Economist and dean at the University of Cape Coast School of Business, Prof John Gatsi, has called on Ghanaians to revise their personal budgets in a bid to survive in the current economic state of the country.
According to him, it is important for households and individuals to adhere to strict financial plan in order to live comfortably. He revealed that Ghanaians must prioritize their expenditure as that will ensure their expenditure is efficient.
Prof Gatsi however stated that although some may argue that what they’re being asked to prioritize is not even enough, he noted that it is better for them to do so than be “fighting that your income is not enough”.
He emphasized that government under the grand scheme of things, is supposed to “cushion” Ghanaians during crisis. Nonetheless, he stated that since that isn’t the case, individuals need “to take everything in your own hands to plan and ensure you achieve efficiency at least”.
“This is the time all of us must revise our personal budget. There are people who have a lifestyle that they don’t want to change even in crisis times and that is not correct…
“The appeal is that we need to revise our lifestyle, we need to revise our budget. When we do that, the same principle we are asking government to adopt will apply to us…”Prof John Gatsi
On the part of government, Prof Gatsi highlighted that the principles in crisis time are that government needs to “up” its game in efficient spending which comes with prioritizing expenditure. To this end, he expressed that it is vital for Ghanaians to keep a keen eye on “every activity of government”.
“So, we need to come to the conclusion we have now appreciated what we call efficient spending and that is what I beg to say is a problem and that must be addressed.”Prof John Gatsi
Speaking on the theme: ‘Thriving during economic turbulence’, today, September 19, 2023, Prof Gatsi revealed that to understand where government is at currently, there is the need to understand the “curvature of the business circle”. By this, he explained that the curvature underscores points in time that the country goes through a “boom, recession and you rise up again”.
“Clearly, where we are today, we are in turbulence but there are expectations that we’ll be out. But that expectation depends on two things – whether we are able to identify the challenges we face correctly and proffer the right solution to them, and whether we are also able to identify the opportunities that come with the challenges or the turbulence we face today.”Prof John Gatsi
Furthermore, Prof Gatsi indicated that despite the fact that government isn’t in the best of places economically, if it is able to apply strategies to dealing with the challenges, then there’ll be an outcome that will help all and sundry, and that outcome is what the country needs to sustain.
“So, yes, we are in turbulence, but there’s every opportunity and expectation we’ll be out of that turbulence, but we must devise policies and strategies that will help us come out of that.”Prof John Gatsi
Resolving Ghana’s economic problems
Commenting on whether government is on the right path with respect to its policy implementations in reviving the economy, Prof Gatsi reckoned that government can do better. He maintained that on “one breath we’re on the right path and on the other hand no”.
Citing the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, he stated that the programme was instituted to clean the books of government so that the debt burden could be lessened by allowing other participants in the space to sacrifice.
However, he noted that as to whether that is enough to take the country out of the economic quagmire is another question which must be answered.
“As I see, it [DDEP] is not enough to take us to where we are going, and that is why we are not surprised to see the back and forth about the debt exchange programme. Now, go to mobilizing more revenue – if you are not careful in attempt to enhance revenue, you’re likely to put much pressure on the revenue institution.
“The public and the business community will see it as harassment, and that will bring about what we call counterproductive nature of taxes. So, the taxes will not come the way you expect them.”Prof John Gatsi
Moreover, Prof Gatsi emphasized that government must adjust itself in terms of strategies to find the middle ground that will benefit both government and businesses.
“So, you can’t have a policy focusing only on revenue, you must have a policy that focuses on getting revenue and nurturing the entities that provide the revenue, and that is the difficulty we are facing now.”Prof John Gatsi