Ghana’s economic problems need deep structural measures -Terkper

Seth Terkper - Finance Minister
Seth Terkper – Finance Minister

Mr Seth Terkper, the Minister of Finance, has emphasised the need to institute deep structural measures to address the challenges facing Ghana’s economy, saying quick fixes could not properly solve the problems.

Mr Terkper said this at a public lecture on the theme: “State of the Ghana Economy- Recent History and Immediate Prospects,” organised by the School of Law, Business School, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research and the Department of Economics of the University of Ghana.

Recounting some of the challenges that faced the country such as the energy crisis, the depreciation of the cedi, high external debts and falling commodity prices, he said all these showed the need to move away from using short-term solutions to instituting deep structural measures.

The Finance Minister stated that the recognition of Ghana as a lower middle income economy had serious implications for Ghana’s economy and development. Unlike when it was a developing economy, Ghana could no longer borrow from the World Bank and repay over a long-term of 40 years.

As a lower middle income economy, Ghana can borrow and repay over 25 years.

“This does not mean the whole country is transforming but reflects how the rest of the world is seeing us,” he said, adding that there was thus the need to accept this status and plan accordingly.

Government, he said, recognised and was working on instituting such structural measures in its quest to stabilise the economy. These measures covered various sectors of the economy including energy, debt financing, and fiscal consolidation, among other things, he said.

Mr Terkper said some of these measures, which were already being implemented over the years under review- 2012 to 2014, included investments in power production to solve the current power crisis with the establishment of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, and the development of the Tein and Sankofa fields which would add to the electricity production capacity and even place Ghana at a position to export power to neighbouring countries.

He said in order to curb the country’s external and internal debts, Ghana was moving away from borrowing from the short term which usually attracted higher interests paid over the period and the capital paid at the end of the loan tenure, to borrowing long term, especially for major projects.

Another initiative of government to address debts was to ensure that commercial loans taken by government for commercial projects such as the construction of the Atuabo Gas Plant were paid for by the entity while grants and other loans were used for social projects like schools and hospitals, Mr Terkper said.

He said immediate prospects for Ghana’s economy were good and urged Ghanaians not to be despondent about the current state of the economy.

Source: GNA

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