Additionally, the Bank would be helping the government put in place measures to consolidate its fiscal management to ensure that slippages do not occur in the future.
“We will be working on a certain number of questions particularly on the fiscal side to help government put in place rules and regulations of law that will sustain fiscal deficit which is sustainable in the longer term and be able to ensure that slippages are not recorded in the future,” he added.
Mr. Makhtar Diop, who paid a courtesy call on the President, noted that the World Bank was concerned about “one of the engines in the sub-region” and was, therefore, determined to help Ghana emerge out of her current situation.
Private sector growth
Applauding the decision of President Akufo-Addo to stimulate private sector activity to be the instrument of growth for the Ghanaian economy, he explained it was prudent, considering Ghana’s high levels of indebtedness and the lack of fiscal space.
According to him, “the financing needs that the economy must have to sustain the growth that is envisaged for Ghana cannot be attained through public financing, due to the high level of indebtedness that you inherited. So we need to help create all the conditions for the private sector to lead this process.”
Technical and monetary support
He, therefore, pledged the support of the World Bank – experience, technical and monetary – to helping the government of Ghana succeed.
Value-addition to cocoa
Makhtar Diop added that the World Bank is also amenable to helping Ghana to process its cocoa and depart from being a mere exporter of cocoa beans, akin to the support given to Cote d’Ivoire, which has received a $120 million facility to boost value-addition for its cocoa industry.
“Your vision is very clear, and we are supporting it. We have discussed with your team the options from which we can help you address the difficult situations you are facing today. You can count on our full support to be with you and to work with you towards a lasting solution,” he added.
Makhtar Diop congratulated President Akufo-Addo and Ghana “on being an example in Africa on how democracy and political transitions can be held successfully.”
He advised government to work on its tax revenue mobilizations efforts to ensure that revenue targets are realized.
He suggested that property tax for example could yield additional resources for government to reduce its funding needs.
He said once the World Bank has an idea of the financing gap, and what measures the government of Ghana would like to do structurally to address them, then would the World Bank come in to offer help.
Mr Diop who has been engaging with the Ghanaian authorities on priorities set by the new administration on a wide field of issues and how the Bank can help said, the World Bank would initially be accessing the size of government’s Financing gap and what led to the gap.
He iterated that part of his visit is learn about new directions set by the new government and how the World Bank can help on sectors such as energy , Agriculture sector and also ensure that micro economic situation in Ghana is back under control.
He added that the Ghanaian authorities have given enough indications of preparedness to put in place practical and efficient mechanisms to get the Ghanaian economy back on track.
“Indeed the government has been clear to me that they do not want to have commitments made that are not fulfilled hat affects the longer term credibility of the country”
Speaking on government’s resolve to extend its program with the IMF, Diop emphasized that beyond the agreement with the IMF; there should be the determination of the government to own any adjustments that it has to make in the future to be able to bring its gaping budget deficit back under control.
To be able to achieve this, he said there must be a clear determination to ensure irreversibility in government fiscal stance.
“For instance it would be important that once the budget has been presented, the targets that have been set for fiscal deficit be kept”
On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked Makhtar Diop for the gesture of his visit and acknowledged the role he was playing in the global financial organisation, adding that “you have gained the confidence of your peers and the admiration of the continent.”
Describing Ghana as “a country of immense potential”, with “a people who are capable of working hard to produce a prosperous Ghana”, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government is determined to create a conducive climate to stimulate private enterprise growth in the country.
The ‘Asempa Budget’, which has been passed by Parliament, he explained, “contains policy initiatives that will create the needed fiscal space for government to implement its programmes, as well as spur on the development of the private sector.
“It is only when we grow the economy that we will create jobs and prosperity for the people,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.
The President also reiterated his commitment to protecting the public purse and dealing with corruption through the “office of Special Prosecutor, which will be a creature independent of the Executive. It will have the mandate to deal with issues of corruption and allegations of corruption against public office holders.”
The meeting was attended by the Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare; and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.