Ghana to Cut 2017 Spending as It Struggles to Raise Revenue

Road traffic passes business advertisements for Zenith Bank Plc and MTN Group Ltd. sit on a busy highway in Accra, Ghana, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ghana plans to cut spending this year as weak revenue collections are the “Achilles’ heel” in getting its accounts to balance, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said.

“We are trying to contain expenditures as much as we can,” Ofori-Atta said at a conference Monday in the capital, Accra. In July, the West African nation trimmed the budget-deficit forecast to this year 6.3 percent of gross domestic product from 6.5 percent.

Constant overspending prompted the country to turn to the International Monetary Fund for almost $1 billion in budget support in 2015 after lower prices for its gold, cocoa and oil exports caused debt to balloon and the currency to decline against the dollar while regular power cuts weighed on the economy. The budget deficit exceeded 10 percent of GDP for three straight years through 2014, and was 9.4 percent last year, almost double the initial target.

The world’s second-biggest cocoa producer plans to cut its fiscal deficit as it seeks to raise investor confidence eroded by the announcement in January of a 7 billion-cedi ($1.6 billion) hole in the budget.

In July, the Finance Ministry cut the revenue target for this year to 43.1 billion cedis from the original 45 billion cedis.

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