2023 Budget: Government aims to cut imports by 50%

The government has introduced measures aimed at boosting the local productive capacity of the country.

This move, which forms part of the government’s seven-point agenda to restore macroeconomic stability is expected to help cut down on imports and its associated pressure on the local currency.

Presenting the 2023 budget statement, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said to boost the local productive capacity, the government would among other things cut the imports of public sector institutions that rely on imports either for inputs or consumption by 50 percent.

He indicated that the government would work with the Ghana Audit Service and the Internal Audit Agency to ensure compliance in this regard.

Mr. Ofori-Atta added that the government would also support the aggressive production of strategic substitutes, including the list disclosed in the President’s last address to the nation.

“We will also support large-scale agriculture and agribusiness interventions through the Development Bank Ghana,” Ofori-Atta stated.

The Finance Minister also pointed out that the government would introduce policies for the protection and incubation of newly formed domestic industries. This is to allow them make the goods produced here competitive with imported goods.

Promoting exports
Mr. Ofori-Atta also revealed the plans by the government to promote exports in the country.

He said the plans included actively encouraging the consumption of locally produced rice, poultry, vegetable oil and fruit juices, and ceramic tiles among others.

“Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, Ghana’s heavy dependence on imports places tremendous pressure on the Cedi, creating an unfavourable balance of payments position.”

“On average, Ghana’s import bill exceeds US$10 billion annually and is accounted for by a diverse range of items that include iron, steel, aluminum, sugar, rice, fish, poultry, palm oil, cement, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, Toilet roll, toothpick, fruit juices, etc,” the Finance Minister stated.

He said the country currently has the capacity to locally produce items that account for about 45 percent of the value of our annual imports. These include rice, fish, sugar, poultry, cement, pharmaceuticals, jute bags, and computers, among others.

Additionally, Mr. Ofori-Atta indicated that the government would target these products for import substitution by supporting the private sector, through partnerships with existing and prospective businesses to expand, rehabilitate and establish manufacturing plants targeted at producing these selected items.

 

Source: Metro news

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