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Outcome of govt retreat must help revive economy

BY: Graphic Business
Ken Ofori-Atta — Minister of Finance

Last week, the government held a four-day retreat at the Presidential Lodge at Peduase, near Aburi in the Eastern Region, to discuss the economy, take stock of programmes and chart a path for growth.

The retreat, the second this year and which had almost all members of government present, also discussed the various flagship programmes, how to communicate government programmes effectively and the reason for accessing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

According to our sources, it also reviewed the cost-cutting measures announced at the last Cabinet meeting in March this year and assessed the performance of those measures which, according to the figures, are yielding some dividends.

The Graphic Business highly commends the government for the retreat, which was meant to take stock of its performance and map the way forward.

We are also happy with the retreat in view of the fact that the country has begun formal discussions with the IMF to seek support from the fund to stabilise the economy.

The present bad state of the economy, resulting from a myriad of challenges, both local and international, is biting hard and the managers of the economy need to restrategise to restore hope to the people.

Many a time, we have seen very little implemented from outcomes of such retreats. This is most unfortunate because it makes government retreats a waste of time and the scarce resources of the state.

The Graphic Business is worried about the unemployment situation in the country and joins calls from all and sundry for the government to take drastic measures to resolve the problem, which many have described as a national security threat.

We are happy to note that one of the key discussions on the table at the retreat had to do with the government’s flagship programmes.

The paper has no doubt that each of the programmes was well-intended. However, from the analyses by experts from various sectors of the economy, some of the programmes are not yielding the needed results.

It is against this background that we expect the government to assess their impact and review those that are necessary. It is not the best to implement programmes for more than four years without any proper assessment to ascertain whether the impact is being felt or not.

To us, most of the programmes need to be reviewed and the funding for them reassessed to ensure that Ghanaians get value for money. It will also help block all the leakages in the system to enable the programmes to run more efficiently to benefit the people for which they were intended.

With regard to expenditure cuts, we are happy to hear that the measures are yielding some positive results. However, we join other experts in calling for figures with regard to what has been saved so far. It is only through that that the people will have confidence in what is being said about the savings and also play along to ensure that we all tighten our belts in our quest to rebuild the economy for the benefit of all.

The Graphic Business would also want to see, from the retreat, a concrete plan to be presented to the IMF that will not only help rebuild our ailing economy but also prevent us from going back to the fund for support.

We have come a long way, knowing that on that journey there will be challenges. However, it will take a reassessment of what is being done to enable us to fill the gaps and move forward.

We say kudos to the government for the retreat; we expect that nothing will be left to chance in the quest to restore the economy back on track.