ALHASSAN ANDANI, CEO of Stanbic Bank, says the challenges posed by Covid-19 should engineer a new policy that will reduce Ghana’s reliance on imports, particularly from China.
According to him, Ghana can improve agriculture production and limit its export by looking at the opportunity to boost domestic production and consumption of some food commodities.
Ghana’s imports from China have suffered a dip due to restrictions on global travel as a measure to control the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Many companies are also struggling to procure goods and supplies from global suppliers.
Some goods are generally in short supply in Ghana or are being sold at higher prices due to a reduction in Chinese imports.
Speaking at a webinar organized by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries on strategies for business survival and growth, Mr. Andani said Ghana must speed up its industrialization efforts to cushion the country from external shocks when situations like Covid-19 emerged.
“For example, most of our import trade that was coming from Asia, China, has had to suffer significant setbacks because of the disruption in global supply chains. So, what kind of alternatives will be available and this is the kind of conversation we will want to pick up with the National Chamber for Commerce and Industry and other industry players to see how we can diversify our economy away from a huge reliance on Asia and China generally,” he said.
The webinar was on the theme, “Covid-19, financing options to stimulate local production.”
Already, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that the fight against the novel coronavirus could cost Ghana about GH¢9.5 billion, pushing the country’s budget deficit to about 6.5 per cent.
Ghana’s main exports are gold, cocoa beans and timber products. Others include tuna, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds and horticulture.
Already, a lecturer with the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, Dr. Priscilla Twumasi-Baffour, has appealed to government to reduce the continued dependence on commodity exports and seek diversification strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of price volatility on the international market post Covid-19.
According to her, it is time government comes up with strategic ways to develop domestic production and formulate government policies to safeguard the economy in unpredictable circumstances.