Regional Course on Financial Programming, Policies opens

A regional training on Financial Programming and Policies (FPP) to equip financial experts with tools to formulate and implement macroeconomic and financial policies for the growth, stability and poverty reduction opened in Accra on Monday.

Senior level personnel from the central banks in West Africa are attending the course which would also cover an examination and analysis of linkages between the different macroeconomic sectoral accounts, application of forecasting techniques and modeling.

The week long programme is being organized by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with funding from the Government of Japan.

In a speech read for him Dr Paul A. Acquah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said prior to the global financial crisis in 2008, over two decades of economic and financial reforms and structural adjustment in sub-Saharan African countries had succeeded in reducing some of the economic imbalances.

He said however that, growth remained unexciting without much meaningful inroads into poverty reduction.

“There has been a reduction in fiscal deficits in most of the countries in the sub-region; but I hasten to add that slippages have been experienced that need to be rectified in order to sustain the gains made so far,” he said.

Dr Acquah said those high deficits would put pressures on the recently achieved public external debt relief and exacerbate the already onerous domestic debt.

He said servicing of the public debt was laying claim to government revenues that should ideally be targeted at poverty reducing expenditures such as education, health and socio, economic infrastructure.

He said policy makers in Africa had come to the realization that the attainment of fiscal policy objectives had a direct correspondence to making strident headway in ushering in good governance, transparency, accountability and probity in the management of public resources.

In that regards, he said government had enacted anti-corruption laws and measures that would make a difference in addressing that problem.

“With the on-going global financial crisis, it is envisaged that the Sub-Saharan Africa would be adversely affected in the long-run if adequate steps are not taken to forestall the consequences. This can be achieved through effective policy measures,” he said.

Professor Akpan H. Ekpo, Director General of WAIFEM, said institute was established by the central banks of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in 1996 to build capacity for improved macroeconomic and financial management in the constituent member countries.

He said from 1997 to 2000, the Institute concentrated on customized short-term training which benefited 1,064 participants from the central banks, ministries of finance and planning, and other public sector agencies.

“The following period 2001 to 2005, marked the commencement of the donor-supported Capacity Building Programme (CBP) Phase I which entailed a paradigmatic shift to integrated capacity building which goes beyond training alone to include organizational and institutional aspects.

“At the end of 2005, the Institute executed 135 training programmes which benefited 3,759 participants from the Institute’s traditional clientele in West Africa and beyond to include participants from other regions in Africa, Europe and Latin America,” he added.

Prof. Ekpo said WAIFEM, determined to consolidate the gains of the first phase and promote good governance and international best practices in macroeconomic management for rapid economic growth and development in the sub-region, had commenced the CBP phase II for the period 2006 to 2009.

He said so far, WAIFEM had successfully executed over 200 activities for the benefit of more than 10,000 participants including ministers, governors of central banks, public and private sector middle/executive officials, legislators, practitioners in the media and university lecturers.

Source: GNA

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