You can’t turn an economy around through hope and wishes – Sydney Casely-Hayford

Financial analyst, Sydney Casely-Hayford says the wounds in Ghana’s economy are too deep to be healed in nine months or even five years.

He was responding to the President John Mahama’s assurance that this year is a turn-around year for the country’s ailing economy.

Speaking at this year’s May Day celebrations at the Independence Square, the president said even though things were tough, government’s measures to resuscitate the economy were having the desired effect.

But speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, Mr. Casely-Hayford, said managers of the economy ought to be measured and realistic in their expectations.

“You cannot turn an economy around, in the situation that [Ghana’s] economy is, just by wishing of hoping that it will happen,” he stated.

According to him, in spite of the steps such as increases in VAT rates and removal of fuel subsidies, taken by government to generate more revenue, “the pit is too deep.”

He said last year (2013) alone government’s quarterly revenue shortfalls was in excess of one billion cedis.

This meant that government spent more than a billion cedis every quarter than it raised, he argued.

“You therefore at the end of 2013, have a deficit of [close to] nine billion cedis to fight…most of it is because you haven’t paid some suppliers and you haven’t been able to meet some obligations and commitments which you have made so you are going to carry all that into the following year and you have to try and fix that. The 2014 budget itself planned that there will be a deficit so you are carrying forward a deficit from 2013 and you are planning a deficit in 2014,” he noted.

This seemingly bleak situation, he said, has been exacerbated by low gold and cocoa prices on the international market.

In the midst of these, promising to turn the economy around in 2014 is an unrealistic projection, Mr. Casely-Hayford asserted.

The only way to turn the economy around in nine months, he said, “is to forge the micro-economic indicators and make it look like it is working but it is not working.”

He is convinced it will take a minimum of five years and the disciplined implementation of well-tailored policies to fix the defects in the economy.

But the economic managers must tame their desire to make unrealistic promises and complain about pessimism when citizens say that things are not going well, he insisted.

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