Government has been counseled to stop blaming the current economic challenges faced by the country on Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war. According to the Executive Director of Centre for Greater Impact Africa (CGIA), Rev. Dr. Worlanyo Mensah, the impact of these two incidences have very minimal effect on the Ghanaian economy and cannot account for the current state of the economy.
The Economist, speaking on the State of the Ghanaian economy on GhanaNews.TV, explained that, Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise, as Government received various international support that outweighs the annual revenue the country would have generated and that government has had a windfall because of the cost of crude in the world market due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The impact of Covid-19 cum the Russia-Ukraine war is minimal to the extent that I don’t believe that government should be making noise about those two issues. Simply because when you look at the quantum of resources and revenue or financial assistances that we received because of the Covid issues is even more than the revenue we generate domestically,” he noted.
On the increase in the policy rate announced by the Central Bank, Rev. Dr. Worlanyo Mensah opined that the action of the Bank of Ghana appears to be insensitive to businesses at this crucial period that the economy is experiencing some challenges. He explained that, the increase will lead to high interest rates from the various commercial banks making lending more expensive. He questioned why a government that gave incentives to business due to the impact of Covid-19, increased policy rate and render business in the country unproductive. He advised the Central Bank to reconsider its stands on the decision to increase the policy rate as this action will hurt businesses and drastically reduce further the standard of living of the ordinary Ghanaian.
Rev. Dr. Worlanyo Mensah asserted that Ghana’s engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the years has not yielded the necessary results, which goes to confirms the fact that, the solution to turn around the fortunes of the economy does not lie in the ambit of the fund. He explained that it is only home grown solutions that will take the country out of this quagmire it found itself.
He advised government to look inwards for locally developed economic policy that will enhance the fortunes of the country and raise the standard of living of the Ghanaian people.
The Lecturer of Economics at the Wisconsin University Collage outlined some of the areas government can consider to improve and turn-around the economy. He mentioned the importance of supporting Pharmaceutical Companies in the country to produce various medicines that are imported into the country at very hefty cost. He added that when local companies produce the needed medicines for the consumption of the citizenry, the country’s import cover then reduces on pharmaceutical items making the Ghana Cedis stable and stronger.
He also urged government to consider Agriculture and Agro Processing to enhance the food basket of the country. He was of the view that, planting for Food and Jobs is an important policy that should have made the country food sufficient. He believes if government should pay more attention to Agriculture and Agro processing, it will enhance the drastic reduction of food inflation in the country.
Rev. Dr. Worlanyo applauded the digitalization drive of the current government, as he believes no economy can thrive without accurate data on its citizenry and that government must track those outside the tax bracket and get them to contribute to national development.
He further advised Ghanaians to plan their lives around the little resources that are available to them and not put their trust in politicians as solution to all their life worries.
By Derick Botsyoe