Member of parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has dared the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to build a befitting economy.
Reacting to the finance minister’s call for Ghanaians to support the Bank of Ghana’s construction of a new head office, Mr Ablakwa expressed his reservation about Mr Ofori-Atta’s plea.
He emphasized the need for the finance minister to live up to government’s claim of reviving the economy first.
“Why not build a befitting economy for all of us first? This is the self-acclaimed Solid Team!”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
The finance minister in an article titled: ‘Citizens – Standing Strong with the Bank of Ghana’ called on all Ghanaians to rally and provide the Bank of Ghana with the needed support in the ongoing construction of its new head office.
Mr Ofori-Atta conceded that the country is facing economic challenges but noted that the construction of the new BoG headquarters is a necessary investment in the future of Ghana’s economy.
To this end, he urged the public to cease the “uproar and opposition” against the ongoing construction and render support to the Central Bank to build an edifice that is “a befitting office space for a country that hosts the AfCFTA”.
“With respect to the BoG’s new headquarters, the evidence is clear that decisions to build had already been made long before these losses occurred.
“It is important for us to support such a critical institution to modernize its operations and have a befitting office space for a country that hosts the AfCFTA and has the vision to become the financial services hub of the continent.”Ken Ofori-Atta
Furthermore, Mr Ofori-Atta defended the work of BoG Governor, Ernest Addison, insisting that he is a “competent professional of quiet courage”. He equally lauded the Governor’s capability in salvaging the economy with his years of experience.
Additionally, he stated that Dr Addison brought inflation down to single digits of 7.9% for the first time and managed an “impressive period of currency stability” in the country including the implementation of the Gold-for-Oil programme.
“In these nearly seven years, we have worked together to ensure: the inviolability of the banking system; the establishment of the Consolidated Bank of Ghana (CBG) and the Development Bank of Ghana; the raising of over $10 billion in the Eurobond market and AfriExim bank…”Ken Ofori-Atta
Ofori-Atta lauds BoG’s impact on economy
Among other things, the finance minister touted the Central Bank’s assets, which he claimed have grown almost in tandem with the size of the financial sector and economy.
He noted that from some GHC53b in 2016, the Bank’s assets have grown by nearly 150% to GHC126 billion as of the end of 2022.
“The foundation has never been conspicuous – our revenue has more than doubled since 2016, with total revenue increasing from ¢32 billion in 2016 to ¢96.7 billion (end-December 2022).
“The size of our economy has also more than doubled from a GDP value of ¢219.6 billion in 2016 to an estimated ¢610.2b by the end of 2022… More pragmatically the number of active contributors on the SSNIT register has increased from 1.3 million in 2016 to over 1.8 million in 2022.”Ken Ofori-Atta
Furthermore, Mr Ofori-Atta underscored the progress made in digitization, infrastructure, armed forces, police and public spending on education. He further highlighted on the inroads made in agriculture (cocoa and PFJ), health, and school feeding among others.
Following this, he emphasized that spending on the education sector including universities, second-cycle institutions and basic schools collectively constitute about 20% of tax revenue.
This, he revealed, includes compensation, goods and services, and GETFund spending on infrastructure, while the health sector consumes about 8-10% of tax revenue.