> Economy Still Robust — World Bank, Others Declare As Baah Wiredu Honoured
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have said that Ghana's economy is still robust and can withstand any likely difficulties from the fallout of the world economic crisis.
The three institutions, however, stressed the need for the country to focus more on domestic revenue mobilisation.
At the launch of the Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Finance and Economic Journalist of the Year Award and economic seminar series in Accra the institutions called for more expenditure control in government business.
The Country Director of the World Bank, Mr Ishac Diwan, said the world financial crisis was likely to threaten development in most emerging economies.
He cautioned that the fall in commodity prices would have a negative impact on the country's economy and, therefore, called for an alternative and more proactive way of mobilising local resources for the economy.
The Resident Representative of the IMF, Mr Arnold McIntyre, said the good news for Ghana was that the country was not as exposed as some Eastern European countries, most of whose economies were linked to those of the developed nations.
He added that the flow of foreign direct investments would slow as a result of the credit crisis because some foreign business partners might fail to get access to funding to complete agreed deals.
Mr McIntyre also said remittances from the Diaspora would decline because of likely economic contraction and unemployment in the industrialised economies.
He said Ghana was likely to experience a reduction in exports, which would result in lower income by 2009.
The Country Manager of the IFC, Imoni Akpofure, said the best Ghana could do in the midst of the global crisis was to prepare for any negative effects, adding that what experts had been able to do so far was guess what would happen next.
She said the real problem in Ghana was the absence of domestic and global credit for small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), adding that although Ghana had been insulated from the crisis, banks were no longer prepared to risk lending to new companies.
International donors, she said, maintained that they would honour their commitments but it remained to be seen how long that would continue as their economies shrank.
The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said the ministry had put in place measures to cushion the economy until 2010 when the expected oil revenue would begin to flow.
He said those measures included reducing government expenditure and domestic borrowing and focusing on domestic resource mobilisation.
The minister said while the country should cut spending by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), it also had to maintain investment in infrastructural projects.
He concluded that politicians must decide between investing, for example, in education, and offering tax cuts, saying it was up to Ghanaians to choose what to prioritise.
Announcing the Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Finance and Economic Journalist of the Year award, Mr Diwan and the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr Ransford Tetteh, said the award was in recognition of innovation and excellence in finance and economic journalism.
The chairperson, Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, said the late minister was liked and admired by all and that many had a lot of stories to tell about the late minister.
In his goodwill statement, Mr Tetteh said the award would lay the foundation for good economic journalism in the country.
“The late Baah-Wiredu was willing to speak to any journalist at any time and also made sure that he spoke to the understanding of the general public,” Mr Tetteh stated, adding, “This made him one of the finest ministers of our time.”
Storyy MacLiberty Misrowoda
& Kesewa Hennessy
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