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Asomaning urges honesty in economic discourse

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
 Ato Afful (left), MD, Graphic Communications Group Limited, interacting with Humphrey Ayim-Darke (right), Chief Executive Officer, RedMoon Resources Limited, and Kwamina Asomaning, Chief Executive, Stanbic Bank. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Ato Afful (left), MD, Graphic Communications Group Limited, interacting with Humphrey Ayim-Darke (right), Chief Executive Officer, RedMoon Resources Limited, and Kwamina Asomaning, Chief Executive, Stanbic Bank. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Stanbic Bank Ghana, Kwamina Asomaning, has said the country needs to be honest with itself when making decisions on the economy.

He said ranked according to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, Ghana was not the wealthiest of nations therefore, this must be considered when making decisions.

Mr Asomaning said this at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held in Accra last yesterday.

On the theme, “Living Within Our Means, an Imperative for Economic Success,” the quarterly event sponsored by one of the country’s foremost banks, Stanbic Bank, was a precursor to the preparation of the 2023 Budget Statement to be laid before Parliament at the beginning of the last quarter of the year.

The thought-leadership programme, which has grown to become one of the major agenda-setting events on the national calendar, offered a platform for participants from the business community, academia and civil society to suggest ideas to be factored into the 2023 budget.

“Ranked according to our GDP per capita, our country is not the wealthiest of nations. Because of this, we must be acutely better at mechanising our trade-offs than those nations ranked as wealthier than ourselves.

The idea of trade-offs is one of the most basic principles in economics such that in order to have more of one thing, we must accept having less of something else,” Mr Asomaning said.

He explained that there was nothing wrong with challenging what has evolved into the status quo, if that status quo has the potential to lead us down a thorny path.

“It is our job today to be honest, to be authentic, to be introspective and to be critical in order that we might move the needle even just a little bit so that Ghana and her people can thrive sustainably,” he said.

Structure of economy

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Ato Afful, said, the structure of Ghana’s economy was at the heart of the difficulty it has faced over the decades; extract and export, with no meaningful or consistent value addition.

“Consequently, others who have patient capital and were willing to invest, extract all the premium in what we labour to produce,” he said but was quick to clarify that the problem did not start from today.

“We cannot and will not be anywhere near the self-sufficiency we seek, beautifully couched as; ‘Ghana Beyond Aid”, if we don’t have a rethink, plan, change and do. We must resolve to make a choice to take a chance for our lives to change,” he said.

Mr Afful said the progress we have made as a country and the positive new initiatives, and momentum are reasons for optimism.

However, he said the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, following on the constraints of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic and recent headwinds in the economy, may give us a clue of what the real world looks like.

He said the associated impact in global freight costs, has impacted our cost of landing imported products and production inputs, including the cost of hydrocarbon fuels on our economy, though we extract and export some oil, gold, cocoa, manganese, bauxite, and critical human and intellectual capital.

“We need a lifestyle audit, a mindset shift and a complete re-dedication to consistently implemente the ideals of “Operation Feed Yourself”, “Domestication”, “Ghana Beyond Aid” to attain the economic independence and success we desire,” he said.