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Press highlights Fitch’s rating for Ghana, others

The Fitch's rating of Ghana as the fastest growing economy in Sub Saharan Africa as it emerges strongly from the…

The Fitch’s rating of Ghana as the fastest growing economy in Sub Saharan Africa as it emerges strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and the hosting of the maiden delocalised committee meeting of ECOWAS Parliament from July 27 to July 31, 2021 are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has noted that Fitch Rating agency projected Ghana to be the fastest growing economy in Sub Saharan Africa as it emerges strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic,

The agency also projects that the economy will be restored to its previous position before the onset of the pandemic.

Last year, in the midst of global recession, Ghana’s economy and a few others in the world recorded positive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This buttressed the findings of the Ghana Statistical Services that the first quarter of 2021 witnessed a GDP growth 3.1 percent.

President Akufo-Addo announced this in Accra yesterday at the Performance Contract Signing ceremony for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), joint venture companies (JVCs) and other state entities under the patronage of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA).

In all, 71 organisations, including the Graphic Communications Group Limited, signed the pact to meet certain performance indicators.

The event was themed: “Driving the Implementation of Performance Enhancement Measures in SOEs, JVCs and Other State Entities.”

The various chief executives of the SOEs, their sector ministers, the Minister of Public Enterprise, Mr Joseph Cudjoe, and the Director-General of SIGA, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, signed the performance agreements.

The newspaper says that Ghana will host the maiden delocalised committee meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Winneba, Central Region, from July 27 to July 31, 2021.

The meeting will bring together 30 Members of Parliament (MPs) from three committees of the ECOWAS Parliament, namely Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT); and Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanisms.

The participants from 15 countries will deliberate on how to foster uniformity and proper regulations in the application and use of telecommunications and information technology in the sub-region.

With this arrangment, it will mean that instead of the committee meetings being held at Abuja, the seat of the ECOWAS Parliament, it will now move be rotated among member countries, for which Ghana is hosting the first.

Some consultants will be in attendance to apprise the members of the best way to integrate telecommunication infrastructure and push for common reforms and legislations to improve telecommunication services in the region.

The meeting forms part of efforts by the Abuja-based regional bloc to encourage member countries to host localised meetings of its various committees in order to reach out to the community’s citizens in West Africa.

Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, will today join the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr Mohammed Tunis, to officially open and address the ceremony, which will be held on the theme: “Telecommunication and information technology and its Impacts on security and human rights in the sub-region.”

The ceremony comes ahead of the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS in Ghana in September, this year.

The Graphic also reports that the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako Enyan Essiam constituency and Minority Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has cautioned that Ghana could fail to meet its debt service obligations if urgent steps are not taken to seek debt relief from its lenders.

The Finance and Accounting practitioner was speaking at a Policy Dialogue held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra on Monday, July 26, 2021.

He said the current debt profile of the country made it unsustainable and was putting severe pressure on the nation’s finances, making it difficult to meet debt service deadlines while meeting other expenditure commitments at the same time.

Dr Forson said available figures showed that up to 87 per cent of government tax revenue went into debt servicing which is the payment of interest and amortisation alone, leaving very little for investment in critical sectors of the economy.

That, he said, would worsen if the current borrowing situation continued into the foreseeable future.

“The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government must seek urgent debt relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through the newly proposed Debt Relief Initiative, known as the Common Framework for Debt Treatments Beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which can be likened to the HIPC Initiative,” Dr Forson said at the event attended by a cross-section of Minority MPs and some Academics drawn from various Universities in the capital.

He added that “Failure by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to do as recommended, within the next 18 months, would expose Ghana to a High Risk of Default on its debt service obligations which will plunge the country into much deeper economic crisis.”

The Daily Guide says that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana has maintained the policy rate at 13.5 percent, determining that the risk to inflation and growth were broadly balanced.

Inflation has fallen in recent months from 10.3 percent in March to 7.5 in May within the Bank of Ghana target band of 8 percent plus or minus two percentage points.

“The latest forecast remained broadly unchanged with inflation projected to remain within the band and around the central path in the forecast horizon barring any upside risks from fiscal pressures,” the Committee said in a statement after its meetings.

The statement said while global growth recovery was ongoing, driven by continued policy support and rising consumer confidence, the outlook remained uncertain due to uneven vaccination across regions, rising COVID-19 infection rates fueled by new variants of the virus, cases of vaccine hesitancy and divergence in the recovery across jurisdictions.

It said the opening-up of economies, rising inflation abroad, stronger growth outcomes in advanced economies with possible interest rate responses from central banks were beginning to shape investors’ behaviour with potential impact on the domestic bond market.

However, the banking sector performance reflected sustained growth in customer deposits, investments, total assets, and profits and key financial soundness indicators remain healthy in relation to liquidity and solvency.

“The growth rebound which began in the last quarter of 2020 has continued into the first half of 2021,” it added.

On fiscal operations, the Committee noted that the budget deficit exceeded its target in the first five months mainly on the back of revenue underperformance.

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