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Debt sustainability requires firm decision - Dr Bawumia

BY: Chris Nunoo
Tracy Oppong-Manu (2nd from right), Founder of the Simpliexpand digital platform, explaining a point about her product to Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (3rd from left), during an exhibition mounted at the Standard Chartered Digital Banking Innovation and Fintech Festival in Accra. Those in the picture include Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari (2nd from left), the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, and Mansa Nattey (left), Chief Executive Officer of the Standard Chartered Bank. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Tracy Oppong-Manu (2nd from right), Founder of the Simpliexpand digital platform, explaining a point about her product to Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (3rd from left), during an exhibition mounted at the Standard Chartered Digital Banking Innovation and Fintech Festival in Accra. Those in the picture include Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari (2nd from left), the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, and Mansa Nattey (left), Chief Executive Officer of the Standard Chartered Bank. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said the quest to restore fiscal and debt sustainability will require very bold and difficult but firm decisions.

He said the economic crisis confronting the country, particularly issues which affected confidence in the economic system, would have to be addressed in different dimensions to make sure that fiscal and debt sustainability was realised.

Dr Bawumia, who was speaking at the second Standard Chartered Digital Banking, Innovation and Fin Tech Festival in Accra yesterday[October 26, 2022], said those two areas were part of the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Once the discussions were concluded, he said, it would not be business-as-usual, since the country would have to adjust to the new global and domestic reality.

To that end, he stressed the need to enhance domestic production and reduce dependence on imported commodities that could very easily be produced in the country.

He said one area that must be addressed was the reduction of import dependency, as well as tighten the foreign exchange regime, which he said was quite loose.


The Vice-President explained that there was also a lot of current account deficit, which meant “a lot of the foreign exchange earnings from our trade does not stay in the country”.

Festival

The two-day festival, on the theme: “Powering Africa’s digital economy, platforms, players and policy”, attracted participants from the Fin Tech ecosystem, including bankers and players in the telecommunications sector.

Vice-President Bawumia observed that this year’s festival was taking place against the backdrop of a global economic crisis which was also being seen in Ghana.

“We have seen inflation accelerating across the globe and Ghana, for example, has seen about a five-fold increase in the rate of inflation between the end of 2019 and today,” he said.

He mentioned other neighbouring and European countries with high inflation rates and said rising inflation was accompanied by a very strong dollar which was seeing currencies falling in value.

“We do not expect a smooth run as we seek to achieve progress, but irrespective of the challenges and drawbacks, it is imperative to engage with all stakeholders and set our sights on a common target,” the Vice-President pointed out.

SIM Card registration

The First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, said the BoG fully supported the ongoing SIM card registration exercise being championed by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

He said it would ensure the centralisation of data to boost financial services devoid of fraud, theft and opportunity for money laundering and financing of terrorism.

He said the BoG had developed an artificial intelligence-powered automated consumer complaint system similar to a chat pot named as ‘Akushika’.

For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Standard Chartered Bank, Mansa Nettey, said the festival served as a platform for the government, key stakeholders and Fin Techs to showcase the digital infrastructure of the country, as well as the great strides it had made in its digitalisation journey.

She expressed the hope that presentations, engagements and partnerships that would be built during the festival would help further uncover opportunities and urged the participants to continue to push the boundaries of innovation.