Be transparent, the economy isn’t doing well – World Bank tells gov’t

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Mr. Pierre Laporte has told the government of Ghana to be transparent with the people regarding the state of affairs of the economy.

In his view, the economy was struggling before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic

“Is it a really serious situation ? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. The situation is very serious. At the World Bank, we’ve not hidden the fact when we’ve held discussions with government officials and even the head of state that, Ghana faces a very tough road ahead to restore macro sustainability.

“Yes, COVID-19 has not helped. But even before COVID-19, there were signs that the situation was getting a little bit challenging. So the key thing is to be transparent with the people. Yes, the figures speak for themselves, but not everybody is as educated as we are. Not everyone understands what the numbers mean, so it is important to talk about it like we are doing. More important is for us to find solutions for the problem,” he said at a public lecture in Accra on Monday March 7.

The lecturer was given by a former Finance Minister Professor Kwesi Botchwey.

Professor Kwesi Botchwey said the signs are clear that Ghana is in economic distress.

Speaking at a public lecture on Monday March 7 he said “As we speak all the signs point to a country in some economic distress. The exchange rate at the Forex Bureau is nearing 8 cedis to the dollar. Fuel prices at the fuel stations have crossed the 8 cedis per liter bar.”

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Prof Kwesi Botchwey further asked the government to recognize that the country is going through crisis.

He also said the government must listen to the key issued raised by the Minority in Parliament against the proposed E-levy and address those issues.

“We are in crisis and the opposition have raised concerns on the effects it [E-Levy] would have on the cashless society we want to have, and also the hardship it will bring upon the vulnerable. Let us get to recognise that the concerns of the opposition are critical issues by engaging in transparent and respectful conversations.”

“Now, the first solution to this is to recognise that we have a problem. If you’re telling the public that things are cool, we have never had it like this, we have done better than anybody in the past, if you are professing hubris, it tells that you do not have a problem.”

“Speaking this way gives you no stance to collecting monies from the people, no matter the exemption given it, I’m not saying we should panic, but standing comfortably and smiling as if the house is not on fire is terrible, and shouldn’t be done,” he said.

The lecturer was on the theme: “On the state of the nation’s economy and politics, 65 years after independence, the path to sustainable development and democratic consolidation.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana