Ghana can sustain economic growth — ISSER
Ghana’s short-term economic outlook is positive, with growth projected at eight per cent in 2013, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) has predicted.
It said backed by strong investment in the oil and gas sectors, public infrastructure, favourable commodity prices and improved macroeconomic management, “Ghana can sustain continuous economic growth well into the future”.
“In spite of these, unemployment remains a key challenge and opportunities for employment in the industrial sector remain limited and highly specialised,” ISSER noted in its State of the Ghanaian Economy Report (SGER), 2012, which was launched in Accra yesterday.
For the past 22 years, ISSER has been releasing the SGER annually with the view to diagnosing the health of the Ghanaian economy for the benefit of the government, corporate institutions, academia and other relevant stakeholders of the economy.
National development strategy
Looking at the broader development of the country, the report said the next four-year development strategy of the country – the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) – beginning 2014, should focus on ensuring rapid infrastructure and human development, as well as the application of science, technology and innovation to enhance employment creation and income-earning opportunities for rapid and sustainable development.
There is also the need for policies of inclusive growth with the aim of ensuring sustainable economic growth and social cohesion.
“In addition, it is important to focus on the equitable participation of females, the youth and persons with disability in the economic growth process in order to reduce the growing inequality associated with growth and development efforts,” the report said.
It further stressed the need to pursue an employment-centred growth economy that would ensure that employment expanded along with production and that the benefits of growth were widely shared through better job opportunities and enhanced incomes, especially for the growing unemployed youth.
It also called for the sustainable exploitation of the country’s natural resource endowments in agriculture, minerals, oil and gas, as well as strategic investments in human capital, infrastructure, science and technology.
Cocoa and fiscal policy
The report said despite the production of oil, the composition of the country’s trade continued to be dominated by the primary commodity exports, gold and cocoa.
On the fiscal economy, the report stressed the need for prudent management of government resources and increased effort to mobilise revenue through an increased tax base “as major pathways to improve the huge budget deficit in 2012”.
According ISSER’s SGER, the country’s 7.2 per cent economic growth in 2012 was 7.2 percentage points lower than the 2011 growth and 2.2 percentage points lower than the target for 2012.
The Director of ISSER, Professor Felix Asante, who presented the report, said with the increasing trend of discretionary expenditure, there was the need to take a critical look at demands for salary increment vis-à-vis productivity.
The Minister for Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, expressed the hope that Ghana would not fall victim to the ‘Dutch Disease’, having begun commercial oil production.
The ‘Dutch Disease’ is the economic paradigm in which countries that begin commercial oil production build their economies around the oil sector, to the neglect of hitherto potent sectors that drove the economy.
By Kofi Yeboah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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