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Business News of Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Source: GNA

Lifting of lockdown will save our economy from recession - Prof. Quartey


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The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey, says President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's decision to lift the ban on partial lockdown will save the Ghanaian economy from potential recession.

He noted that allowing businesses to re-open would eventually boost the economy, considering the fact that the informal sector made up 80 per cent of the economy.

Prof Quartey, reacting to the lifting of restrictions on movement at COVID-19 hotspots in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Monday, expressed optimism that the Ghanaian economy would turnaround in 2021 in view of the prudent measures the Government had put in place to rejuvenate the private sector.

"I have an expectation that we will stabilise the economy and experience some growth in 2021 to an appreciable level.”

"Though we might overrun our budget deficit this year and might have a debt to GDP ratio with unsustainable threshold...It's not surprising because we are not in normal times," Prof Quartey explained.

He, therefore, lauded Ghana's Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and his South African counterpart for leading a debt relief for Africa.

Ghana would have a freeze in principal and interest payments amounting to 500 million dollars from the World Bank, which would create a fiscal space to aid the Ghanaian economy to be resilient.

Prof Quartey noted that locking down COVID-19 hotspots for three weeks saw a lot of businesses folding up, invariably reducing the economic output of the nation.

He noted that with happening at the global stage, most of the ports had been closed, therefore one cannot import goods easily, whilst importers cannot get raw materials as quickly as possible.

Additionally, the demand for certain products have gone down, the services industry like hotels and restaurants are operating at low levels, therefore a contraction of the economy is very likely.

Prof Quartey further explained that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) might decline for two consecutive times, should the country fail to revamp the economy.

He said since Ghana was not immune to external shocks, President Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift the ban would save the economy from potential recession.

“We’re not immune from the global economy, therefore whatever happens in the global stage, we will have our fair share.”

"I think Ghana is well linked to the global economy because we export our products, we also import from China and other countries so whatever happens in those countries will certainly affect us," Prof Quartey said.

He noted that a recession would occur where there were two consecutive GDP decline for two quarters within a year.

"I think for the next two quarters, our GDP is likely to decline and, therefore, we’re not immune to a recession, but I’m hoping we can turn things around from 2021,” Prof Quartey noted.

"This year, it's more of trying to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, and curtail the spread and so we should do all the things that are necessary.”

He, however, was of the opinion that the joint police-military force should not have been withdrawn immediately to enforce the social distancing in commercial vehicles and the markets.

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