Ghana’s economy was not being mismanaged prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Senior Lecturer on Economics at the University of Ghana, Dr Agyapoma Gyeke-Dako, has asserted.
She told Kofi Oppong Asamoah on Class91.3FM’s breakfast show on Thursday, 24 March 2022 that prior to the pandemic, “We were growing at an appreciable rate”.
“So, if I’m looking at the data before COVID, the macro data before COVID and I’m speaking to the data, then I wouldn’t be able to say that we were already mismanaging the economy before COVID”, she added.
In her view, however, Ghana is currently in a crisis because of the many freebies offered by the government to cushion the citizenry in the wake of the pandemic.
“When COVID set in, what did we do? There were a lot of freebies”, she noted.
“2020 was quite a difficult year: COVID had set in, we weren’t mobilising enough revenue as a country and we haven’t been able to mobilise enough revenue anyway, as a country; but then there was also a lot of spending as well”, Dr Gyeke-Dako observed.
“Remember a lot of freebies were given; we had almost everything being free: utilities were free etc., and, so, if you are having fiscal challenges now, we should understand where those fiscal challenges are coming from. There’s no free lunch”, she pointed out.
“We’re having to bear the brunt of the free things that we actually got during COVID. There’s no doubt about that”, Dr Gyeke-Dako stressed, insisting: “That’s what we are paying for. That’s what we are having to pay for now”.
“So, all those things that were given to us for free, we are having to pay for them now, so, I wouldn’t really say the economy has been mismanaged [before COVID] because the data before [COVID] doesn’t really point to that”.
“Yes, we haven’t done so well with our debt situation as a country and that is something that we need to be able to look out for. That’s why some of us are fighting for us to be able to mobilise enough revenue to take care of our expenses as a country”, she said.
About two weeks ago, the World Bank said even though COVID-19 has not helped Ghana’s economic standing, the situation started getting bad before the pandemic hit.
Speaking at the 65th Independence Day Lecture held at the Economics Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Monday, March 7, 2022, on the ‘State of the nation’s economy and politics, 65 years after independence, the path to sustainable development and democratic consolidation’, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Mr Pierre Laporte, said Ghana’s economic situation is very serious.
“Is it a really serious situation? Well, the numbers speak for themselves”, he noted, emphasising: “The situation is very serious”.
“At the World Bank, we’ve not hidden the fact when we’ve held discussions with government officials and even the head of state that Ghana faces a very tough road ahead to restore macro sustainability,” Mr Laporte noted.
In his view, although COVID-19 takes some of the blame for the current situation, the signs were on the wall way before the pandemic started.
“Yes, COVID-19 has not helped but even before COVID-19, there were signs that the situation was getting a little bit challenging”, he noted.
“So, the key thing is to be transparent with the people”, he advised.
“Yes, the figures speak for themselves but not everybody is as educated as we are”, Mr Laporte pointed out.
“Not everyone understands what the numbers mean, so, it is important to talk about it like we are doing”, he noted.
“More important is for us to find solutions for the problem,” he added.