Government to stay within budget limit – Mahama
The Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, has assured members of the business community that the government will stay focused and be within its budget limits despite the fact that the country will soon be entering into an election year.
He said the government would prefer to stay within budget rather than over-spend despite the upward oil price movements which had been a major treat to the national economy.
Mr Mahama at a meeting with the Goven1ing Council of the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) stated that the government had also put a freeze on issuing of licences to new banks, coming into effect after two already in the pipeline have been completed.
The governing council was led by Mr Asare Akuffo, President of PEF, and its Director-General, Mr Osei Boah-Ocansey.
The meeting, which was the first regular one of the bi-annual dialogue with the Presidency and the Governing Council of the foundation, is aimed at addressing various issues confronting the business community in the country.
At the meeting, a number of issues were discussed which include interest rates, pricing of petroleum products, improvement in the tax systems, arrears with the contractors, credit to small and medium-scale enterprises and pricing and delivery of utility services.
On the petroleum issues, the Vice-President agreed with the foundation that adjustments in the pricing of petroleum products should be gradual and on a consistent basis and that the huge percentage increases had’ negative effect on everyone in the country.
The Vice President said bringing the revenue agencies under one umbrella would help to address the issue of large majority of people refusing to file their tax returns and pointed out that the government was concerned about the tax situation in the country and did not believe that the tax burden should be borne by a few individuals and companies.
On utility services, Mahama said experience from the telecommunication sector showed that deregulation was of benefit to the country and, therefore, no sector in the country should be insulated from deregulation.
Mr Mahama noted that under the Public Private Partnership, opportunities existed for the private sector to participate in the production and distribution of water and disclosed that the government was studying a model used in one of the East African countries where every region had its own water company.
He said the country could develop a 20-year development programme for the redesigning of the capital city to make management of basic utility services better and assured members of the foundation that the report concerning spatial planning and the development of a light rail system for Accra using tram lines would be sent to the foundation for their study and views.
Source: Daily Graphic