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Sun, 18 Feb 2024 Feature Article

Is the Economic Management Team Relevant?

Is the Economic Management Team Relevant?
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Economic management involves the process of planning and controlling the allocation of resources within an economy to achieve specific economic objectives. The planning process involves making decisions related to production, distribution, consumption, and investment to ensure sustainable growth and economic stability. Yet the Economic Management Team that is usually deployed by a government in Ghana aims at rolling out government’s flagship programs.

The relevance of the Economic Management Teams that are formed by various political administrations and governments is overelaborated. There are institutions of state that are empowered by statutes to lead in the country’s economic governance and development. The creation of the Economic Management Team, which is usually a temporary management team, duplicates roles played by the Finance Ministry and the National Development Planning Commission.

The Vice President of Ghana, who serves as the Chairman, typically leads the EMT. Other members of the team are selected based on their experience and expertise in economic governance and development. The members of the team are usually people from the government who are deemed competent to advise on economic policy formulation and implementation.

The practical relevance of the Economic Management Team is anchored on the opinion that economic policy formulation and implementation must be owned and delivered by the government in power. Otherwise, the Finance Ministry and the National Development Planning Commission are already charged with constitutional powers to address diverse economic challenges facing the Ghanaian economy.

The constitution of Ghana authorizes a president to appoint the chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission. The Commission consists of the Minister responsible for Finance and such other Ministers of State as the President may appoint. The Commission also includes the government Statistician, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana and other members from the various regions, as well as appointments by the President. The Commission is responsible to the President.

Article 87 (1) indicates that the Commission shall advise the President on development planning policy and strategy. This constitutional demand on the National Development Planning Commission alone diminishes the relevance of the Economic Management Team. Economic management in its practical sense is outlined in Article 87 (1), 2(a), 2(b), 2(d), 2(e), and 87 (3), which the National Development Planning Commission must execute.

The National Development Planning Commission, as a constitutional creation, is constituted by the President of Ghana. The President can use the Commission to execute the items in the manifesto that won him power. The National Development Planning Commission dominates the Economic Management Team in terms of its practical significance and appropriateness. The National Development Planning Commission has constitutional mandates, while the Economic Management Team has political mandates to ensure the execution and implementation of government policies and manifesto items.

However, Economic Management is not limited to executing party manifesto items or economic policies of a government. The Economic Management Team often fails to execute the policies of government adequately. There is lack of coordination for economic policies and strategic direction for government policies to maximize welfare for citizens.

The Economic Management Team, if effective, should take initiatives that analyze economic trends, identify key challenges, and devise economic policies to address them. Economic management requires focusing on addressing key issues such as inflation, exchange rates, fiscal deficits, and trade balances. The team must work to respond more effectively to the dynamic nature of global and domestic development issues.

Fiscal and monetary policies are essential to achieving the objectives of a government. However, these policies are not within the control of the Economic Management Team. The Central Bank and the Finance Ministry have constitutional powers and obligations to pursue monetary and fiscal policies. The Economic Management Team thus becomes an agency that helps to deliver party manifesto items, as the advisories of the team cannot have any influence on the sectoral preferences of the Finance Ministry or the Central Bank of Ghana.

The sound management of the economy and its various sectors should be the responsibility of the National Development Planning Commission, whose team includes the Minister responsible for finance, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, the Government Statistician, and other stakeholders. The National Development Planning Commission is compelled by law to “monitor, evaluate, and coordinate development policies, programs, and projects (Article 87 (2) (e)).

Therefore, the Economic Management Team that is being used by various governments in Ghana only focus on dealing with sector-specific challenges in implementing government policies. The Economic Management Team also serves as a platform for collaboration and coordination among different ministries and agencies.

The complexities of economic management require a cohesive approach, but the Economic Management Team cannot provide a mechanism for aligning the objectives and functions of the various agencies that must deal with the management of the economy. The team cannot deal with ways of avoiding policy inconsistencies and ensuring that the government’s economic agenda is eventually achieved.

There are key aspects of economic management that the EMT does not have statutory control over. It is difficult for the team to balance competing economic priorities. The EMT cannot initiate specific economic policies to tackle inflation, exchange rate crisis, unemployment, and other development challenges directly.

There are obvious reasons that make the Economic Management Team irrelevant. The National Development Planning Commission has a constitutional function to manage the economy of Ghana and should therefore be used in place of the Economic Management Team.

Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast

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