1,689.09 points from 1,994.91 points in December, 2015.
Total Market Capitalisations stood at 52.7 billion at the end of December 2016, which showed a year on year decline of 7.8 per cent.
Mr Speaker, interest rates in 2016 exhibited mixed performance. The Bank of Ghana Policy Rate was kept at 26 per cent until October 2016, as risk to inflation and growth were assessed as balance. The policy rate, however, was reduced to 25.5 per cent as inflation pressures eased while domestic growth conditions continued to deteriorate.
Yields on short-term Government securities decreased while those of medium to long-term Government of Ghana bonds increased in line with Government's policy to properly align the yield curve and extend the maturity profile.
Mr Speaker, the Ghana cedi remained relatively stable against the major currencies in the currency market in 2016 on account of tighter monetary policy and improved foreign exchange inflow.
However, this trend was reversed in the round up to the December elections as December pressures mounted. The Ghana cedi recorded a cumulative depreciation of 9.6 per cent and 5.3 per cent against the US dollar and euro respectively, but appreciated by 10 per cent against the Pound Sterling in the interbank market in
Mr Speaker, the balance of payments turned out surplus for the first time since
2011 due to improved current account balance. Accordingly, there was a buildup in gross foreign assets, which supported the relative stability in the exchange rate.
The Balance of Payments (BOP) surplus was US$247 million compared to a deficit of US$129 million in 2015. The trade balance improved from a deficit of US$3.1 billion in 2015 to a deficit of US$1.7 billion in 2016, due to increased export receipts by 7.2 per cent and a decline in imports by 5.3 per cent.
The gross foreign assets at the end of December was estimated at US$6.2 billion, from US$5.9 billion at the end of December, 2015, representing a buildup of US$277 million. [Hear! Hear!] This was sufficient to provide cover for three and a half months of import in goods, same as in December 2015.
Mr Speaker, the main objective of fiscal policy as envisioned in the 2016 Budget Statement was to consolidate Govern- ment finances by reducing the fiscal deficit from 6.3 per cent of GDP in 2015 to 5 per cent of GDP in 2016.
The original data for 2016, however, indicates that the envisioned fiscal consolidation was not achieved. As a result, total revenue, domestic revenue and grants, was 11.1 per cent below target -- an actual of GH¢33.7 billion against the target of GH¢37.9 billion, while expenditure in clothing and outstanding expenditure claims exceeded the target by 16.2 per cent.
These slippages resulted in the fiscal deficit on commitment basis of 10.3 per cent of GDP. On cash basis, the fiscal deficit was 8.7 per cent of GDP against a target of 5 per cent of GDP. The primary
balance for the period recorded a deficit of 1.4 per cent of GDP against a targeted surplus of 1.2 per cent of GDP.
Mr Speaker, the shortfall in total revenue and grants was broadly attributed to the impact on energy challenges on household and firms, lower than anticipated receipts from oil, due to both lower than programmed bench mark crude oil price and production and non- realisation of proceeds from both tax and non-tax categories. In addition, tax compliance was relatively weak.
Mr Speaker, total expenditures including outstanding obligations amounted to GH¢ 51.1 billion at the end of December 2016. Outstanding obligations of GH¢5 billion comprised Master Bill of Lading (MBL) obligations with the Ministry of Finance currently, which had not been captured on the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System, (GIFMIS), as well as outstanding payments to statutory funds. These outstanding obligations relate mostly to compensation of employees, goods and services and domestically finance capital expenditure.
Petroleum receipts in 2016
Mr Speaker, in 2016, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) lifted six parcels of crude oil consisting of the 31st
to 35th Jubilee and first Tweneboa Enyenra Ntomme (TEN) liftings on behalf of the State, and exported a total of 21,580 million scarps of gas to Ghana National Gas Company. Total crude lifted was 5,856,921 barrels of oil. Receipts from crude oil liftings for 2016 included revenues from the sale of 4.8 million barrels of oil from the 30th lifted in December 2015, and the 34th Jubilee lifting which amounted to US$207.79 million. The proceeds from the 35th Jubilee and first TEN Liftings in
December 2016 were received in the first quarter of 2017.
Mr Speaker, actual petroleum received for 2016 fell short of the 2015 performance by 29.1 per cent due to the continuous decline in crude oil prices, a decline in Jubilee production and lower TEN production.
Mr Speaker, total public debt stock, as earned in 2016, stood at almost 73 per cent of GDP up from 72 per cent in 2015. This was due to the larger than expected fiscal deficit and financing requirement in 2016. Domestic and external debt stood at 31.7 per cent of GDP and 40.8 per cent respectively. In nominal terms, the public debt-stock as at the end of 2016 stood at GH¢122.3 billion with domestic and external debts of GH¢ 53.4 billion and GH¢ 68.9 billion respectively.
Mr Speaker, the Energy Sector Levies Act 2015 (Act 899), was enacted, and I beg to quote:
“AN ACT to consolidate existing energy sector levies to promote prudent and efficient utilisation of proceeds generated from the levies, impose a price stabilisation and recoveries levy, facilitate sustainable long-term investments in the energy sector and to provide for other related matters”
Mr Speaker, the law requires the utilisation of the energy sector levies mainly for the clearance of legacy debts of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) operating in the energy sector to support power generation and power sector infrastructure, subsidies for premix fuel and the stabilisation of petroleum price. A total amount of GH¢3.2 billion was programmed to be collected as total