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Ghana Revises 2010 Budget Deficit to 8% as Spending Plans Increase

Ghana’s budget deficit is forecast to reach 8 percent of gross domestic product this year, more than earlier estimated as spending in the fourth quarter of the year accelerates, Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor said.

The West African nation’s shortfall will narrow to 3.5 percent of GDP over the “medium-term” as the government better manages spending and revenue collection, Duffuor told a conference in the capital, Accra, today.

“Ghana has largely achieved fiscal consolidation since the budget deficit was brought down to 9.7 percent of GDP last year, from 14.5 percent in 2008,” he said. The 2010 deficit was earlier projected at 7.5 percent, Duffuor said, declining to say what areas would see increases in government spending.

Growth will soar to 20 percent in 2011 from about 6.5 percent this year, as oil production from the country’s nascent energy industry begins, Duffuor said.

Ghana expects to pump 120,000 barrels of crude per day from its offshore Jubilee oil field by 2011, Ato Ahwoi, chairman of the Ghana National Petroleum Corp., said Aug. 25.

Stability in the domestic currency, the cedi, is likely to continue, supported by growth of its international reserves to $4 billion by early 2011, from $3.3 billion recorded in June, Duffuor said. The cedi has gained 4.5 percent against the U.S. dollar since July 2009, helping slow inflation from a five-year high of 20.7 percent reached in June last year to 9.4 percent in August.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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