Editorial: President to address the nation; better late than never

The Ghanaian economy, like its peers across the world, is facing huge turmoil. Projections from economic analysts do not give any hints of immediate hope, as they fear further contractions.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook, released last week forecasts that global economic growth will slow from 3.2 percent this year to 2.7 percent next year.

The outlook said countries accounting for about a third of the global economy are estimated to have a two-quarter contraction in real gross domestic product this year or next.

The outlook is also fraught with uncertainty, as the IMF estimates that there is a one-in-four probability that global growth will fall below 2 percent next year and that there is a likelihood of 10 percent to 15 percent that it will drop below 1 percent.

In Ghana, rapid growth halted post 2019, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy has known no peace thereafter, with economic analysts trying to agree to disagree on whether the economic crisis is domestic or exogenous.

The resultant inflation over the last few months has been driving people leaving the country into an abyss. Business owners complain about capital losses, while buyers complain about daily exorbitant price increases. The currency is still in the ring with the dollar, receiving heavy punches at a time the government is yet to finalise a programme with the IMF for policy credibility.

We heard the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, say yesterday that the President is expected to address the nation this Sunday.

It is welcome news, though we observe that the same is long overdue. To us, the President should have formally addressed the nation on the economic challenges sometime last month to calm nerves because there is tension in the country.

During the dark days of COVID-19, the President’s regular addresses, which had the tag “Fellow Ghanaians,” were not vaccines or cures for the virus in itself but gave some comfort and assured the nation that things would get better.

We recall a statement he made which attracted the world’s attention, that “we know how to bring the economy back. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.”

This statement in particular reminded the world that the economy could not be protected at the expense of the lives of the people. Lives have been saved as the COVID-19 situation has been brought under control.

But while working to bring back the economy, it is prudent that the president talks to the people and we dare say this address is long overdue. Ghanaians will want to feel that there is a leader who appreciates the current situation and proffers hope, not the rather loud silence.

We are also informed of marathon meetings by government which started yesterday through to Saturday and culminating in the President’s address on Sunday.

The Economic Management Team is currently meeting, deliberating on some recommendations on how to save the economy. They will brief the Cabinet, which is also meeting from Thursday to Saturday. During that meeting, the Minister of Finance will provide an update to Cabinet on the status of the IMF negotiations.

The Bank of Ghana, on the other hand, is also meeting bankers and forex operators tomorrow to discuss measures to arrest the currency’s downfall.

We find these meetings very necessary. However, we hope it will not be business as usual. The economy, for want of a better word, is in a coma and so this is not the time to shillyshally with the living conditions of the citizens.

Ghanaians cannot wait to hear you speak, Mr. President, but please prove in your address that you appreciate their condition and assure them of realistic measures to save the day. Better late than never.


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