Tue, 30 Jan 2024 Feature Article

Sustainable Strategies for Ghana's Economic Recovery: A Comprehensive Approach

Sustainable Strategies for Ghana's Economic Recovery: A Comprehensive Approach

"No one owes us a living. We cannot live by the begging bowl. " Lee Kuan Yew.

As Ghana faces economic challenges, exploring alternative creative revenue streams is crucial to avoid dependence on unnecessary taxes and external entities like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This article outlines a comprehensive strategy for the Ghanaian government to raise funds and revive the ailing economy without resorting to IMF assistance and obnoxious taxes.

1. Diaspora Fund:
According to basic Conservative figures, there are about 3 million Ghanaians abroad, remitting their families back home a whopping amount of over $ 4 billion annually.

Establishing a Diaspora Fund is a visionary and creative step to tap into the financial resources of Ghanaians living abroad. Encouraging investments and contributions from the diaspora community can create a substantial pool of funds for national development projects. Countries like India, China and Israel have all used this approach to raise fund for their development agenda.

2. Encouraging Foreign Remittances:
Facilitating foreign remittances by streamlining processes and incentivizing transfers through reduced fees can boost the influx of funds into the country. This approach not only strengthens family ties but also contributes significantly to the national economy.

3. Recovering Evaded Taxes and Royalties:

Most of the Foreign Oil and Mining Companies are alleged to be evading taxes, under-declaring profits and dividends from their financial operations.

A rigorous effort to recover evaded taxes and royalties from foreign oil companies is imperative. Implementing stricter regulations, conducting regular forensic audits, and enforcing stiffer penalties will ensure that Ghana receives its fair share from its natural resources. This exercise could rake in enough revenue for development.

4. Adding Value to Export Products.
For decades, Ghana has not been able to maximise revenues from its natural resources because of the little or non value addition to its commodities.

Enhancing the value of cocoa, coffee, gold, and other export products through processing and refining within the country can create additional revenue. This approach not only maximizes profits but also promotes job creation and industrial growth. For example, global cocoa production is about 4.5 million tonnes annually with total revenue worth about $ 9 billion. Ghana's share of global production is about 20%. Finished cocoa products in the value chain is over $ 100 billion. If Ghana were to add value to all its cocoa, it would have earned the country about $ 20 billion. Unfortunately, Ghana derives only about $ 2 billion from its cocoa beans export. Value addition could have been a game changer for Ghana.

6. Reducing Government Size:
For many decades, Ghana has been running one of the largest government size in the whole world. This has been the country’s bane in the Fourth Republic. In fact, Ghana doesn't need more than 30 ministers, 100 MPs and 100 MMDCEs.

Trimming the number of ministers to 30, MPs to 100 and MMDCEs to 100 demonstrates a commitment to lean and efficient governance. This not only reduces administrative costs but also enhances decision-making agility within the government. A lot of countries have adopted this approach and have reaped great benefits and high administrative and operational costs of such offices.

7. Recovering Misappropriated Funds by MDAs:

Over the years, the Auditor-General's Reports have indicted a lot of MDAs for financial malfeasance amounting to billions dollars over the decades.

Acting upon Auditor-General's Reports to recover misappropriated funds by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) is crucial. Implementing stringent measures and holding those responsible accountable ensures fiscal responsibility. These funds, if recovered can help in the development agenda of the country.

8. Cutting Down Salaries:
Some of the top Ghanaian politicians earn very outrageous salaries, allowances and other perks.

Rationalizing salaries for Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), and Directors of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and other para-statal institutions can help in redirecting funds to critical sectors. This measure underscores a commitment to shared sacrifice in times of crisis. This is global best practice and has been done in other countries already with great positive results.

9. Consolidating Diplomatic Presence:
International relations and diplomacy is no longer synonymous with establishing embassies and high commissions in every country across the globe. Ghana has too many of such and this is putting a great financial burden on the national purse.

Closing down some of Ghana's embassies and high commissions and maintaining a more focused presence through 10 well equipped consulates worldwide is a strategic move to optimize diplomatic efforts while reducing operational costs. Benin Republic has taken the lead in this already in Africa.

10. Cancelling Allowances.
All colleges of education and nursing colleges have attained tertiary level status. There is, therefore, no need to give allowance to students in these institutions. They all have opportunity for student loan scheme. Even developed economies have long moved away from this. But for political expediency, this issue of allowance has even become political campaign issue in this country. The time has now come to scrape it out once and for all because of the economic situation the country is current facing.

Streamlining government expenditures by cancelling allowances for teachers and nurses is a pragmatic approach. Redirecting these funds to improve educational and healthcare infrastructure can have long-term benefits.

11. Office Vehicle Fleet Optimization:

Ghanaian government appointees love riding in big capacity, fuel-consuming engine vehicles.

Selling most V8 state vehicles and replacing them with smaller, more fuel-efficient options contributes to both cost savings and environmental sustainability. Other countries in Africa have done so. Ghana can also emulate this good move in these difficult times.

12. Fuel and Utilities Coupons:
At this time of dire economic difficulties, some highly paid state officials still depend on scarce government resources for free coupons for fuel. This is unacceptable in moments like these.

Cancelling free coupons for fuel and utilities for certain authorities aligns with a commitment to fiscal responsibility without compromising essential services. These people can easily afford buying their own fuel and save the state some money for development in other important sectors.

13. Ex-Gratia Abolishment:
This sensitive issue is long overdue in Ghana's politics. This is an old legacy of colonial administration that needs not be even part of our system after independence.

Immediately abolishing ex-gratia for all Article 71 holders demonstrates a commitment to fairness and equal treatment across all sectors of government work. All animals must be treated equally and equitably. This is the most propitious time to take the bull by the horn and scrape this constitutional albatross out.

15. Reviewing Free SHS Programme:
This is a good policy whose implementation was poorly done. Hence, It needs a critical review for cost effectiveness and future success.

A thorough review of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme allows for cost-cutting measures such as introducing fee-paying, bursaries, full scholarships and the "totally free" options for various categories of students, based on a set of well defined critera that will ensure the programme's sustainability and optimization.

Ghana has the potential to raise substantial funds, mitigate economic challenges, and foster sustainable growth, all the while maintaining financial independence without resorting to external interventions. This strategic and creative roadmap underscores the nation's commitment to responsible financial management and enduring economic prosperity.

By adopting these comprehensive measures, Ghana can build a resilient and self-sustaining economy going into the future, reducing reliance on external assistance. The government's commitment to financial prudence, discipline, accountability, transparency and strategic investments will pave the way for a brighter economic future.

Indeed, Ghana can come out of this economic crisis stronger if it employs those creative ideas as shared in this article. It’s possible!

Joel Degue.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024