The government is grievously concerned about the economic hardship facing Ghanaians, and remains steadfast to make living conditions better for all, soon. That was the assurance giving by Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister, on the back of recent improvement in Ghana’s macroeconomy, and Staff-Level Agreement for a second tranche of US$600 million. The agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is for the implementation of a US$3 billion loan-support programme to restore macroeconomic stability, debt sustainability and lay the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth. ‘Times are hard and the crisis we find ourselves is difficult, but development takes a little while. If you plant corn, you won’t see it mature the next day. So, we’ll soon see an easing in the system,’ Mr Nkrumah said. He said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group (WBG) Annual Meetings in Marrakech on Friday, October 13, 2023. ‘Cost of living has been the most difficult thing for all of us, but inflation as an indicator will suggest to you that it’s beginning to trend downwards, though still high,’ he explained. ‘The government is doing all it can to ensure that food inflation, in particular, can come down faster. The Agric Ministry is ensuring that, not only are we producing more, but the value chain that brings it to the market is contained,’ he said. Mr Oppong Nkrumah also said that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was continuing with the tightening policies to ensure that non-food inflation reduced significantly. ‘We’re working to bring the cost of living down, and improving fiscal situation, where we can have enough revenue to fund all the demands that all of us are making on government, as the financing side supported by the IMF programme,’ he said. He also said the government would continue to make sacrifices, just as all Ghanaians were doing, by continually examining expenditure to see what more could be cut down. On when the current improvement in the macroeconomy would reflect in the lives of Ghanaians, the Minister could not give any time, but was confident it would be ‘soon.’ ‘We, for example, had projected that growth will be about 1.5 per cent, and we rolled out some of these measures with the expectation that it will do a bit better, but today, we’re doing about 3.3 per cent,’ he noted. To support growth sustainably, the President had asked for a growth and jobs creation plan, which Cabinet would meet next week to firm it up, and sign off for implementation, the Minister hinted. ‘Our expectation is that it will quicken the rate of growth; this is because when growth is happening, you find out that jobs are opening up in town, and when people are getting jobs, and when people are getting jobs, then they’re getting good income,’ he said. There have been a series of demonstrations by Ghanaians about economic hardship in the country, its associated high cost of living and inadequate jobs, with the recent being a three-day continued protest, ending September 23, 2023. Some Ghanaians had resorted to walking long distances and riding of bicycles as a daily routine to cope with the economic hardship, while others parked their private vehicles to join commercial ones (trotro) to and from work, GNA reported. Some also reduced the number of times they had to eat to cope with the hardship, a situation that the government attributed to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war and other structural challenges. Meanwhile, the implementation of government’s Post-COVID-19 Programme of Economic Growth (PC-PEG), supported by the IMF US$3bn loan has seen some improvement in the macroeconomy. Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has averaged 3.2 per cent for the last two quarters of 2023, a 0.2 per centage higher than the same period in 2022. Headline inflation had dropped to 38.1per cent in September from 40.1 per cent in August. The Cedi has been more stable this year, depreciating year-to-date cumulatively by 23.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.
Source: Ghana News Agency