By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, July 31, GNA - The country’s gross international reserves increased slightly in the first half of the year up from US$4.9 billion at the end of December 2016 to US$5.9 billion.
This implied that the amount could provide 3.4 months of import cover for the country as against 2.8 months of import cover at the end of December 2016.
In addition, the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the first quarter stood at 6.6 per cent as against 4.4 per cent for the same period in 2016.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, made this known on the floor of Parliament on Monday when he presented the 2017 Mid-year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2017 Budget in fulfilment of Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, Act 921 of 2016.
He said the agriculture sector recorded 7.8 per cent growth against five per cent for the same period in 2016.
The Minister noted that the industry recorded 11.5 per cent increase against 1.8 per cent for the same period in 2016 while the services experienced a downturn with 3.7 per cent against 6.6 per cent for the same period in 2016.
The non-oil GDP growth rate was 3.9 per cent against 6.3 per cent for the same period in 2016.
The country’s inflation rate stood at 12.1 per cent at the end of June, down from 15.4 per cent at the end of December 2016.
The 91-day Treasure-bill rates stood at 12.08 per cent at the end of June down from 16.4 per cent at end of 2016.
The Finance Minister stated that government was working towards eliminating all arrears by end 2019 following the outcome of an audit of the outstanding commitment generated as at end of 2016 adding that it had instituted stringent measures to prevent the accumulation of new ones.
He said the fiscal deficit on cash basis was GH¢5.6 billion (2.7 per cent of GDP compared to GH¢6.7 billion (4.0 percent of GDP) recorded in the same period in 2016;
The primary balance recorded a surplus of 0.6 per cent of GDP against a target deficit of 0.01 per cent.
“We are optimistic that we will sustain the gains made in macroeconomic stability and instil more confidence in the economy for both domestic and international investors,” he said.
The Minister, on behalf of government, expressed appreciation to the House for their co-operation and support in the management of the economy over the past few months.
“It is our expectation that we continue to strengthen this relationship towards the achievement of our collective development goals,” he said.