Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning will today present the 2011 budget statement to Parliament it is expected to focus on growth after two years of strong stability.
The budget which is anchored on the theme: “Stimulating Growth and Development for Job Creation” will focus on major growth-oriented programmes and projects that would improve and sustain Ghana’s middle income status.
A source at the Ministry of Finance who disclosed this in an interview with the Times yesterday, said significant investments would be made in the areas of agriculture, energy, housing, rail transport, roads and highways to facilitate private sector expansion for employment generation.
“There will also be major investments in education, health and water sectors. The execution of these growth-driven activities will be complemented by social intervention programmes in pursuit of the social democratic tenets of the NDC government. Specifically all the social intervention programmes in the health and education sectors will continue,” it said
According to the source the budget would address the challenges in the agricultural sector by accelerating its modernization and development.
“To raise productivity and increase production, the use of agricultural mechanization will be accelerated. Government will collaborate with the private sector to build their capacity to produce and or assemble appropriate and affordable agricultural machinery, tools and other equipment locally,” it said.
In the areas of roads and highways infrastructure the source said the government would continue with its resolve to improve access and mobility in road networks to reduce travelling and vehicle operating cost (VOC) associated with bad roads.
“In this regard, government will enter into a pre-financing arrangement with funding agencies, contractors to finance the completion of some big on-going projects like the Achimota-Ofankor, Tetteh Quashie-Madina and Nsawam-Apedwa by-pass. This option, when fully explored, will free resources to finance critical but less expensive road projects,” it said.
The source said the recently commissioned Accra-Tema railway line would be extended from the harbour area to Tema Community 1 to improve the suburban rails.
The rehabilitation of the Western Line which commenced in 2009, according to the source would be continued to facilitate freight movement on the line and boost the revenues of Ghana Railway Company to take it off government subvention.
To enhance access to housing and bridge the 1,000,000 housing deficit, the source said the government would commence construction of 200,000 affordable housing units in selected cities and towns across the country.
“This will be achieved through the loan agreement with STX Company. Additionally, the financing arrangement with private sector will be undertaken to complete the affordable housing schemes currently under construction,” it said.
On the emerging oil and gas sector, the source said although the nation will begin to reap the benefits of the oil find in terms of revenue in 2011, the flow of revenue from oil in these early years would be in small portions.
“For the 2011 fiscal year, expected oil revenue will form only about six percent of total revenue. Ghanaians must therefore continue to focus their attention on the non-oil sectors of the economy which hitherto has been the backbone of the economy,” it said.
On education the source said the budget would place premium on an intensified enrolment drive by continuing the provision of free uniforms for children in basic schools in deprived communities, to increase access to basic education whilst the Ministry expedites action towards the attainment of universal primary education by 2012.
To promote the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in basic and senior high school, the source said the Ministry of Education had entered into partnership with the China Communication Services Corporation to provide ICT equipment and related software for basic and senior high schools nationwide.