The former Finance Minister, Seth Tekper, has asked government to come clean on the country’s economic figures before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the nation. He noted that although Covid-19 has had an immense effect on the economy, government should not shift the blame on the disease for all the current economic challenges.
He believes this is the time for the Akufo-Addo government to be candid about the economic figures in order for a sustainable plan to be drawn. “As a nation, we should look at the balance, that we can make a better evaluation because much of the problems we have are not just on account of Covid-19 and that is not to downplay Covid-19.
“Just as other countries, we will always have crisis. The thing about Covid-19 is the severeness, that, we will all admit. But there has always being challenges before Covid-19 [however] there is a tendency that all of a sudden everything will be attributed to Covid-19,”.
He added, “I think what is required is to be candid at to why we had the opportunities and what we did with those opportunities so that we know whether there were problems before Covid-19.” Already, President Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday admitted that te cost of the global pandemic has been enormouns.
According to the President, “Our overall economic growth rate for 2020 was revised downwards from 6.8% to 0.9%. The non-oil economy was also revised from 6.7% to 1.6%. The revenue shortfall was estimated at ¢13.5 billion, with additional expenditures related to stemming the tide of Covid-19 estimated at ¢11.8 billion, with the combined effect amounting to ¢25.3 billion, or 6.6% of GDP. The resultant fiscal deficit for 2020 was, thus, revised from 4.7% of GDP to 11.4% of GDP.”
As a result, Mr Terkper has urged Ghanaians to ready themselves for a tough time this year as the 2021 Budget and Economic Policy will be extremely conservative. In his view, the fiscal economic numbers do not look good, requiring very drastic measures to save the economy from further troubles.
“Let us admit that before the coronavirus, the economy was already having problems. We must come clean and acknowledge that the Ghanaian economy is facing difficulties,” he said.