Business News of 2014-04-11

Comment: Fixing the ills of our economy

Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has proposed a national forum on the economy to find the best way to resolve our current economic difficulties.

Such a forum to brainstorm on the challenges, he said, should be devoid of partisan considerations.

The Daily Graphic welcomes such a proposal from the government and it is also our hope that all stakeholders who will be invited will participate in the forum with the national interest as their main goal.

The admonition by Vice-President Amissah-Arthur is very apt, as discussions on any matter of national concern have always been politicised, with both the ruling and the opposition political parties engaging in the blame game.

Right now we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that our economy is under severe strain from a variety of factors.

The budget deficit carried over from 2008 has, in effect, slowed down the country’s capacity to put the economy on an even keel.

The effects of the economic difficulties took a toll on the people, especially from 2013 when business activities slowed down and the cause has been attributed to the government over-spending its budget.

Notwithstanding the austere measures that have been introduced by the government to halt the economic decline, the results have been slow, as the economic indicators do not point to the likelihood that we shall be out of the woods soon.

A solution is always in sight if the problems can be identified; and in our case we know why the economy is challenged in recent times.

There are many leaks in the system through which unscrupulous people find it easy to siphon state resources for personal gain.

Reports from the Judgement Debt Commission indicate that as a country, we have not managed judgement debt payments very well, leaving loopholes for all manner of people to exploit, at the expense of the public good.

And as if that is not enough, media reports also indicate various acts of corruption in both high and low places in public institutions.

The Daily Graphic finds it difficult to understand why our governments have not been able to exploit the country’s strengths to promote trade between Ghana and the international business community, instead of always carrying bowls in hand looking for aid to balance our budget.

We are hopeful that the call made by the Vice-President at the inauguration of a rice mill installed by the Global Agricultural Development Company (GADCO) for an open forum on the economy will, for the first time in our history, provide the solutions to address the structural defects in our economy.