects as a reward system.


Prof. Quartey noted that there was silence on the promotion of Made-in-Ghana goods in the Budget  while no allocation had been made in the Budget Statement for the implementation of the One District One Factory programme.


He expressed concern about the transformational Agenda in view of the fact that there were no clear-cut plans for the evaluation of the projects.


He urged government to tackle the challenges of the textile industry which, he said, was under siege, adding that the trading of cheap imported goods on the local market was unacceptable.


Prof. Quartey stressed the need for electricity tariff reforms and called for the extension of trainee allowances for those in agricultural colleges.


He cited the registration of farmers and the distribution of seeds to farmers as areas of progress and called for fiscal discipline in order to consolidate the gains of 2017.


In a presentation, Mr Dominic Naab, Chief Revenue Officer, GRA stressed the need for inter-institutional collaboration for revenue mobilization.


For her part, Mad Ayesha Bedwei urged GRA to stop the   leakages while urging all tax payers to file their returns and strive to overcome the implementation challenges of the budget Statement.


A member of the ICAG Council and Chairman for the event, Mad Rebecca Lommo, assured government of a ICAGs support in national development efforts.


 Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)