Business News of 2014-02-14

Comment: Let’s walk the talk of reforms

The debate on the challenges facing the economy becomes very tense each passing day, with a section of the citizens nursing the fear that the worst is yet to come.

However, the managers of the economy believe that in spite of the slide in the value of the cedi against the major currencies, there is hope in the horizon.

The Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper, is reported to have rejected suggestions that the economy today is weaker and less performing than it was three decades ago.

It may be difficult to fault the Finance Minister against the backdrop of developments that have taken place over the last 20 years or so.

Growth indicators now are better than they were a decade ago; infrastructure has improved across the sectors, as new houses and roads, more airlines and new investors have descended on the country.

It appears that despite the overwhelming evidence of growth in the economy, many Ghanaians are facing harsh economic challenges, as they can hardly make ends meet.

There are chilling reports from hospitals about patients who cannot afford basic medical care, especially in the wake of the difficulties facing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The situation is not better in the educational sector, as some parents cannot afford their children’s school fees.

We cannot challenge President John Mahama over his pronouncement that the recent measures outlined to check the decline in the value of the cedi might be painful but they were necessary to ensure the stability of the economy.

All that the President is saying is that we ought to sacrifice in order to grow the national wealth for distribution to all and sundry.

We also stand by our position that unless the people increase local production, instead of importing every conceivable consumable, our cedi will continue to fall against the major currencies.

Basic economics indicates that when our imports outstrip exports, there is imbalance in trade and that is the situation in Ghana where almost all the productive sectors have collapsed.

The Daily Graphic calls on all Ghanaians not to lose hope in the economy but rally round the government to achieve the objectives outlined by the Bank of Ghana.

However, we appeal to the President to encourage his team to look at how to reverse the harsh realities of living conditions in the country now.

In an economy where over the last three months the prices of all basic necessities of life have gone up, the cost of living will be unbearable for majority of the people.

The prices of petroleum products have been adjusted upwards, utility tariffs and VAT rates have gone up, while levies and charges by all public institutions have been reviewed upwards.

Honestly, in situations like this, the people will bear the brunt of the economic hardships.

We can no longer pretend that we are in hard times and we ought to take the actions collectively to salvage the sinking ship of state. But the managers of the economy must walk the talk of the reforms they have outlined.