President expects Ghana’s economy to rebound

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the country’s economic health will see a major rebound, resulting in a five per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by end of year.

Delivering the 2021 State of the Nations Address (SONA) in Parliament on Tuesday, the President stated that, this would be achieved through a steady recovery in economic activities.

He remarked that this would be further improved by the COVID-19 vaccination exercise, and the implementation of the GH₵100 billion “Obaatanpa” Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) programme.

He said, “Government expects economic activity, which has already picked up, to do so even further, following the ongoing vaccination exercise, and the easing of restrictions put in place to curb the effects of the disease.”

“The medium-term outlook supported by the implementation of the Ghana Programme is bright. We are confident that, together, we will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy,” the President added.

The GH¢100 billion scheme was launched in November last year to among other things, support commercial farming and attract educated youth into commercial farming, build the country’s light manufacturing sector, and  develop engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries.

Additionally, the programme is geared towards fast tracking digitalisation of the economy, developing its housing and construction industry, establishing Ghana as a Regional Hub, reviewing and optimising the implementation of government flagships and key programmes, create jobs for young people, and expanding opportunities for the vulnerable in society, including persons with disabilities.

These efforts which are expected to be achieved in three years the President noted would be a game changer and a driver of economic growth for the next three years.

“We are determined to make our own things, and the Akufo-Addo government will continue with the agenda of rapid industrialisation, with the aim of transforming the structure of the Ghanaian economy from one dependent on the production and export of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised economy,” the President emphasised.

As a result of the impact of the COVID-19 on the Ghanaian economy, the overall economic growth rate for 2020 was revised downwards from 6.8 per cent to 0.9 per cent, including a revision of non-oil economy from 6.7 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

There was also a revenue shortfall which was estimated at GH¢13.5 billion, with additional expenditures related to stemming the tide of COVID-19 estimated at GH¢11.8 billion, and a combined effect amounting to GH¢25.3 billion, equivalent to 6.6 per cent of GDP.

Against the background of the impact of the pandemic, fiscal deficit for 2020 was, equally revised from 4.7 per cent of GDP to 11.4 per cent of GDP, which the President said was done “to reflect the impact of the pandemic.”

Furthermore, the fiscal responsibility rule of keeping a deficit within a threshold of five per cent of GDP and a positive primary balance for every year was suspended in 2020 to enable fiscal operations accommodate the impact of the pandemic. 

BY FRANCIS NTOW

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