Government initiates plans for post COVID recovery – Oppong Nkrumah
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information has revealed that the Government of Ghana is initiating measures to engineer post COVID-19 recovery of the Ghanaian economy.
According to the Minister, the country is at a point in history, where it has no choice than to begin to engineer the recovery of the economy.
“Mr Speaker, we are at a point in our history, which has no other choice than to begin to engineer the recovery of this economy. This economy which was growing at an average of about seven percent over the last three years now came down to 0.9 percent in 2020,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.
Mr Nkrumah made the observation when he seconded the motion to set the tone for debate on the 2021 Budget Statement and Financial Policy of Government, presented to the House on Friday, March 12, 2021.
The caretaker Minister for Finance, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu delivered the 2021 Budget in Parliament due to the absence of the Finance Minister Designate, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta who is out of the country receiving treatment from COVID-19 health issues.
He also explained that as part of the measures to achieve the economic recovery, the Government intends to rollout a number of programmes including; vaccinating 20 million Ghanaians by the end of the year.
This, he said, was to ensure full economic activities could resume for the stimulus and investments made can bring back strong economic growth.
He said the Government has laid down a clear plan to invest and stimulate growth in some specific sectors, such as “Ghana Cares Obatan Pa” programme.
He explained that under the programme, the government would ensure food security, support for 1.5 million farmers with fertilizers, seeds as well as extend assistance to rice millers and poultry farmers.
Mr Nkrumah also stated that all the economic indicators pointed to a positive economic growth for the country for the year 2021, saying Ghana was moving forward
He explained that the economic progress came about as result of the leadership provided by the executive, strong checks and balances provided by the legislature and the hard work of the people in the country.
However, Mr Cassiel Ato-Forson, Ranking Member on Finance, in his contribution, criticized the Government over what he described as the poor management for the country’s finances.
He said the tracking of the country’s economy over the period showed that the fiscal problem started in 2018, saying that no one should blame the country’s economic plight on COVID.
Mr Ato- Forson said though in 2017 the government was able to achieve some fiscal consolidation, in 2018 they failed to maintain as they borrowed GH¢11.6 billion to increase the public debt.
He also accused the government of misreporting of figures by excluding GH¢9.8 billion from the fiscal contrary to an IMF document of 2018, which indicated the country’s deficit stood at 7 percent and not 3.9 percent of GDP.
He said in 2019, the government increased the country’s debt in nominal terms by GH¢25.2 billion not GH¢16.8 billion as claimed by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.