The recent affirmation of the Government of Ghana's issuer and senior unsecured rating at B3 and change in the country's economic outlook to stable from negative by international rating agency, Moody's, is, indeed, an upgrade worth celebrating by the managers of the economy, Economist Dr John Gatsi has said.
"The fact is that you were having a negative outlook, now it is positive, it's an improvement; that's all Ghanaians want and that is OK by me," the lecturer at the University of Cape Coast told Prince Minkah on the Executive Breakfast Show on Monday, 10 October in response to an assertion by the vice-presidential nominee of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia during the launch of the party's manifesto at the International Trade Fair Centre on Sunday, 9 October in Accra that Moody's has not upgraded Ghana's credit rating contrary to assertions by the Mahama administration to that effect.
According to Dr Gatsi, "[With] that kind of improvement … somebody can say it's an upgrade, but the most important thing is that some challenges still remain within the Ghanaian economy that all people who are in charge of managing the economy should pledge themselves the more to work harder to ensure that greater improvement is achieved, but as it is now, Moody's has actually indicated an improvement in the outlook of the Ghanaian economy and those who are managing the economy have the right to actually assign credit to themselves that they are doing well, but the fact remains that more needs to be done."
Pressed by Prince Minkah about whether it was really an upgrade, Dr Gatsi said: "Of course, if you are negative and you are moved to positive, have you not been upgraded in the scheme of things?"
According to Dr Bawumia's argument, Ghana's credit rating got downgraded to (B-) under President Mahama despite having oil revenue at his disposal, from (B) positive (without oil under the NPP). He said nothing had changed per the recent rating except the revised outlook, adding that: "In fact, international rating agencies like Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s now have basically the same credit rating for Ghana."
"The recent revision of Ghana's outlook from (B-) negative to (B-) stable, that is the equivalent of B3," he explained, with the revision of the outlook from negative to stable, "has resulted in a misinterpretation by this NDC government and President Mahama that Ghana's credit rating has been upgraded".
He continued: "This is in fact not the case. Moody's did not upgrade Ghana. Ghana's rating under Moody's is still B-. It is only the outlook that has been revised and that is not equivalent to a change in rating or a rating upgrade."
"Sometimes, one wonders whether they don't read or they don't understand. So, let me give Mr President a free piece of advice: Mr President, please desist from embarrassing yourself by stating that Moody's has upgraded Ghana. Your economic management team should explain that difference to you.
"The Mo Ibrahim 2016 report on governance shows that on virtually all key development indicators such as safety, rule of law, human rights, economic opportunities, infrastructure, business environment, human development, health and public management, Ghana is worse off today than it was 10 years ago."
Mr Mahama recently said the review of Ghana's economic outlook from negative to stable is proof that "we're doing something right".
Upon his return to Accra Wednesday night after his trip to France, Mr Mahama told journalists at the Kotoka International Airport that: "In my absence, we were pleased to hear that Moody's credit rating agency has upgraded Ghana. It shows that we are doing something right and we are pleased about the way things are happening. Let us continue to work together as one nation, let's believe in ourselves, and I believe that more than the sky is the limit."
"Our country is respected in the international community and everybody recognises that. Ghana is rising, Ghana is doing well."