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ISSER calls for permanent development plan

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The Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), has called for the development of a permanent long-term development plan that would meet the country’s needs.

It said changes in the strategic development and direction of the country anytime there was a change in government must seize to ensure that successive governments followed through with the plan designed for the country.

Dr Felix Asante, Senior Research Fellow ISSER, who made the call, said the desire of every government to pursue its own agenda had not augur well for the country’s accelerated development in the past 20 years.

Ghana in the last two decades has seen five development plans.

Dr Asante made the call at the launch of the State of Ghanaian Economy Report 2010 and Mid-Year Review 2011 in Accra.

He said in addition to the development plan, government must deal with the issue of productivity, enforcement of law and promotion of science and technology to help transform the economy.

Touching on the fiscal outlook for 2011, Dr Asante said although government’s aim was to reduce the fiscal deficit in the medium term, high fiscal deficits, relatively high interest rates, high unemployment, could pose constraint to attainment of the objective.

He said while the measures outlined by government to achieve the fiscal targets were laudable, they did not guarantee any major improvement in government’s fiscal space in the short term.

“We conclude by noting that it will be difficult to meet the fiscal deficit target for the year. This can only happen if non-oil tax revenue is able to exceed its target or the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) is delayed and spread over a few more years,” Dr Asante said.

He said the disinflationary process was on course but warned that if the expenditures were not well managed, the single digit inflation target would be missed.

“Also unless more aggressive efforts are made to reduce the cost of loans and other costs of doing business, the private sector would not be able to take advantage of low inflation and other government policies aimed at creating a vibrant private sector that will create jobs and promote economic growth,” he said.

Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of University of Ghana said government could tackle the unemployment problem by addressing the structural defects in the economy through proper and targeted industrial policy and commended the government for coming out with one.

He said the industrial policy must create networks and help to facilitate the private sector through the provision of timely information to investors.

Dr Robert Osei, Senior Research Fellow and Head, Economics Division of ISSER, stressed the need to keep an eye on the growing public debt so as not to derail the economic gains so far made.

Source: GNA

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