Gov’t told to stop the ‘COVID blame game’ to restore economy credibility
Adnan Adams Mohammed
A former staff of the International Monetary Fund and a former finance minister has implored that Ghana’s credibility on the international market is waning due to the continuous attribution of the country’s issues to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian–Ukraine War.
He chided President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments he made during the recent interview with the BBC, where the President sought to defend the state of the Ghanaian economy as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian – Ukraine War.
According to the President, the effects of the 2 global developments are being experienced across the globe.
“I think the world is becoming sceptical about the extent to which Ghana uses COVID [to justify its challenges]. Because we were told recently by the World Bank that Ghana for example had arrears in excess of 5% of GDP, which is significant, if you take our GDP to be GH¢ 350 billion at the time, 5% will be about GH¢ 17 billion, but the budget is showing a deficit of GH¢ 3 billion” Seth Terkper claimed in an interview last week. “So to continue to blame everything on COVID and also to say that everything was solid against the advice of others, opens the credibility gap even more.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Terkper, has called for a solid domestic program to get the country out of its current situation.
“You can’t say that the Ukraine war has not affected Ghana, we are not an island. But remember we had about $6 billion to deal with COVID in a year, that’s about GH¢ 36 billion, which is about half of what GRA brought in. So why do we continue to blame COVID for everything? We talk about the cost of COVID and what government has spent money on, what about the revenue that came in? Didn’t the revenue offset the expenditure? Why are we always beating the drum on only expenditures and ignoring the revenue bit.”
“So the question is; what is fundamentally wrong such that despite all the revenues from stabilization fund, to $6 billion for COVID, we are still in this situation, with our indices being worse than other African countries. We are saying that our story is becoming unbelievable and what we need is a solid program to get us out of this problem we find ourselves in,” he added.