Economic recovery will be swift - Finance Minister assures
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has reaffirmed the government's unwavering commitment to restore the country’s economic fortunes within the shortest possible time.
Addressing a gathering of industry experts, policymakers, and international partners in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr Ofori-Atta reassured participants of the government's dedication to revitalising the economy and securing a prosperous future for all Ghanaians.
He was speaking at the MTN Group's 2023 Capital Market Day (CMD), a two-day event designed to foster dialogue with players within the financial community.
While in Johannesburg, the minister of finance will engage with the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, through a virtual platform.
Global crisis impact
Mr Ofori-Atta acknowledged the far-reaching impacts of the global economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing geo-political tension between Russia and Ukraine.
“These external factors have adversely affected Ghana's economy, compelling the government to seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he said.
Nevertheless, Mr Ofori-Atta said the government remained undeterred and was implementing measures to navigate the storm and restore the country economic fortunes.
The minister outlined a series of comprehensive measures and strategies, designed to stimulate economic growth, attract investments, and create job opportunities.
The finance minister emphasised the government's focus on enhancing key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and infrastructure development, while also stressing the importance of sustainable practices.
"We are concentrating on boosting agricultural productivity, promoting local industries, and investing in critical infrastructure projects,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
Through those actions, he added, “we will establish a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, generate employment opportunities, and drive economic growth."
The finance minister further underscored the government's commitment to fiscal discipline and prudent financial management.
"We will maintain responsible fiscal policies, improve revenue generation, and prioritise the efficient allocation of resources. These measures will ensure that our economic revival efforts are sustainable in the long run," he said
Mr Ofori-Atta highlighted the significance of swift action and emphasised the pivotal role a revitalised economy played in the well-being of the people.
"We understand the hardships our citizens are facing, and we empathise with their concerns. That is why we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to expedite the recovery process," the finance minister said.
Touching on public-private cooperation, Mr Ofori-Atta stressed the importance of collaboration among the government, private sector, and citizens in achieving the desired socio-economic outcomes.
Mr Ofori-Atta also called upon businesses, investors, and the entire Ghanaian populace to join hands with the government as it embarked on a transformational journey.
During the engagement with the South African leader, the two discussed areas of cooperation towards strengthening existing ties and building a healthy interchange for businesses in Ghana and South Africa.
President Ramaphosa congratulated Ghana on obtaining an IMF deal in record time.
He expressed the confidence that the government and the private sector collaboration would lead to a rapid resolution of the energy challenges currently being experienced in that country.
For his part, Mr Ofori-Atta expressed optimism that such economic cooperation would have a meaningful and mutually beneficial impact on citizens of both countries.
Ghana secured a deal with the IMF on May 17, this year, backed by Extended Credit Facility of $3 billion over three years.
The programme is for restoring macroeconomic stability, ensuring debt sustainability, and laying the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth.
The government requested IMF financial support in early July 2022. The IMF team and the Ghanaian officials engaged in expeditious discussions on a set of policies and reforms that could be supported by an IMF arrangement.
The two sides reached an IMF staff level agreement in December last year on the policies and reforms and on the path towards approval of the programme by the IMF Executive Board.
Since the approval, the first disbursement, equivalent to $600 million, has hit Ghana’s coffers.