Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), has urged budget officers and revenue collection agencies to work hard to sustain the economic growth rate the country has currently achieved.

He said it was important for them to intensify their revenue mobilisation drive to generate more funds to undertake developmental projects and also pay the wages of workers.

Mr Baah Wiredu was addressing a meeting of District Budget Officers, Officials of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) and the Internal Revenue Service in Tamale on Saturday.

The meeting was to among others thing throw highlights on the 2007 Budget and to find out how resources had been disbursed at the local level and to see if the budget officers could make some inputs into the preparation of future budgets.

Mr Baah Wiredu said there were about 650,000 people on the government’s payroll and therefore most of the expenditure went into the payment of wages with little left for development.

He said it was in the light of this that government established the Fair Wages Commission to improve upon the salary administration in the country to ensure industrial peace necessary for the growth of the economy.

The Finance Minister, however, emphasised that the payment of fair wages would depend on the productivity of every sector of the economy saying: “The constraint on the payment of fair wages depends on the revenue we generate”.

Mr Baah Wiredu urged the district budget officers to take the planning of their districts very seriously and ensure that no town or community was left out in their plans.

He also urged the district assemblies to seek funding from financial institutions to undertake projects such as the tarring of their markets and the development of some tourist attractions.

Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive appealed to the MOFEP to implement the process of the preparation of the district composite budget to enable the assemblies to plan more effectively.

He said there was the need to implement the Municipal Financing Bill to facilitate the securing of loans by the assemblies to undertake development projects and called on the MOFEP to organise capacity training workshops for district budget officers.

Mr Kobinah Adjei-Mensah, Director of Budget at the MOFEP, who took the officials through some of the highlights of the 2007 Budget said some of the implementation challenges faced included maintaining the macro-economic stability, high expectations from labour, unpredictable fuel prices, prudent fiscal management, entering the capital market and meeting revenue targets.