The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, has observed that the Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL) and its brands have keenly prioritised the national interest in their reportage.
He also said he associated himself with verdicts returned by the Chief Executive of the Stanbic Bank Limited, Mr Alhassan Andani, that the Daily Graphic “determines the mood of the nation” and by the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, that the newspaper had remained neutral in order to serve the national interest.
“Mr Andani said Graphic, in a sense, measures the mood of the country and I agree. Your headlines give a good sense of the priorities of Ghana at any point in time.
“So, congratulations to the good work that you are doing,” Dr Addison said when he answered a wide range of questions on “GraphicTalks 360”, a special GCGL interview programme, which was hosted live online by the Editor of the Graphic Business, Mr Theophilus Yartey, yesterday.
The Webinar, dubbed Time with the Governor, was part of the 70th anniversary celebration of the GCGL.
The Governor congratulated GCGL on the occasion of its 70th anniversary and for all the good work done over the past 70 years, adding that like others, he had been following activities to celebrate the anniversary very keenly.
Impact of COVID-19
Dr Addison noted that the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the economy would be significant for this year, as the pandemic was an unprecedented global occurrence.
“At the global level, this is the worst shock that has happened since the Great Depression in 1930. So, it is something that we have not seen on this level.
“In terms of Ghana, we will need to have some more observations in order to really understand the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The Governor recounted that the country had had a very bad economic history prior to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of 1986-1987 and that Ghana was not there yet.
According to him, some of the initial economic indicators that were looked at for the first quarter of this year came in relatively strong, especially gold and cocoa exports.
“On the other hand, oil exports have been significantly impacted because oil prices have declined sharply. So, we do have some strong points and some relatively weak points. If you look at the private sector’s contribution to social security, you also get the sense of the impact on employment,” he said.
Dr Addison said it had been a significant revision for the outlook on growth, with a projection that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth would decline from an estimated seven per cent to two per cent.
He said in terms of employment, businesses that were in tourism and hospitality management services, and educational sectors, especially, had been impacted significantly, as some workers had been laid off, all in a bid to manage the impact of COVID-19.
“So, yes the impact for 2020 will be significant. We know that depending on how COVID-19 progresses, that would also change the forecast,” the Governor pointed out.
What keeps him awake?
He expressed worry about the budget deficit that might not be sustainable in the medium term, and said there was the need to do some work in trying to revisit the mobilisation of revenue from domestic resources and use that to manage the growing budget deficit.
“We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine all the gains we have made over the past three years,” Dr Addison pointed out.
The Governor said he was happy with fiscal policy responses, but said it was not unique to Ghana, but global, and all countries had had to utilise all their tools, such as those that had been used in Ghana.
“But we should also be forward looking in terms of what this will mean for 2021 and 2022,” Dr Addison pointed out.