General News of Friday, 23 January 2015
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Ms. Sun Baohong has said the current economic challenges confronting Ghana are not peculiar to the West African country.
“We all agree that Ghana faces some economic challenges, but so does China and so do many countries in this world,” Baohong said at the 3rd edition of the Ghana economic outlook and business strategy conference of 2015 held in Accra Wednesday on the theme: “Diversifying Ghana’s economy through sustained export trade.”
“The challenges Ghana faces are also universal among developing countries,” she stressed.
Buttressing her point with examples, the Chinese Ambassador said many countries, decades after gaining independence, are still reliant on their former colonial masters for economic assistance, thus robbing them of their economic independence.
Ghana is currently reeling under some economic difficulties, particularly with energy.
The young oil producer is unable to meet its current energy needs due to a shortfall in gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline in Nigeria to power thermal plants across the country.
State power producer Volta River Authority (VRA) is therefore unable to produce enough energy for domestic and industrial consumption, a situation which has led to a protracted load management programme.
About 540 Megawatts of power is being shed. It has plunged Industry into incurring additional cost of production while domestic consumers are also being inconvenienced.
Last year, Ghana’s currency, Cedi, fell in value against the Dollar, by almost 40 percent in the first three-quarters. It gained marginal stability in the last quarter after an infusion of $2.7 billion into the economy through a $1-billion Eurobond instrument which was oversubscribed as well as a $1.7-bllion syndicated loan from Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod).
President John Mahama recently told Ghanaians in Germany, while there for a two-day state visit that the fall in prices of primary commodities – cocoa, gold, and recently oil – on the international market, greatly affected Ghana’s revenue drive, causing the country to lose about $1.5 billion last year.
He also said the country will lose $500 million this year as a result of the sharp fall in the price of oil on the international market. A barrel of crude currently sells at $49.