Ghana govt says revises 2017 GDP forecast down to 7.0-7.4 %

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Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana Seth Terkper speaks at a forum on financial development at the 2016 IMF World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana is revising its forecast for gross domestic product growth in 2017 to 7.0-7.4 percent from a previous forecast of above 8 percent, Finance Minister Seth Terkper said on Monday.

Government spending remains within targets set by the International Monetary Fund under a three-year programme to stabilize the economy, despite an approaching Dec. 7 presidential election, Terkper told reporters.

“Expenditures are within the IMF programme targets …. We are estimating growth between 7.0 and 7.4 percent, which is still robust,” he said, without giving a reason for the cut to forecasts.

Government spending, particularly on civil service wages, ballooned in the previous election year of 2012, helping push the budget deficit to twice what the government had targeted and trigger a fiscal crisis.

Some economists have said they fear the government will again ramp up spending ahead of December’s vote, when President John Mahama runs for a second and final term against opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.

Growth slowed under Mahama in part because of a drop in global prices for the country’s exports of gold and oil but also because of economic problems including elevated inflation and the budget deficit.

(Reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Aaron Ross and Catherine Evans)


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