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Wed, Jul

GHANA IS ON COURSE, EX-CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA GOVERNOR TELLS NDC CONFAB

Business & Economy

While some people, especially members of the National Democratic Congress, have elected to preach doom and gloom about the country continually, objective minds observing Ghana’s current development from afar see a nation heading in the right direction under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

While some people, especially members of the National Democratic Congress, have elected to preach doom and gloom about the country continually, objective minds observing Ghana’s current development from afar see a nation heading in the right direction under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

This was the “verdict” of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, when he delivered the keynote address at the K B Amissah-Arthur Economic Forum, held on Friday to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the former Vice-President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.

It was clear that the professor, speaking to the hard issues as a technocrat with a narrative which appeared to favour the Akufo-Addo government, left his audience very unhappy. Among guests at the lecture were former President John Dramani Mahama and other NDC gurus.

They had clearly expected him to join their “doom and gloom chorus”, but Professor Soludo rather praised Ghana for the giant strides it is making in economic development and also for maintaining its status as the most peaceful and stable country in West Africa.

Growth and stability

Expanding on the theme “Making Sense of Economics”, Professor Soludo made a comparative analysis of what both Ghana and his native Nigeria have achieved over the years by way of economic development.

The Nigerian former Central Bank governor said judging by growth in gross domestic product, while Ghana’s GDP is the tenth largest in Africa as of 2018, with growth averaging over 6 per cent recently, Nigeria is stuck on 2 per cent.

Professor Soludo said he was not surprised that Nigeria, with its high inflation rates, is now being characterised as the poverty capital of the world.

He also acknowledged that “Ghana is the most stable country in West Africa”.

“Ghana is ranked 110 out of 178 countries in the world and Nigeria ranks number 14, with Yemen and Somalia ranking first and second respectively.

“So, you can put it in context. It’s ranked from the worst to the best. Nigeria is on the red alert list and you guys [Ghana] are there very, very far [ahead], competing with several of the developed countries in the world,” he said.

No complacency

Professor Soludo encouraged the Akufo-Addo government to continue its good work by intensifying reforms and innovation in various sectors of the economy.

He particularly urged the government and Ghanaian citizens not to take for granted what the country has achieved.

“Whatever Ghana is doing to produce these results, including its macroeconomic stabilisation ‒ especially fiscal consolidation and structural policies ‒ it must intensify, albeit with continuous innovations and reforms.

“Comparisons are not to make you complacent or depressed but to put your efforts in context. Never take what you have achieved for granted,” he said.

The former Nigerian Central Bank Governor also urged the government to include in its special initiatives a One Village, One Clinic project, powered by technology, to improve public health-care standards.

Appreciate your gains

He was quick to add that he was making these comparisons not to portray Nigeria as the worst country in Africa, but to let Ghanaians appreciate how much their country has achieved in terms of peace, stability and economic development over the years.

The World Bank projection for Ghana’s growth in 2019 is 7.4 per cent, to be driven mainly by the industrial sector, especially oil, gas and mining.

Manufacturing is also expected to post higher growth. In the medium term (2019-22), overall GDP is projected to grow at 7 per cent on average, as the effects of oil on growth decline and non-oil growth strengthens.

Inflation is expected to remain within the central bank’s target range of 6-10 per cent in 2019, while the fiscal deficit is expected to be marginally higher at 4.2 per cent of GDP.

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