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Opinions of Monday, 24 April 2017

Columnist: Philip Guribie Jnr

Was Ghana’s economy in real dire straits?

The crescendo on Ghana´s economy has suddenly changed less than four months into 2017.

All of a sudden the IMF and other economist of good repute are giving the economy a clean bill of health.

Whereas hitherto the story was different.

What has actually happened within this short period, such that an economy that was described as comatose or moribund has suddenly become vibrant and is showing growth prospects?

Or do I smell the rat of a calculated and sustained campaign to throw in the gutters the bright economic future of Ghana from 2017 onward that was drummed home by Seth Tekper in 2016?

These were the same bright future prospects trumpeted by Mr. Seth Tekper but there was so much noise such that a discerning Ghanaian was somehow left confused of what was really the truth. But fast forward to April 2017 the IMF that once raised alarm on how the economy was managed and predicted dire consequences, has all of a sudden changed the tune.

What has actually happened? The structure of the Ghanaian economy still remains the same although the present government is promising to modernize it. But I am sure Ghana´s economy has not been modernized in 100 days.

It is said, you will get the choicest meal when you have someone in the kitchen. So is it the case that the out gone government did not have someone in the kitchen to give them the choicest meal? My thought may be flawed, but in 2011, the government of Ghana under late President John Evans Atta Mills had plans to issue a Ghana cedi denominated bond with the IFC Office in Ghana promising to invest into it.

All of a sudden in the same year the bond was cancelled and the IFC decided not to go ahead with the purchase of the cedi denominated bond, stating that the cedi was losing value, to wit the economy was in bad shape.

And the economy continued to be in bad shape until 7th January 2017 when things became well and good overnight such that in April 2017 the NPP government issues a cedi denominated bond with Franklin Templeton alone purchasing 95% of the bond. What changed? Was the cedi actually in dire straits?

Or simply said, did the NDC government not have someone in the kitchen to serve them with the choicest meal? Your guess may be as good as mine.
Investors have suddenly expressed confidence in the Ghanaian economy and are ready to support the President´s one district one factory promise.

President Mahama did not even get that promise or pledges when he and the NDC decided to build 200 day senior high schools. They even struggled to get money to complete the Atuabo gas plant.

I remember how the NDC government even struggled to access US$3billion out of the US$9 billion credit line offered by CAD Fund (China Africa Development Fund). Is it that the NDC government had public opinion or investor confidence against them after even been promised money but they couldn’t access?

Now all of a sudden China is promising support for the one district one factory promise.

It may be true that we all do not all have the same fate even when given the same opportunities. Others will effectively use their opportunity and others will not, although we may all live in the same reality and environment.

All of a sudden the rising crescendo of how Ghana´s economy was in tatters that bedeviled the NDC has reduced in a subtle way with promises of taking Ghana out of the doldrums in their first term of office.

Is it the case of refusing to acknowledge that your predecessor did significant good to the Ghanaian economy that you are now ridding on and commissioning and promising projects? Because if the economy was in real dire straits , there will be nothing left to even keep government machinery running for the past four months or even get the invest that are purchasing 95% of your cedi denominated bonds .

Give praise where praise is due because in 100 days 101 promises have been fulfilled, and this was made possible because your predecessor left something in the kitty creating a sound pedestal for you to paddle on.

If not it is only a magician who can conjure 101 solutions to 101 problems in 100 days, with the economy in real dire straits, and his spectators signing on.

Was Ghana’s economy in real in dire straits? Or was it artificial?



The Columnist is an apolitical moderate who has no leanings to any political party in Ghana but has taken keen interest in bringing out issues that may otherwise not be raised for the enhancement of dialogue and social discourse to shape the course of Ghana´s young democracy.