An Economic Policy Analyst at the Office of the President, Dr Kabiru Mahama has said the Akufo–Addo administration is not taking refuge in the covid situation and also the ongoing geopolitical tension between Russia and Ukraine to make excuses for the challenges in the economy.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, March 26, he said it is a fact that Ghana is facing the same challenges just like any country around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine warfare.
He was contributing to discussions on the measures outlined by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta to tackle the economic problems facing the country at the moment.
Dr Mahama was reacting to a former Deputy Finance Minister Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan who noted while speaking on the same show that Mr Ofori-Atta’s measures are not enough.
Mr Rickets-Hagan had said “If you look at our debt and quite a number of the indicators, you will realize that the way our economy is structured is part of the problem.
“There is the other half of it which is to do with how we manage the economy. Over the last five years with the NPP government in office, when your fundamentals are not strong, you will be exposed,” the former Cape Coast South Member of Parliament said on the Key Points with Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday, March 26.
Mr Ofori-Atta announced on Thursday, March 24 that with immediate effect, the government has imposed a complete moratorium on the purchase of imported vehicles for the rest of the year.
He said this will affect all new orders, especially 4-wheel drives.
“With immediate effect, the Government has imposed a complete moratorium on the purchase of imported vehicles for the rest of the year. This will affect all new orders, especially 4-wheel drives. We will ensure that the overall effect is to reduce total vehicle purchases by the public sector by at least 50 per cent for the period,” he said.
“Again, with immediate effect Government has imposed a moratorium on all foreign travels, except pre-approved critical/statutory travels; Government will conclude on-going measures to eliminate “ghost” workers from the Government payroll by end December 2022;
“Discretionary spending is to be further cut by an additional 10%. The Ministry of Finance is currently meeting with MDAs to review their spending plans for the rest of the three (3) quarters to achieve the discretionary expenditure cuts; ii. these times call for very efficient use of energy resources.
“In line with this, there will be a 50% cut in fuel coupon allocations for all political appointees and Heads of government institutions, including SOEs, effective 1st April 2022,” he added.
Sharing his perspectives on the issues, Dr Kabiru Mahama said “The problem with this particular country is that we take issues on the surface and we run to town with them. When we do that we are lost in the forest of issues that we are not able to take out which one is the solution to our problem. That is the problem whenever we have a discourse about the economy.
“This government did not run this particular economy to the abyss. In the last five years, between 20017 and 2019, we grew the economy on average of 7 per cent. The interest rate came down from 35 per cent to as low as 22 per cent. The Bank of Ghana reduced the policy rate consistently. We successfully implemented free SHS. So all these have to be put in context. We know that Covid came, people say it is a rescue but I have always told people that give me your prototype of a country that was doing well in Covid then I will be humble enough to accept Ghana is taking refuge in a case that is nonexistent.
“We agree that Covid is an issue. Let us come to the Russia-Ukraine, give me a country that has not felt the brunt of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The transmission of economic mechanism is such a way that, it is just like the human body, if you have a problem with the head the whole system is going to be affected.
“We have 2.5 per cent of our export and import from Russia and Ukraine and we think that it will not heighten the pressure. The pressure also heightened from February to March. All these discussions we are having became heightened within this particular period so when we are talking about the economy, we should also be humble enough to say, we are discussing these issues because the problem has been heightened.”