The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war present opportunity for Ghana to look within and produce locally the product and services its needs, the President of Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng, has said.
He said the pandemic and the war should serve as useful lessons to the country not to depend on other economies for its needs.
Dr Obeng who made the call at a colloquiumin Accra on Wednesday, stressed the need for policies to support local production.
Dubbed 3 News Business Forum and organised by the 3News, an online subsidiary of Media General, it was on the theme “The Road to the IMF: Achieving Low Inflation and Macroeconomic Stability, The Way Forward.”
Dr Obeng asserted that GUTA could not be blamed for the country’s reliance on imports to meet its needs.
He said members of GUTA were ready to sell the products which were produced locally in the country.
“We import to meet the demand for goods and also to address the shortfall in local production,” Dr Obeng, said.
The Greater Accra Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries, Tsonam C. Akpeloo, said Ghana could only produce 30 per cent of the products it consumed, and had to import the 70 per cent to meet the shortfall.
He said the cost of production in the country was high and made local products very expensive.
MrAkpeloo said high electricity tariffs was driving the high cost of production in the country.
The Chairman of the Greater Accra AGI called for policies to support the private sector and also to encourage local production.
The Minister of Information, KojoOppong Nkrumah, called for ‘discriminatory’ policies to support the private sector and encourage local production.
According to him, the disequilibrium between revenue and expenditure was creating the financial challenges the economy was going through.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the country should be able to produce more to attract foreign exchange to address the financial difficulties facing the country.
Touching on the IMF programme, he said it had become necessary for the country to seek an IMF programme to help address the economic challenges facing the country.
He said the IMF bailout programme was to seek for Balance of Payment support in view of the economic challenges that had been broughton the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said economic challenges facing the country were structural and due to the COVID-19 pandemic and not mismanagement of the economy, adding that the Russian-Ukraine war had further exacerbated the economic difficulties and thus the government has to pursue an IMF programme to prop up the economy.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE