The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lauded the government for pursuing an economic trajectory that is yielding positive results to restore the economy on a sound footing but added that a lot more work needs to be done to achieve full fiscal consolidation.
For the country to achieve its target of sound microeconomic stability, the fund urged the government to ensure a sound financial sector, prioritise investments and reduce the debt stock to sustainable levels to restore absolute confidence in the economy.
The Country Director of the IMF, Ms Natalia Koliadina, who sounded the praise, was speaking at a panel session on the economy on the second and final day of the third Ghana CEOs Summit 2018 in Accra last Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
The session, which was on the theme: “Growth in Ghana: Rising or Falling”, brought together panellists drawn from different sectors of the economy speaking to issues on economic development and the choice Ghana needed to make to ensure a thriving economy.
Ms Koliadina alluded to the 8.4 per cent growth of the economy last year which, she said, made it the fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in particular and the world in general.
She said the growth in the oil and gas sector almost doubled in 2017 and expressed optimism that further broad-based economic growth was achievable in the country with the right economic policies in place.
Foundations for growth
The country manager indicated that Ghana’s stable democracy, coupled with vibrant economic stability, was among the prevailing conditions responsible for the economic performance.
Although she commended the government for trying to put the economy back on track, she expressed concern about Ghana’s debt levels, which she noted would militate against the quest for an economic take-off.
The 2018 CEOs Summit, which opened last Monday, had the broader theme: “Leadership, Innovation and Investment for Business and Economic Transformation”.
Its purpose was to bring CEOs together in an atmosphere of learning, insight sharing and unearthing the most viable ways of making the economy work in the face of global trends in an atmosphere of cross-sectoral network.
It adopted panels, plenary sessions and open fora for lively and thought-provoking discussions.
During the panel discussion, a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, said although the country was improving on its trade imbalance, a lot more work needed to be done to address that situation.
He stated that for the first time, Ghana had a trade surplus of $1.1 billion in 2017, which was a marked improvement.
He said the current expenditure was the result of a spillover of a long economic imbalance and underscored the need for collaboration to achieve micro-economic stability.
Touching on revenue mobilisation, the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Mr Paul Asare Ansah, said the paperless system introduced at the ports had helped to improve efficiency for increased revenue mobilisation.
He indicated that revenue had increased by 15 per cent since the system was introduced last year and the cost of doing business had equally been reduced.
The other panellists — the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Ghana, Mr Henry Oroh, and the Director of Debt Management at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Samuel Arkhurst — stressed the need for the country to plug the leakages in revenue to ensure the mobilisation of the much needed resources for national development.