General News of Saturday, 29 July 2017
A former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Professor Kwesi Botchwey, has advised current managers of the Ghanaian economy to be careful of ‘demons’ who hover around public policy lapses and destroy fiscal consolidation.
He was speaking at the launch of a 320-page book titled “Africa in Search of Prosperity- Ishmael Yamson’s Essays on Development Economics, Business, Finance and Economic Growth” in Accra.
The book was launched by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. Edited by Mr Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a visiting Associate Professor and Director of the Wole Soyinka Foundation at the University of Johannesburg, and Prof. Bill Buenar Puplampu, the Vice Chancellor of Central University in Accra. The book has two forewords from Lynda Baroness Chalker of Wallasey, former British Minister for Africa, British and the Commonwealth Office and Doug Baillie, former President of Unilever Africa.
The collection of 30 essays is mainly on economics and business development with two other sections on Education and Impact on Development and Faith and Development.
Dr Botchwey recounted the challenges he used to face during his era as the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the 1980s managing the economy that was under recovery in the period of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) under the Rawlings regime.
He explained he had to deal with inflation which was more than 100 per cent, national accounting not done for three years and an exchange rate crisis.
In spite of the challenges, he said, he worked to bring the country’s economy back on track.
The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo spoke of the current economic management team led by the Vice President, Dr Mahamdu Bawumia and said the team was thinking outside the box because with a debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of more than 70 per cent, it had become difficult for Ghana to borrow under the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr Osafo-Maafo, who was former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning under the Kufuor administration, said lessons from the book were so apt to contemporary challenges, including the difficulty in accessing aid.
Donors’ priorities and increasingly what they want their money to be used for were at variance with the government’s priorities, he said, adding that growing the economy and reaping its benefits was the best option out.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the book was of such public policy importance that consultation would be made with the leadership of Parliament for adaptation as a manual to guide discussions in the House.