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Business News of Saturday, 25 April 2020

Source: 3 News

Gov’t must target agric for recovery from coronavirus - Prof Quartey

The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey, says government must target the agricultural sector in its economic efforts to recover from the Covid-19 crisis in the near future.

According to him, all sectors of the economy will suffer as a result of the pandemic but the easy shot for government will be the agriculture sector.

He, therefore, advised that more investment must be put in that sector when the recovery efforts begin.

Prof. Quartey made these recommendations via Zoom on TV3/3FM’s The Key Points on Saturday, April 25.

He was contributing to discussions on efforts made by government to cushion businesses in the face of the threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

So far, government has made available a GH¢600 million stimulus package to be accessed as loans for small- and medium-scale businesses with repayment to begin after one year.

Half of electricity bills will also be absorbed by government from April to June.

Prof Quartey said the economy is divided into three sectors – agriculture, industry and services – and all these sectors will suffer due to the current global crisis the pandemic has come with it.

“[But agric] is the area I think government investment should target,” he told host Abena Tabi.

He was also concerned about the informal sector, which is said to constitute 80 percent of the Ghanaian economy.

The former Head of the Economics Department of the University of Ghana also advised employees to relax their stance on labour to accept mitigating measures taken by employers in this difficult period.

He said more often than not, employees take entrenched positions making the sustainability of businesses difficult.

‘Make agric sexy’

Also, joining via Zoom was the Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance Limited, Ken Thompson, who supported Prof Quartey’s call for greater investment into the agric sector.

But he said the sector must be made attractive.

“Make agric sexy. That is the only chance that we can have a lot of [profit from].”

Mr Thompson said Ghanaians tend to dilly-dally in crisis like this by not acting quick and fast.

“Facing the crisis, we can do the classic Ghanaian thing. We are talking a lot of English and we are not doing anything.”

He stressed: “We need to act now and we need to act fast.”

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