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General News of Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

September schedule for free SHS “premature” – Economist

Government’s plans to roll out the free SHS programme in September has been described as premature.

According to an Economist, Ken Thompson, the financial support presently coming in from international donors will not be enough to sustain the programme.

He believes it would rather be advisable for government to invest in the production sectors to empower Ghanaians to solely fund the education of their children without government’s support.

“The free SHS programme that the government announced is premature. I know the Canadaian government is giving us about 125 million dollars but it is not enough. This is the time that we should be investing and trust me, if Ghanaians have jobs, even the pressure for them to ask for free SHS will go down. Let us use the little money we have now and invest in the production sectors.Bob Marley said a hungry man is an angry man. When you are hungry, you cannot even think. The government cannot do everything. They just have to focus,” Mr. Thomspon suggested on the Citi Breakfast Show.

Cedi depreciation

On cedi depreciation, the Economist said the value of the cedi keeps depreciating because there is “more demand than supply.”

He said Ghana will have a stable currency if the country decides to increase exports and reduce imports.

“You cannot expect to import everything, export very little and have a stable currency. That doesn’t happen. As far as I am concerned…I really believe and now let’s invest in agriculture and let’s see so we can increase our exports and any attempt by the Central government to intervene will fail because it is a demand and supply issue.”

“Anytime the Central Bank says that it is going to intervene to stabilise the currency we panic. We panic because we all know that the Central Bank has not gotten the pocket so why are we stretching ourselves with cedi depreciation. Because we do not export. We export very little and import everything. Allow it to depreciate. The main issue is a supply and demand situation and anytime somebody says they are going to intervene, I know they are going to fail.”

Official figures from the Bank of Ghana show that the cedi had depreciated by 1.3 percent to the dollar as at January 19, 2017.

The figure however represents a sharp decline from the 9.2 percent recorded in December 2016.