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General News
We will achieve growth targets – Finance Minister 6/8/2007
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, has given the assurance that the country will achieve the growth rate of 6.5 per cent this year, despite the energy crisis.

He said although energy was crucial for the growth of the economy, the agricultural and services sectors would not be seriously affected by the problem.

He was speaking at a business breakfast meeting in Accra on Local Government reforms and their impact on national development.

It was organised by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment.

Mr Baah-Wiredu asked those who doubted the attainment of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate to analyse the factors which would contribute to the achievement of the growth targets.

He said his ministry was monitoring the situation to find out sectors which would be affected by the energy crisis and fast-track the productive activities in areas which could grow, despite the energy problem.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the agricultural sector involved the production of food crops, cash crops and livestock and noted that these could still proceed without energy.

He encouraged farmers to step up production so that the shortfall in other sectors would not affect the growth target.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said cocoa production, for instance, would not require energy and said last year farmers were able to produce about 740,000 tonnes of cocoa.

He said the manufacturing sector would face challenges but indicated that the services sector could be on course if those in the sector used power judiciously.

He cited the case Of Liberia which had power only in the capital, Monrovia, but whose growth irate was eight percent, adding that even in war-torn areas such as Iraq and Lebanon their growth was on course.

Mr Baah-Wiredu noted that if everybody worked hard, coupled with the efforts of the Ministry of Energy, to fix the energy problem, the country would be on track to attain its target.

He asked the people to rise up to the opportunities and challenges and do more to improve our present state of development.

The Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, said the ministry was considering proposal to reduce the number of assembly and unit committee members in the country.

It was also to re-demarcate the electoral areas of district assemblies for the purpose of making them manageable and effectively resourced, he said.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng added that the sub-metros of the cities would be elevated to municipal status to speed up development and service delivery, adding that the urban/town/zonal/area councils would also be strengthened with well paid staff.

He said the moves would seek to look at the 30 percent appointment of the total membership of an assembly by the President, adding that the modalities for the appointment of the members might not be followed, thereby becoming an avenue for political patronage.

He stated that it had also been proposed that district chief executives (DCEs) preside over assembly meetings to help abolish the position of presiding member (PM) from the structure.

The former Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze, commended the efforts of the ministry to reform the sector and asked for the support of all stakeholders.

Culled from Daily Graphic

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