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I share Bawumia’s assessment of economy – Kwesi Botchwey

Prof. Kwesi Botchwey

A former Finance Minister, Prof. Kwesi Botchwey under the Rawlings government has declared his agreement with Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s assessment of the economy.

Taking his turn at the Distinguished Speaker Series organised by the Central University College, Prof Kwesi Botchwey said, ”Mahamudu is a young man whose professional credentials I particularly respect; I offer no rebuttals [to his lecture]. On the contrary, I do agree with much of what he said.”

According to Professor Botchwey a nation’s political economy shows the way political forces influence economic decisions.

” We must study and analyze the true state of things,” he noted.

Reflecting on what he called the critical challenges affecting the country’s political economy, the former Finance Minister said, ”I see a nation reeling in widespread disaffection; a bit of despair…, a popular mood that is marked by some frustration and rising cynicism about any and all utterances,explanation and assurances by government and even by technocrats and public servants.”

He said the feeling out there supposes that ”everybody in public office is somehow engaged in corruption and just money grabbing”.

He also added that this has led to indiscipline on our roads as motorist defy the laws. ”I see a spillover of this mood onto our roads in the breakdown of discipline as motorists take the law into their our hands and defy traffic lights and the police,” he said.

Touching on the macro-economic stability of the country, Mr. Botchwey said there is the need for managers of the economy to pay attention to ”policy credibility” for the restoration of macro-economic stability.

”We have missed macro-economic targets in  two consecutive years with budget outcomes deviating not marginally…; but rather significantly from published forecast,” he said.

He furthered explained that there have been some erosion of the country’s credibility among the public and developing partners.

Professor Botchwey also mentioned that the panic driven changes in measures announced by the Bank of Ghana have not worked because ”the very structure of government expenditure had begun to impose a certain rigidity on the national budget”.

”In last year’s budget alone; the wage bill and interest cost on public debt accounted for about 82 percent of government spending,” he added.

He noted that during the National Economic Forum in Senchi the group [participants] noted that government expenditure has become inefffective for the attainment of growth.

”There is a need therefore to align the expenditures of the earmarked or statutory funds to the national budget taking into consideration the administrative and legal aspect of such an alignment,” he said.

In a lecture delivered in May at the Distinguished Speaker Series organised by the Central University College in Accra, Dr Bawumia painted a very gloomy picture of the Ghanaian economy

“I’ll like to repeat without exaggeration that the Ghanaian economy is in a crisis,” Dr Bawumia said, pointing to high inflation, double digit budget deficit, depreciation of the cedi, and the general lack of growth in the economy.

The Distinguished Speaker series organized by the Central University College is under the theme  “State of the Nation’s Political Economy and the Role of Civil Society”.

 

By: Evans Effah/citifmonline.com/Ghana