The Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) has scored the government 70 percent in its first year of administration of the economy but was quick to add that the government has to work much harder to surmount the other challenges facing it.
“I will score the government 6 or 7 out of 10. They should have taken a proper stock of the economy they inherited and made Ghanaians aware about the difficulties and the shortcomings”.
Speaking in an interview with Business Finder, Executive Director of the economic and policy think tank, Dr. Joe Abbey, challenged the government to sustain the free SHS programme despite the challenges with regard to infrastructure and others. “My advice to the government is to make sure the free SHS succeeds…find resources to fix the challenges.”
According to him, the bad economy that the previous government left should compel the current government to step down some of its campaign promises for now and rather integrate others. For instance he noted that “we should be able to utilize the District Assemble Common Fund to affect the Zongo communities rather than creating the Zongo Development Fund. It can be done later when we have enough resources.”
He advised the Akufo-Addo led administration to always inform Ghanaians about the state of the economy rather than engaging the opposition in some cases he described as unnecessary debate. “Look, the best people to judge this government are Ghanaians and I will advise them to reduce the partisan politics and concentrate on their delivery.”
Continuing, he said “It is unfortunate that that this government cannot deliver all their promises and carry out reforms because of the bad economy it inherited. What it should have done first when it assumed office is to have inform Ghanaians about the difficulties in the economy and reduce the expectations arising from the campaign promises.”
Dr. Abbey also urged the government to do well to improve the sanitation situation in the country, improve the social programmes but taking into consideration the resources available and better the economic well-being of Ghanaians.
On the macro economy, Dr. Abbey said the government inherited a difficult IMF programme but urged it to follow through till the end. “We must do well to complete the programme…the way it is being run we are behind schedule and the programme might run into 2019.”
The completion of the programme has been a subject of debate with different dates being bundled as the end of the programme. The President at a news conference on six months in office noted that the $918 million IMF program would end in April 2018 and would not be extended, but the Finance Ministry in a statement later maintained that the president’s comments did not mean that Ghana was pulling out of the IMF program.
The astute economist added that the IMF programme has help brought stability to the economy that is inflation has remained low, the cedi has been relatively stable to its major foreign currencies and interest rates on the yield curve have declined drastically.
He however urged the government to show disciplined in the management of the economy by not borrowing beyond its means. “We should refrain from borrowing unnecessarily like what we witnessed in the previous administration. We should also pay our debts on time unlike in the previous government regime where debts were not paid on time, to build investor confidence. “
The government is expected to achieve some positive results on the macroeconomic as balance of trade is expected to end in the year in surplus, the first time ever whilst secondary reserves will be almost US$7 billion.
Many economists have lauded the current government ability to bring stability and restoring confidence in the economy.
The International Monetary Fund is expected to continue till perhaps the end of 2018. The $918 million programme has largely contributed to the fiscal discipline in the economy and improve most of the macroeconomic indicators, for instance inflation has been trending downwards whilst yields on Treasury bills have remained low at about 13.0 percent.