The World Bank’s Country Director for Ghana, Pierre Laporte, has cautioned the government to be mindful of the poor and vulnerable in any decision taken to revamp the economy.
He indicated that any measure that impacts negatively on their already dire living conditions will not yield the desired result.
Speaking at the New Year School at the University of Ghana on Tuesday, he asked the government to target safety net programmes and other initiatives to improve the standard of living of its citizens.
“Inflation in Ghana has exceeded the Central Bank’s target since October last year, largely driven by global inflation. There are many reasons to be concerned [because] inflation is a terrible thing for the economy, especially for the poor.”
“Our focus will continue to be to advocate for protecting the poor; for instance, through targeting social safety net programmes,” Mr. Laporte suggested.
He urged the country to take stringent measures to increase revenue mobilisation and the responsiveness of the health system to meet demands.
According to him, such measures will yield dividends in the country’s quest to confront inflation.
“Notwithstanding Ghana’s strong recovery growth, it came into the crisis [Covid-19] with a certain degree of fiscal fragility, with a level of borrowing that wasn’t much with the required level of revenue mobilisation. I am sympathising with my colleague Finance Minister in the need for Ghana to take the necessary steps to boost revenue mobilisation.”
“Secondly, boosting the productive capacity of the economy is the most sustainable way of dealing with inflation. Ghana needs to bolster the responsiveness of the health system. Ghana’s population will continue to grow and that means it’s imperative to provide quality education,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, President Akufo-Addo was confident measures undertaken will propel the economy to bounce back.
The government is pushing through the approval of the Electronic Transaction Levy to generate revenue internally as the cost of borrowing on the international market becomes more expensive due to the downgrade of the country’s creditworthiness by global rating firm Fitch.
President Akufo-Addo says the 2022 budget has a lot of incentives for startups which aim to expand the economy and generate jobs.
“We will continue along the path of promoting inclusive growth and improving the standard of living of our citizens. Our investments in digitalisation are helping to build efficient digital platforms for government businesses, deepen financial inclusion and build a credible database of the information to inform policies.”
“The 2022 budget is focusing on building an entrepreneurial workforce. We’ve had extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders and agreed on the ‘YouStart’ initiative as part of the ways of operationalising the ‘Ghana Cares’ programme to address the unemployment menace,” he indicated.