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Danquah Institute: Help government steer Ghana out of economic hardship

The executive director of the Danquah Institute, Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko

Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko is the executive director of the Danquah Institute

The executive director of the Danquah Institute (DI), Antoinette Tsiboe-Darko, has urged Ghanaians to support the government in its efforts to get the economy to rebound from the current crisis.

She said that, much as the government is largely responsible for formulating policies to steer Ghana out of its current condition, it is also incumbent on “us as citizens to complement these efforts by contributing our quotas towards building back the economy”.

“Today, due to our interconnectedness to the global marketplace, and as the impact of external forces on our everyday lives will continue, we are faced with unforeseen challenges of the future and these are not challenges we have asked for as a people,” said Tsiboe-Darko at an economic forum organised by the Danquah Institute in Accra.

“We actually do not relish the situation we find ourselves in, but we are here, and, together as one, we must strive to build our nation,” she said.

Keeping the ship afloat

The forum, under the theme “Restoring Macroeconomic Stability and Sustainable Economic Growth: Our Collective Responsibility”, brought together a host of resource persons, civil society organisations, students and members of the public to deliberate on how to support the government to navigate these hard times.

Tsiboe-Darko recounted how the government had managed to keep the country afloat, even in the face of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

She said the government had managed the resource envelope of the country well before the influx of the virus, recording year-on-year single-digit inflation continuously for four years, stabilising the cedi against the major trading currencies and keeping the country on a high growth trajectory.

Twin crises

Although Ghana is not the only country feeling the brunt of the twin crises of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, Tsiboe-Darko said, its situation is peculiar, given that this is not the first time the country finds itself in such a precarious economic condition.

As such, given Ghana’s experience, something must be done to prevent the recurrence of such a situation.

Present at the deliberations at the Danquah Institute were the chairman for the forum, Professor Eric Assibey, Owusu Adu Sarkodie, an economist at the University of Ghana, Kwadwo Opoku, also an economist at the University of Ghana, the development economists Agyapomaa Gyeke-Darko and George Domfe, and Ama Boafo-Arthur, a lecturer in the Department of Distance Education at the University of Ghana.

Proffering solutions on the current economic hardship, Adu-Sarkodie encouraged the government to improve its revenue mobilisation efforts. One way to do this, he said, is to use digital platforms to monitor effectively “our tax collection and clamp down on persons who evade taxes”.

He said the government must also trim the list of companies which are exempt from paying taxes, as these exemptions come at a cost to the state.

For his part, Opoku encouraged the government to improve its exchange rate management. In doing this, he argued, the government must establish an exchange rate stabilisation fund on purchases of forex to help stabilise the cedi during periods of volatility. This will help the government to manage Ghana’s exchange rate regime properly, Opoku said.

Gyeke-Darko argued that the government must move to make state-owned enterprises independent, stressing that this is one of the sustainable ways that it can free itself from the liabilities of companies which do not contribute significantly to central government revenue.

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