The Minister for Finance, Mr. Seth Emmanuel Terkper, has disclosed that, to contain the risks to the economy, government has, over the last 2½ years, invested heavily in infrastructure and human settlements development.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, last Tuesday, on the theme: “Ghana—The Turn-Around Story”, Mr. Terkper identified the Transport, Communications and Energy sectors as areas where government had made significant strides.
On the transport sector, he mentioned the expansion of the Kotoka and Tamale International Airports, expansion of Tema and Takoradi harbors and the provision of 116 buses for public road transport as some of the achievements in the area of Transport.
He said, under the Aviation Services Program, Government was implementing the policy of having aerodromes/airstrips in all the ten regions of the country, adding that the Kotoka International Airport had seen expansion and refurbishment.
In addition, Mr. Terkper said a seven-storey Ghana Aviation Training Academy (GATA) had been constructed while three 50-Seater high speed passenger ferries and one modular passenger/freight vessel had been purchased under the Maritime Services Program for operation along the Volta Lake.
He said under the Rail Transport Program, government had embarked on the reconstruction of the Sekondi-Takoradi via Kojokrom (Western Line) to provide sub-urban passenger rail transport service between the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi.
Adding that 800 kilometers of fibre optic infrastructure, running through 126 communities along the eastern corridor from Ho to Bawku with a link from Yendi to Tamale, had been deployed to improve communication while the Atuabo Gas Plant had been completed to add 845 MW of power to the generation capacity to enhance the efficiency of the Energy sector.
On health care delivery, the Finance Minister disclosed that the Tarkwa District Hospital, Phase III of the Nkrankwanta, Wamfie, Kwatre, Bomaa and Techimantia polyclinics in the Brong Ahafo Region and Phase II of Bolgatanga Regional Hospital had all been completed.
In addition, he said, high-end medical imaging services were decentralized to the Koforidua, Sunyani, Ridge, Effia-Nkwanta and Cape-Coast regional hospitals whilst a non-invasive kidney stones treatment system was installed at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Tamale Teaching Hospital and the Ridge Hospital.
Mr. Terkper pledged government’s commitment to the structural reform agenda in the areas of Tax Policy and Administration, Public Financial Management Reform, Payroll Management, Treasury and Cash Management and other reforms such as health insurance reforms and social intervention programs including school feeding.
He disclosed that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was on course with the implementation of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) including frequent verification visits to monitor Withholding Agents while enforcement and debt collection in addition to field and desk audits were strengthened during the period, with monitoring through compliance visits and frequent phone calls to taxpayers playing a key role in achieving the target.
He said a Draft Public Financial Management Law had been prepared while an Electronic Salary Payment Voucher system (E-SPV) that allowed for real-time validation of each employee before the payment of monthly salaries had been introduced which facilitated the deletion of 5,861 people from the Payroll from January to September 2015, with a cumulative savings for the 9 months of about GH₵111,256,375.44, adding that the head of unit now determined who should be paid for a particular month.
Cabinet, Mr Terkper said, had also approved a Treasury Single Account and Action Plan was being drafted under the Treasury and Cash Management reforms.