We still need foreign aid – finance minister

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The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta says the government will not reject international assistance because of the ‘Ghana beyond aid’ policy strategy.

He noted during the weekend that, development assistance will continue to be welcomed but it has to be in line with the country’s development agenda.

He explained that, the aim of the new policy direction is to “shrink [foreign assistance] to its logical conclusion.”

“Aid is one form of external influence… [so] we are going to be more strategic,” he told the gathering.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has set the agenda to wean Ghana off foreign aid through robust revenue mobilization and fiscal discipline.

The president last month told an audience in London that, “we no longer want to offer the justification for those who want to be rude and abusive to Africa and her peoples.”

Some political critics have laughed off the new policy direction, saying Ghana will not be able to extricate itself from donor handouts.

But speaking on the theme ‘Transforming Ghana beyond Aid: How we will get there’, the Finance Minister said the government will revamp all the sectors of the economy to build a “fully fledged middle-income country.”

This will be done by harnessing Ghana’s resources to drive industrialization, Mr. Ofori-Atta said.

“Leveraging Ghana’s resources requires focused strategies,” he said, drawing an analogy from Moses’ encounter with the burning bush in the Bible when his staff turned into a snake.

The Finance Minister also announced plans to build an integrated aluminum industry by establishing an Aluminium Authority to oversee the industry.

“The naysayers are many…the doubts were ingrained in us even at the height of the colonial era,” he said, adding the government will strive to reposition Ghana in the comity of nations.

There are also plans to strengthen the banking industry to ensure that it is one of the best performing sectors in the country.

“Our banking sector needs to grow up…we want to see our banks talking to each other,” the Finance Minister said.

Story: Adnan Adams Mohammed

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