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February 25, 2014

Ghana’s Economy ‘Not in Crisis’

by Peter Clottey

An adviser to Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has rejected opposition charges that government policies have stalled economic growth and put the economy into crisis.

Sulley Garba, a senior policy adviser to President Mahama says the administration has been implementing measures to help resolve the economic challenges Ghanaians face as the global economic crisis continues.

Garba’s comments came after Mr. Mahama delivered his state of the nation address in parliament in the capital, Accra on Tuesday.

In his address, Mahama addressed the country’s economic problems, but reassured the country that Ghanaians could be seeing improvement in the coming weeks.

“The president candidly acknowledged the difficulties that the Ghanaian economy is going through, and he did make reference to the general global trend,” said Garba. “The president said for the interim some difficult measures have had to be taken to cushion this economy from longer term shocks and prepare it for a more robust recovery.”

Addressing the sharp decline of the country’s currency, the Cedi, against the dollar as well as other major international currencies, Mahama said his administration is implementing long-term measures to resolve the problem.
 
“The reduction of importation of these commodities will also reduce the demand for the United States dollars and subsequently stabilize our local currency in the coming years…I wish to assure the good citizens of Ghana that as with the taste of any bitter medicine this turbulence we are going through is temporary…We shall begin to see the benefits of the sacrifices we are making very soon,” said Mahama.

But, critics say Mahama’s feel-good state of the nation address does not amount to a policy to address the country’s economic woes. They also say the administration has so far failed to resolve the decline of the Cedi against the dollar and major international currencies, which they contend has led to a spike in basic goods and services and has worsened economic conditions in the country.

Garba disagreed saying the administration has taken steps to stop the decline of the Cedi.  He says the administration supports the Bank of Ghana’s short-term measures to stop the decline of the Cedi.

“Testimony to it already indicates that over the last week and half, the Cedi has stabilized against major currencies, and now the Cedi is gradually on the rebound,” said Garba. “What the president has proposed is to begin for the first time to tackle the fundamental causes. The president suggested bold measures to begin to redress the imbalance between imports and production for domestic consumption,” said Garba.
Clottey interview with Dr. Sulley Garba, polciy adviser to President Mahama