The economy is not sitting pretty at all. It is not as if The Chronicle is making it up. That is the view from industry. It is also the verdict from the marketplace. President John Dramani Mahama acknowledged the dire state of the economy in his State of the Nation address to Parliament on Thursday, February 21, 2013.
In the words of the Head of State of the Republic, the treasury is at the bare-bone stage. In other words, we have peeled off all the flesh that would enable the economy withstand both foreign and internal shocks.
Since the debate on the 2013 Budget Statement began in the House of Parliament, the state of the economy has taken centre stage. Unfortunately, the two sides of the House are looking at the problem from clouded partisan points of view, which is unfortunate for this nation's ability to recover.
Members of the minority New Patriotic Party are virtually crying wolf. In the opinion of the Minority, this nation has whittled away all resources of state, and that Ghana is back to the state when the country was forced by huge indebtedness to creditors to access the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative.
We are told that the nation's debt stock stands at GHÂÂ¢33.5 billion, from the 2008 figure of GHÂÂ¢9.6 billion. "This is a whopping 248 per cent increase in the debt in four years. Mr. Speaker, as we speak right here, each Ghanaian owes GHÂÂ¢1,340. Mr. Speaker, why must my ten months old child at home be saddled with this debt before he starts walking," Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, NPP Member of Parliament for New Juabeng charged.
In response, Mr. Fiffi Kwetey, Minister of State in Charge of Finance at Flagstaff House, painted a picture of an economy that is a beacon for Africa. "We are talking of about a situation where the reserves of the country had come down to US$1.8 billion. As we speak today, the same reserves are up at a region of US$10.5 billion. Inflation was running, and by the beginning of 2009, inflation had gone up high to 21 per cent," Kwettey, who is a former Propaganda Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress, stated.
He said the fact that inflation had remained in single digit for the past three years, was a mark of a resilient economy.
The Chronicle is disappointed at the trend of discussion on the economy in the House. An economy doing well, in our humble view, should reflect in the living conditions of the people. At a time prices of goods and services are going through the roof, it is very difficult to make a case for the single digit inflation that has been flogged for the past three years.
We may not be economists at The Chronicle, but we appreciate conditions in the market place as a reflection on the economy. That is why The Chronicle is cautioning against the tendency to politicise a situation that is threatening to undermine our developmental efforts.
The economy appears not to be responding to the treatment being applied by those directing state policy. The cost of living is going way beyond the means of people who, ordinarily, should be considered as Middle Income earners. For those at the base of the economy, it is impossible to feed the family, let alone educate children on their meagre incomes. Inflation figures appear to have no relationship with the reality on the ground.
The Chronicle would like to appeal to those manning the state machinery to remove their partisan spectacles to enable them appreciate the reality on the ground. A nation that cannot feed its people, cannot expect to motivate citizens to be productive.
We are of the view too that the Minority could aid the search for economic solutions to our problems, if they would stop viewing the eight years of the Kufuor administration as a Golden Age in our nationhood, and that every initiative of this administration ought to be opposed. We need unity of purpose to move this nation forward.