Daniel Amateye Anim-Prempeh
Daniel Amateye Anim-Prempeh, an economist, says even though Ghana attained most of its monthly economic indicators last year, such gains did not translate into job creation or economic activities that really helped to improve the living conditions of people.
Speaking to BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview yesterday on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be delivered by President Akufo-Addo today, Mr Amateye Anim-Prempeh said the youth expect the economic records being touted by government to translate into jobs for them.
“Because our private sector is having problems with costs, what it means is that at the end of the day, the prices of goods and services will increase. And if you will recall, the kind of growth we experienced last year came from the oil sector and not from agriculture. It came from a sector which couldn’t have a ripple effect on the national economy. So I think going forward, my expectation is that government should be able to devise a strategy where it can really use agriculture to spur growth because if you look at the structure of our economy, the majority of the youth are in the agric sector.
“This explains why many a Ghanaian would complain and say that they are not feeling the economic gains in their pockets, according to him.
Ghana’s economy experienced a momentous turnaround in 2017, escaping the grips of subdued growth in 2016 that was brought about by lower oil production, coupled with a tight monetary policy stance.
Boost to oil production amid the oil price rally, and recovering domestic demand aided by increased monetary accommodation against a backdrop of slowing inflation helped propel annual GDP growth to 9.3 percent in quarter 3.
Analysts believe that data for quarter four suggests that while private sector activity remained buoyant at the close of the year, it lost some ground compared to the previous two quarters.
Despite the substantial strides made in 2017, pundits say the economy was still at high risk of debt distress with an elevated debt-to-GDP ratio, threatening long-term financial stability.
Government has been advised to reign in the heavy debt burden and put it on a sustainable course this year.
FocusEconomics, a leading global economic forecaster, noted: “Higher oil production and tighter control of expenditures should lift revenues, while domestic demand should pick up amid moderating inflation, driving robust economic growth. Headwinds to the outlook stem from financial sustainability of state-owned energy enterprises and a high outstanding volume of non-performing loans plaguing the banking sector.”
Panelists expect GDP growth of 7.1 percent in 2018.
By Samuel Boadi