President John Dramani Mahama has described Ghana’s economy as resilient and sound.
Addressing Parliament on the state of the Nation, President Mahama said: ”Despite the short-term challenges we face, our economic fundamentals remain sound and our mid-term goals are bright.”
According to him, Ghana’s economic prospects are “bright” adding that “growth continues to be robust at an estimated 7.4 percent last year and we still retain our vision to accelerate and maintain GDP growth at above 8 percent going forward.”
President Mahama further stated that the non-oil sector of Ghana’s economy grew by 5.81 percent and the agricultural sector saw a significant growth of 3.41 percent.
”Mr Speaker, the fact that we are transiting into a service economy is obvious from the strong growth that continues to be posted by the services sector…The industry sector, which has witnessed sluggish growth over the last couple of years also post a remarkable increase of 9.2 percent,” he added.
In spite of the President’s claims, think tank, IMANI Ghana in a statement issued ahead of Tuesday’s address indicated that ”the GDP growth rate in the third quarter of 2013 was 0.3% compared to the second quarter of a 6.1% GDP growth. Concurrently, the service sector experienced a growth rate of 6.7%, the industry sector experienced a negative growth rate of 11.8% with the agriculture sector, trailing behind with a negative growth rate of 3.8% in the third quarter. These figures are not encouraging as these sectors under study performed better in the previous year and quarter. In the third quarter of 2012, the agriculture sector had a positive growth rate of 2.5%, 3.1% for the industry sector and 11.2% for the service industry.”
Ghanaians have also complained about the rising cost of living due to the introduction of new taxes and increases in utility tariffs.
The nation’s currency, the Cedi has also depreciated by almost 6 percent against the major trading currencies thus adding to the cost of doing business in Ghana.
However, President Mahama blamed the Cedi’s depreciation to the import dependence and the dollarization of the economy.
He assured Ghanaians that the measures introduced by the Bank of Ghana will ease the pressure on the cedi and ensure businesses do not suffer.
President Mahama however, assured Ghanaians that the turbulence in the economy is temporary. ”I wish to assure this august house and the good citizens of Ghana that as with the taste of any bitter medicine this turbulence we are going through is temporary…”
”I assure you that we shall begin to see the benfits of the sacrifices we are making very soon,” he stated.
But IMANI Ghana is of the opinion that “though these decisions are in an effort to catch the free fall of the cedi, it has the potential threat of strengthening the black market which would only make these directives counterproductive, as other factors such as our high dependency on imports, increased fiscal deficits and public expenditure impact the performance of the cedi.
Some of the solutions to consider in stabilizing our economy will be to vigorously work towards adding more value to our commodities which we currently trade in their raw states so we can rake in more revenues for facilitating our developmental processes.”
The President pointed out that Ghana like any other country in the world is facing the pressures of the world’s financial crisis.
In accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, the President of the Republic of Ghana is required to address Parliament and the nation to report on the condition of the republic and to outline his agenda.
President Mr John Dramani Mahama is, therefore, charged by this article to deliver a message on the state of the nation.
By : Evans Effah/citifmonline.com/Ghana