Former Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor has wondered “what corner” Ghana’s tottering economy has allegedly turned, as he says the evidence is to the contrary.
Presenting the mid-year budget review to parliament on Monday, 31 July 2023, Mr Ofori-Atta said on 1 July 2022, “we took what was then a very difficult but necessary decision to request support from the IMF to implement our Post-COVID-19 Programme ofEconomic Growth (PC-PEG)”.
The country, he noted, “was going through a dire period of economic uncertainties and despondency”.
A year on, he reported to parliament that “our steps are more grounded, the vision is clearer, the path to recovery is better set, and confidence in our economy is back, growing gradually”.
“We have turned the corner and, more importantly, we are determined to continue down that path. Soon, we expect the measures taken resulting ineconomic activity greater than anything experienced in the history of the FourthRepublic”.
Mr Ofori-Atta said “our plans and programmes should soon lead to a sustained increase in domestic production, including manufacturing and farming, replacing many of the products that we are used to importing”.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that when he presented the 2023 Budget in November last year, “I indicated that we would pursue major fiscal and monetary policy measures within theframework of the PC-PEG – our coordinated response to the macro-fiscalchallenges, which H.E the President charged us to develop in March, 2022, beforegoing to the IMF – thus the PC-PEG”.
As a first step toward fulfilling this objective, he said “parliament passed the revenue, andexpenditure measures as well several other macro-critical economic policies wepresented in the 2023 Budget, and we are grateful for that”.
“Along these lines, we also needed to create additional fiscal space by: i. negotiating an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme; ii. concluding a debt operations programme; and iii. attracting significant investments (especially green investments) for a vibrant growth strategy.”
“I can now report that we have been diligent and resolute in implementing these measures and successfully: i. Negotiated the US$3 billion 3-year IMF-ECF Programme, which was approved on 17th May, 2023 to support the implementation of our PC-PEG. ii. Concluded on February 14th the initial part of the Debt Operations, of which the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP); iii. Developed a framework for the V20 Climate Prosperity Plan to attractclimate investments from the private sector; and iv. Initiated the Mutual Prosperity Dialogue to crowd in domestic andexternal private investment to underpin our growth strategy”.
Speaking on Mr Ofori-Atta’s assessment of the economy’s performance, however, Dr Duffuor wondered: “What corner?”
He said: “In the first quarter of this year, if you look at the economic growth that the BoG statistics have released, we experienced a lot of contractions in very important sectors. We have experienced contractions in the construction sector, mining and quarry, wholesale, retail trading; water, sewerage and waste management”.
“These are very important sectors that have contracted, so, if you say you have turned the corner, what did you find in turning the corner?”, he asked in an interview with Citi TV.