Panellists at a forum on Ghana’s economy have attributed the continuous depreciation of the Ghana Cedi to ineffective and lack of policies to promote local production and consumption.
They argued that although local production was yet to meet demands, policies by successive governments have rather focused on strategies to enhance export.
The situation, they said, had resulted in importation of basic commodities which could have been easily produced in the country.
The panellists include Dr Agyapomaa Gyeke-Dako, Senior Lecturer of Economics, University of Ghana Business School; Mr Joe Jackson, Director of Business, Dalex Finance; Dr Joseph Obeng, National President, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA); Mr Edward Kareweh, General Secretary, General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) and Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie, Lecturer of Economics, University of Ghana.
They were speaking during the maiden edition of the Economic Dialogue Series organised by Metropolitan Television (MetroTV) in Accra yesterday.
The event, which was monitored by Ghanaian Times was on the theme “Fixing the Ghana Cedi; the Key to Sustainable Growth.”
Dr Gyeke-Dako said the country’s situation had been exacerbated by populist policies which neglected the very fundamentals that could build and make the economy resilient.
She noted that, despite the economic prospects of government’s flagship programme, One District One Factory (1D1F), it was yet to take-off for the needed outcome.
She stated that there was the need to enhance production to curb large importations through the development of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
“It is time our governments focus on working to build our economy with workable policies rather than thinking about winning elections all the time. We need a concerted effort in dealing with the challenges that confront our economy,” DrGyeke-Dako added.
Dr Obeng reiterated the need for enhanced productivity through industrialisation to deal with rising import needs.
Currently, he noted that, lack of locally produced goods have necessitated the desire for imports
“We have to improve production. Imports are expensive. But presently, we don’t have the goods. When we achieve self sufficiency, we can deal with excessive importation,” he added.
He called on the government to use the country’s investment laws and policies to curtail large-scale importation by multinationals which have indirectly made the country a dumping ground.
On his part, MrKareweh faulted the government for encouraging importation by subsidising imports.
“I see no sense in subsidising imports when you are not ready to give subsidies to producers to produce in your economy. You don’t have food to eat and you are producing food to sell outside. Why?
We need to boost our domestic production and consumption before we think about export,” MrKareweh stated.
Mr Jackson expressed concern about the high number of ministerial appointees despite the country’s economic woes saying that such posture defeats government’s commitment to reducing expenditure.
The high demand for dollars, DrSarkodie said, was responsible for the continuous depreciation of the Ghana Cedi adding that its value was dependent on demand for foreign currency and how much could be supplied to meet the demand.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS