…As EU gives Zambia $21m grant to improve public finance management***
Ghana’s economy grew by 8.5 per cent in 2017 – the fastest rate in five years – mainly due to increased oil and gas production, the country’s statistics office said on Wednesday.
The office noted in a statement in Ghana that the West African nation recorded economic growth of 3.7 per cent in 2016.
It indicated that growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 per cent, compared with 9.7 per cent in the third quarter of the year under review.
It stated that third quarter figure was revised upward from 9.3 per cent.
Ghana, which exports cocoa and gold, started oil production in late 2010 from its flagship offshore Jubilee field with a daily output of 100,000 barrels per day.
It recorded its fastest ever growth rate of 14 per cent in 2011 and the economy grew by 9.3 per cent in 2012.
The Ghana Government statistician, Baah Wadieh, told reporters in Accra that “oil and gas are the key drivers of the growth.
“Oil production grew by 80.4 per cent in 2017.”
Aside Jubilee, Ghana also produces oil from TEN field and reserves operated by Italy’s Eni which came onstream in 2017. London-listed Tullow Oil is lead operator for both Jubilee and TEN.
Ghana is in its final year of a 918-million-dollar credit deal with International Monetary Fund to narrow deficit and debt and spur growth.
Annual consumer inflation eased to 10.4 per cent in March from 10.6 per cent the previous month, the statistics office added
Meanwhile, the EU on Wednesday signed a 17 million Euros (21 million dollars) financing agreement with the Zambian Government aimed at helping the southern African nation strengthen its public finance management system.
The support is for a programme on Effectiveness and Transparency in Management of Public Resources (EFFECT), a five-year programme that will help the country to improve public finance management.
Funded under the 11th European Development Fund, the programme will contribute to the improvement of planning, budgeting and budget implementation by the Zambian Government.
It will also improve capacities of oversight on public institutions and support the country’s revenue agency in its efforts to modernise revenue collection processes to ensure that the tax system is simpler and ensure expanded tax compliance.
“The programme we are launching reflects the EU approach “collect more-spend better,” intended to reinforce governance, raise the revenue collection, and improve the quality of spending,” EU Ambassador to Zambia, Alessadro Mariani, said during the signing ceremony.
According to him, the programme also reflects the need to strengthen fiscal transparency and accountability through effective oversight of the country’s budget in all its phases.
The programme will address some of the key challenges Zambia is facing in the field of public finance management, which in turn are critical for sustained inclusive growth, he added.
While acknowledging reforms in recent years, the EU noted that Zambia still faces major challenges in the field of public finance management.
Fredson Yamba, the Secretary to the Treasury thanked the EU over its support to Zambia especially in the area of good governance.
The government, he said, has remained committed to enhancing sound public financial management systems and good governance as demonstration through the implementation of various public finance management reforms.
He, however, said recent revelations in the Auditor-General’s report have exposed inadequacies in the management of public finances and reveal that government’s overall control systems still require further strengthening.
According to him, the EU support will complement government’s efforts to improve prudent use of public resources and ensure accountability.