Business News of 2014-03-20

‘Expansion of agric output is solution to economic slump’

Ghanaian business icon and philanthropist, Dr Kofi Amoah, says Ghana's long term solution to the current economic challenges is maximisation of the country's agricultural output.
Dr Amoah is also of the view that instead of prioritising free secondary education, managers of the economy must strive to "strengthen the economy for domestic production".
According to him although education is important the current state of the country's economy should cause policy makers to put a hold on increasing access to education -- which he firmly believes "can come later". Ghana's economy since the beginning of the year has been wobbling due in part to a falling Cedi against major trading currencies.
The Cedi has lost almost 11% against the dollar since January 2014, although current exchange rates suggest Bank of Ghana measures to arrest the situation -- introduced last month -- seem to be yielding some results. Prices of imported goods and foodstuffs -- which average $1.5 billion annually -- are increasing, thereby stalling business growth.
Speaking on Metro TV's 'Good Evening Ghana' on Tuesday, Dr Kofi Amoah, who is also a development economist, thinks the country's problems lies partly on over dependence on importation -- a quest to meet demands for imported goods without plans to produce locally.
His ‘three-fold’ development solution for Ghana is agriculture, manufacturing and financing. According to Dr Amoah Ghana’s vast, fertile lands and “energetic young people looking for jobs" must be put to work, in agriculture and manufacturing, if the country’s troubled economy is to recover.
He said the current high levels of rural-urban migration should be a wakeup call for government to make use of the eager manpower ready to work in the various regions across the country.
There is nothing wrong with borrowing money to finance, or in his words, “give flesh” to a viable agric and manufacturing policy plan. Need for a national plan Dr Amoah blames the seeming lack of right priorities for the country on a lack of national plan.
Although President John Mahama pledged last year to ensure that Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s seven-year development plan – rebranded as ‘Vision 2020’– is completed, Dr Amoah says Ghana needs more than a vision.
Vision 2020, which focuses on education, agriculture and rural development, was put together by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) during the Jerry Rawlings administration.
“If you want to equate a vision to a plan, I am sorry I am not going to agree with that. It’s good to have a vision because a vision sets the visible destination that you want to arrive at”, he told show host Paul Adom Otchere.
But an actionable policy plan that focuses on agricultural production and manufacturing with a cogent financing strategy is better than a vision, Dr Amoah insists.
His three-fold development solution for the state, he claims, is the same strategy which relatively better economies like South Korea, Malaysia and Brazil pursued.
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