An Economist, Dr. Lord Mensah has stated that the recent ministerial reshuffling will have dire consequences on policy implementation in the country. According to him, the new ministers will have to come along with their own approaches of doing things in the various ministries. And as such, this will affect the positive results some of the government’s policies were yielding.
He pointed out that the ministerial reshuffling is likely to have a serious policy discontinuity which will affect the effective implementation of policies.
“The changes that we made are somehow drastic for an economy that is picking up from COVID. I hope that if we keep the structure the same, if we keep the policy the same, we should be able to see the light at the end of the day”.
However, he lauded the government’s policy structure as a whole and more especially in handling the pandemic. He explained that if the government focuses its policy without any re-direction, then things will get much better going forward.
Also, Dr. Mensah stated that government’s policy played a significant role in the performance of the economy in the last quarter of 2020. The agriculture sector was the major performing sector where the crop sub-sector performed very well.
“If you take agriculture, which is one of the key expanding sectors, it has to do with policy orientation”.
Services sector picking up
Dr. Mensah pointed out that based on the data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the services sector is picking up gradually. He explained that the services sector normally thrives on human movement.
“I always say the Ghanaian economy without human movement is quite difficult to see the true picture of the economy”.
The services sector grew by 4.6% in Q4 2020. This was as a result of the expansion in the real estate sector and the IT sub-sector. Consequently, Dr. Mensah pointed out that he was not surprised with the performance of the IT sector. This was because during the lockdown, “it was only IT that we can communicate. It wouldn’t be surprised to see IT taking the lead in driving an economy like Ghana”.
Besides, he indicated that even in Q4 2020, schools were still running online courses which also fed into the IT sector. He further explained that all the students and lectures used data for their daily activities. Adding that even at the beginning of the Q2 2021 schools are still running online courses.
Furthermore, he indicated that the transportation sub-sector has also been affected due to restrictions on movement. As such, the sub-sector could not perform as it had done formerly. According to him, the data perfectly reflected what transpired in the fourth quarter of 2020.
With regards to prospects for the economy, Dr. Mensah said “the prospects look good”. He cited the Vaccination exercise as something that will give a boost to economic activity. He pointed out that the first dose of the vaccination gave a boost to movement in the economy. According to him, the second dose of the vaccines will further boost the confidence of people to do their businesses. Policy implementation Policy implementation
Moreover, he pointed out that the election cycle last year was exceptional. This was because government expenditure went up substantially as a result of the pandemic. He indicated that since it was an election year, it was definite that the government was going to spend. He, however, lamented that the government spent on certain projects which wouldn’t bring much economic returns to the nation. These are projects, he believed, could have been deferred.
“These two streams of expenditure hit the economy very well”.
Still speaking on government’s policy, he pointed out that the government will need to use another approach in the fight against galamsey. According to him, the field approach of tackling galamsey will not necessarily end the menace.
“You can stop galamsey from our borders. You can stop galamsey from the banking hall”.
He indicated that there are funds going into the purchase of mercury and other equipment. As such, he called for a ban on the importation of mercury so as to reduce the illegal mining activities in the country. He pointed out that government can ensure that machines imported into the country are channeled into the agriculture sector instead of small scale mining. He urged the government to re-look at the approach it is using to fight illegal mining.
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