Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, wants government to demonstrate bold commitment in addressing the challenges in the fiscal economy, to send positive signal to investors and the financial markets.
According to him, that is the only way which will convince investors to repose confidence in the economy and help stabilise the cedi; and that the 20% cut in expenditure will do very little.
Speaking to Joy Business, Mr. Terkper expressed worry about some of the fiscal data put out by the government, which he says, does not reflect the situation on the ground.
“If we [Ghana Government] do not come up with policies that the market will see us as credible, the multilateral institutions will see as credible, then it means it will be a continuous downwards slide in economy. If we come up with those measures which normally takes time as you have just alluded – two-three years, sometimes four years – then they may be some hope”.
Mr. Terkper also expressed worry about government’s failure to listen to several warnings from Ghanaian academicians, economists, analysts and market watchers about the poor direction of the economy.
“Let me say that as Ghanaians, we should not always think that it is only outsiders [foreigners] who are telling the Ghanaian story. I’m saying that because some of the warnings and signals were being given by Bank of Ghana in its Monetary Policy Reports, at formal functions. Sometimes you hear the Governors, sometimes you see the statements.”
“I’m not saying that others are not expressing concerns. That’s not my point. I’m saying that inwardly, we can go take cues from our own”, the former Finance Minister said.
Furthermore, he said “If you take the oil sector, they [economists, analysts, market watchers] have been coming out with solutions, and other institutions have been coming out; and in fairness when things were good, they pointed out the positive. So I think that if we listen to them, they have expertise”.
According to Mr. Terkper, these institutions and professionals have institutional memories that position them as being abreast with the happenings over the decades.
For instance, he said “the Institute of Economic Affairs – I couldn’t attend their recent synopsis presented by Dr. Kwakye – whom by the way once worked with the Central Bank (Bank of Ghana). So, he must have some insight as to what he is saying. He was also our representative in the IMF office in Washington and you should listen to those people because they are very knowledgeable and some of these concerns have been expressed.”