Ghana @66: Time to recommit to truth, selfless leadership amid biting economic challenges

Ghana economic challenges

Ghana’s economic challenges can indeed be attributed to a number of factors, including reckless spending, corruption and poor leadership.

One of the key challenges facing the country is high levels of public debt, which has been exacerbated by a history of reckless spending and poor fiscal management. This has led to a situation where the government is struggling to pay its debts and maintain basic public services.

Given the considerable deterioration, the government undertook an internal Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA), which defined public debt to include public, publicly guaranteed debt of the central government, partial non-guaranteed debt of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and expenditure arrears.

The analysis revealed that public debt exceeded 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with debt servicing accounted for more than half of total government revenues and almost 70 percent of tax revenues, the Minister Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said last month when he addressed Parliament on the country’s domestic debt exchange programme (DDEP).

Corruption is also a significant problem in the country, with a number of high-profile corruption scandals in recent years. These cases have greatly undermined public trust in government as well as negative impacts on the country’s economic development.

Ghana placed 72nd in the 2022 edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The report released by Transparency International (TI) earlier this year saw Ghana score 43 out of a total of 100. This means the country has not made any progress on the CPI score of 43 for the past three years. The CPI score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).

The report highlighted the need to address the canker as “corruption is a major contributor to the country’s current economic woes as evinced by several reports including that of the Auditor General’s report on Government of Ghana’s COVID-19 expenditure.”

Chairperson for Transparency International, Delia Ferreira Rubio, said the canker “made our world a more dangerous place.” He added that: “As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict – and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work – rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few.”

Additionally, poor leadership and governance have contributed to Ghana’s economic challenges. Lack of political will to implement much-needed reforms, as well as a failure to create an enabling environment for economic growth and development are among the real challenges facing the country.

Hopelessness, despondency and resilience

As Ghana celebrates its 66th anniversary as an independent nation, the issue of youth unemployment remains a major concern, leaving many feeling despondent, frustrated and hopeless about their future prospects.

The frustration and despondency felt by many Ghanaians, particularly the youth, is understandable given these challenges. However, it is important to remember that Ghana has a rich history of resilience and innovation, and that there are opportunities for growth and development even in difficult times.

And to address the economic challenges facing the country, leaders and stakeholders must work together to create policies and programmes that promote economic growth, create jobs, and support the development of small and medium-sized businesses. This includes investing in key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and technology, and creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Additionally, it is important to prioritise education and skills development to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed in the modern economy. By doing so, Ghana can overcome its current economic challenges and build a more prosperous and inclusive future for all its citizens.

Reflects, recommit to integrity

Ghana’s 66th Independence Anniversary is an important opportunity for the country to reflect on its progress over the past decades and to recommit to the principles and values that underpin its freedom.

As Ghana celebrates its independence, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by the country’s founding fathers and the struggles that were endured to achieve self-rule. It is also important to recognise the progress that has been made since then, including political stability, economic growth, and improvements in social welfare, despite the current struggles.

To address the current challenges, Ghanaian leaders and stakeholders must work together to create policies and programmes that promote fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability. This includes implementing reforms to improve public financial management and reduce corruption, as well as creating an enabling environment for business and investment.

It is also important to invest in education and skills development to equip Ghanaian youth with the tools they need to succeed in the modern economy, and to prioritize the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Finally, leaders must prioritise good governance and ethical leadership to rebuild public trust in government and create a more sustainable and prosperous future for all Ghanaians. By doing so, Ghana can overcome its economic challenges and achieve its goal of becoming a leading economy in the region and the continent.

As succinctly put by the revered Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, in his book – The Trouble with Nigeria – “Nigeria is where God in His infinite wisdom chose to plant me. Therefore, I don’t consider that I have any right to seek out a more comfortable corner of the world which someone else’s intelligence and labour have tidied up. I know enough history to realize that civilisation does not fall down from the sky; it has always been the result of people’s toil and sweat, the fruit of their longing for order and justice under brave and enlightened leaders.

“And, I also believe that, hopeless as she may seem today, Nigeria is absolutely not beyond redemption. Critical, yes, but not entirely hopeless. But every single day of continued neglect brings her ever to the brink of the abyss.”

Like Nigeria, the above applies to Ghana as she celebrates her 66th year anniversary. To pull her back and turn her around is clearly beyond “contrivance of mediocre leadership,” in Achebe’s view.

God Bless Our Home Land!

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