Government determined to further reduce poverty- Foreign Affairs Minister
The Government of Ghana is taking steps to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and pursuing opportunities for job creation and youth employment.
Alhaji Muhamad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the goal was to take advantage of the positive economic indicators achieved last year to further reduce poverty.
“The Government is not resting on its oars and remains committed and determined to reduce poverty and upgrade the human development of our country by managing the affairs of the nation in an open, honest and transparent manner, as a pre-requisite for creating a stable and prosperous society ” the Minister said when delivering a speech in the US capital Washington DC on Tuesday, to mark Ghana’s 55th independence anniversary.
The ceremony came a day ahead of President Mills state visit to the US.
Alhaji Mumuni said the achievement of the economic gains made so far had not been easy, but Government was determined to do the right things and remain focused to promote the nation’s social and economic advancement through the reduction of poverty.
He gave an overview of the positive economic indicators, that marked an unprecedented growth in the nation’s history as GDP rose to 13.4 per cent.
Furthermore, a recent World Bank report indicated that in 2011, Ghana was the fastest growing economy in the world, he added.
The Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister said Ghana remained on track and recorded significant progress in all sectors of the economy, with a reduction in inflation to a single digit rate of 8.5 per cent, and a decline in interest rates to the lowest level in four decades.
As at the end of 2011, the budget deficit had been reduced to two per cent of GDP from 14.5 per cent of GDP in 2008.
The Minister indicated that the positive economic indicators had resulted in increased investor confidence in the economy.
“It was through prudent fiscal and economic management that Ghana achieved this level of macro-economic stability,” the Minister said.
He added that oil earnings and savings from Ghana’s oil reserves accruing to the mandated Stabilisation Fund should cushion the economy against external shocks that hurt the economy in the past.
Ghana, the Minister said, earned approximately US$450 million from the sale of crude oil as at the end of last year.
The Ministers said Government would continue to make full public disclosure of all oil lifting and revenue accruing from the exploitation of the oil.
Alhaji Munmuni gave an assurance that Government would fulfill all the obligations that came along with Ghana’s new status as a middle income nation, and entreated the US and other development partners to help her consolidate that position.
He expressed the determination of the Government to maintain the nation’s political stability by sticking to the rule of law, appropriate legislation, good governance and the independence of the judiciary.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said Government was collaborating with the Electoral Commission and other institutions to ensure peace and fairness before, during and after the 2012 elections.
“Ghana has earned an enviable reputation for her commitment to participatory democracy and we cannot afford to lose our hard-won achievements as a country worthy of emulation, as a beacon of democracy on the African continent,” Alhaji Mumuni said.
Mr Johnnie Carson, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, praised the growing relationship between Ghana and the US, and stressed the need for more co-operation for mutual benefit.
The occasion was used to launch a book entitled “United States and Ghana-With Additional Pictures and Updates on US-Africa Engagement” written by Frederick Nnomah-Addison, a Ghanaian resident in the US.