The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Wednesday held its policy rate unchanged at 12.5 per cent for the third consecutive session, citing a fairly balanced outlook to inflation and growth.
“In the assessment of the Monetary Policy Committee, the risks to the outlook for inflation and growth are fairly balanced. The Committee has therefore decided to maintain the policy rate at 12.5 per cent,” Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Governor of the Central Bank, told journalists at a news conference in Accra.
The meeting was to review the trends in the economy, to share recent developments and to position the Policy Rate in the Ghanaian economy.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said despite the fairly balanced outlook in the economy, the emerging volatility in the exchange rate market and aggregate demand pressures driven by wages and salaries as well as arrears clearance still remained threats to the economy.
On Government fiscal operations, Mr Amissah-Arthur said provisional data on the implementation of the Government budget indicated that total revenue and grants for January to November 2011 increased to GH¢9.3 billion from the GH¢6.4 billion recorded for the same period in 2010.
Customs collections comprising import duties, import VAT, Petroleum taxes and NHIL receipts amounted to GH¢3.1 billion while income and property taxes also amounted to GH¢3.1 billion, while indirect domestic tax collections of VAT and Excise Duty and NHIL amounted to GH¢1.1 billion and total grants for the period totalled GH¢340.6 million.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said on the other hand, total expenditure (excluding foreign financed capital expenditure) for the first eleven months of 2011 amounted to GH¢11.5 billion compared to GH¢8.2 billion a year ago.
Wages and salaries and related expenditures totalled GH¢4.5 billion.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said fiscal operations during the period, therefore, resulted in a narrow budget deficit of GH¢2.2 billion. The deficit, together with a net foreign loan repayment of GH¢132.7 million, was financed by a net domestic borrowing of GH¢2.4 billion.
Domestic debt was GH¢11.7 billion at the end of November 2011, showing an increase of 39.2 per cent over the end December 2010 level.
The external debt stock rose by 21.7 per cent over the end of December 2010 level to US$7.6 billion. The total public debt is estimated at GH¢23.4 billion at end November 2011 equivalent to 43.9 per cent of GDP, up from 37.8 per cent of GDP at the end of 2010.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the balance of trade data shows a provisional deficit of US$2.6 billion for the first eleven months of 2011 compared with US$2.4 billion for the corresponding period in 2010.
Total merchandise exports increased to US$11.8 billion in 2011, representing a growth of 64.7 per cent over the value for the same period in 2010.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the strong export growth was driven by gold and cocoa beans with a boost from crude oil and the value of crude oil exports over the same period amounted to US$2.6 billion, while exports of gold and cocoa beans were US$4.5 billion and US$1.9 billion respectively.
Total merchandise imports since the beginning of 2011 amounted to US$14.4 billion, representing an annual growth of 49.9 per cent and Crude oil imports amounted to US$1.2 billion while imports of oil products were US$1.4 billion.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said import of gas through the West African Gas Pipeline was estimated at US$136.9 million.
He said total non-oil imports, classified according to the Basic Economic Classification or end-use, amounted to US$11.6 billion, with the value of capital goods estimated at US$2.5 billion. Consumption goods amounted to US$2.7 billion; Intermediate imports, US$5.6 billion and
other goods, US$770 million.
The Gross International Reserves of the Bank of Ghana was US$4.8 billion as at the end of September 2011. This may be compared to the December 2010 level of US$4.7 billion. GNA