Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana, has urged the Government to pay attention to sectors that will create “massive” employment for young people in the 2022 Budget.
She said focus should be on the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors, especially because they were the “real sectors of the economy.”
In a discussion on the budget, Dr Baffour said the country’s 2020 growth rate, which stood at 0.4 per cent, spoke volumes of the state of the economy and its impact on livelihoods.
“The way out for the Government is to consistently work on developing the real sectors of the economy. We should focus on sectors that are massive on employment generation for young people. In that regard, we are looking at agro-processing, and the manufacturing sectors,” she said.
She attributed the country’s economic challenges to the impact of COVID-19, saying the ordinary Ghanaian was feeling it through increasing transportation fares and food prices, among other things.
Dr Baffour, therefore, advised government’s communication machinery to “be sensitive” to the plight of the people in its response to criticisms about the state of the economy and the welfare of the people.
“If you say the critics should prove what they are saying, I do not know how best they can prove that but the reality is that people need jobs, rent is going up, fuel prices are up,” she said, adding; “The strategy for government going forward should not be to attack the messengers but look at the merit of it.”
Mr Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, a member of the Legal Team of the National Democratic Congress, accused the Government of spending so much on consumption and investing less in capital projects that would yield returns for the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic could not be an excuse for government, he said, stressing that the country’s current debt stock suggested that it (government) “benefitted from the pandemic.”
Dr Stephen Amoah, a former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), said an assessment of the economy should be made in its totality taking into consideration the state of the economy prior to the assumption of office in 2017 of the President Akufo-Addo-led Administration.
“Last year, our revenue generation shortfall was over 14 billion cedis and yet we had statutory and interest payments. These are realities of the global impact on us and they are things you cannot do much about,” he said.
The 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government will be presented to Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016, (Act 921).