Inflation unmasked: urgent measures needed for economic resilience

July PM data for Ghana pointed to a sixth successive monthly deterioration in business conditions as new orders and output fell once again.
File photo: JAFEPX Makola Market and street scene, downtown Accra, Ghana

By Prof. Samuel Lartey ([email protected])

Inflation, the persistent rise in prices of goods and services, significantly influences economic behaviors, often turning potential investors into immediate consumers and importers rather than producers. In Ghana, this shift is particularly pronounced, driven by the actions and inactions of the government and economic managers.

This feature delves into how these dynamics are shrinking the Ghanaian economy and offers a call to action for policymakers to reverse this trend. Inflation is more than just a statistical measure; it is a force that shapes the financial decisions of individuals and businesses alike. In Ghana, where inflation rates have been volatile, the effects are palpable.

The rising cost of living forces many Ghanaians to spend now rather than save or invest, leading to a consumption-driven economy. This behavior not only affects personal finances but also has broader economic implications, including increased import dependency and reduced local production. By examining the current situation through the lens of “Second Chance,” we can identify actionable strategies to foster a more investment-oriented and sustainable economic environment.

The Immediate Consumption Imperative

Inflation diminishes the purchasing power of money over time, prompting individuals to prioritize spending over saving and investing. In Ghana, this behavior is evident in the rush to purchase goods and services today, driven by the fear that prices will be significantly higher tomorrow. This immediate consumption imperative is worsened by several factors:

  1. Monetary Policy Mismanagement:

Effective monetary policy is crucial for maintaining economic stability and controlling inflation. However, mismanagement in this area can significantly affect the economy. In Ghana, ineffective monetary policies have contributed to persistent inflation. This issue stems from the failure to adequately control the money supply and interest rates, leading to various economic problems.

When the central bank prints more money than the economy can absorb, it leads to an oversupply of currency. This reduces the value of money, causing prices to rise.  Also, allowing easy access to credit without proper regulatory oversight can lead to excessive borrowing and spending, further increasing the money supply and fueling inflation. Where frequently experience interest rate hikes aimed to subdue inflation. It must be stated that in most instances, when interest rates are raised too quickly or too high, it can stifle economic growth, leading to reduced investment and higher costs for borrowers, which can also have inflationary effects.

These inflationary shockwaves have catastrophic economic consequences. When inflation is high and interest rates are low, the real return on savings diminishes. This discourages people from saving, as their money loses value over time. With reduced incentives to save, consumers may increase their spending, adding further pressure on prices.

Unpredictable or high interest rates make borrowing more expensive for businesses and individuals, reducing investments in productive activities. Persistent inflation creates uncertainty in the economy, making investors hesitant to commit long-term capital, which can slow down economic growth and development.

  1. Fiscal Policy Challenges:

High government spending in Ghana, without corresponding increases in revenue, leads to significant budget deficits. These deficits are often financed through borrowing, which contributes to rising inflation. The increased borrowing injects more money into the economy, exacerbating inflationary pressures and further eroding the value of money. This cycle of high spending, borrowing, and inflation highlights the need for balanced fiscal policies to ensure economic stability and sustainable growth.

  1. Regulatory Inconsistencies:

Unpredictable regulations in Ghana create an unstable business environment, which discourages long-term investments. This uncertainty leads businesses and individuals to focus on short-term gains rather than sustainable growth. The lack of a stable regulatory framework undermines investor confidence, hampers economic development, and prevents the economy from achieving its full potential. Establishing consistent and transparent regulations is essential to fostering a favorable investment climate and encouraging long-term economic planning.

  1. Import Dependency:

Policies in Ghana that fail to promote local production and manufacturing contribute to a heavy reliance on imports. As inflation drives up the cost of imports, the economy becomes more focused on importing goods rather than producing them locally. This dependency on expensive imports exacerbates economic shrinkage, undermining local industries and reducing job opportunities. To reverse this trend, it is essential to implement policies that support and incentivize local production, thereby fostering economic growth and resilience.

A Second Chance for Ghana’s Economic Managers

Ghana’s Economic Managers could consider adopting Balanced Monetary Policies. They should regularly enhance the measures used in controlling the money supply, such as open market operations and adjusting reserve requirements for banks. There is no gain in saying that in practice they carefully calibrate interest rates to balance the need for economic growth for the control of inflation. This can be improved to suit the peculiar turbulence in our economic situation. Some of the critical measures they could consider may include monitoring inflation trends and adjusting rates accordingly.

Ensure that the central bank operates independently of political influences, allowing it to make decisions based on economic conditions rather than political expediency. Improve transparency in monetary policy decisions and communicate clearly with the public to manage expectations and build confidence in the central bank’s actions.

The Central bank must implement stricter regulations on credit issuance to prevent excessive borrowing and spending that can lead to inflationary pressures. Monitor and manage systemic risks in the financial sector to ensure stability and prevent crises that can exacerbate inflation.

Monetary policy mismanagement is a critical factor contributing to persistent inflation in Ghana. By addressing the failures in controlling the money supply and interest rates, economic managers can create a more stable economic environment. Implementing balanced monetary policies, enhancing central bank independence, and strengthening financial sector regulation are essential steps towards achieving sustainable economic growth and reducing inflation. Ineffective monetary policies contribute to persistent inflation. Failure to control the money supply and interest rates exacerbates the problem, reducing the incentive to save and invest.

This feature provides additional valuable insights that can help Ghana navigate these challenges. Key among them include:

  1. Financial Education:

Emphasizing financial literacy can empower Ghanaians to make informed decisions about savings and investments, countering the impulse to consume immediately.

  1. Asset Acquisition:

Encouraging investment in income-generating assets can protect against inflation. Real estate, stocks, and local businesses are viable options that can promote economic stability.

  1. Mindset Shift:

Promoting a mindset shift from short-term consumption to long-term wealth building is crucial. This shift can help Ghanaians focus on sustainable financial strategies rather than immediate spending.

Social Perceptions and Behavioral Shifts

Inflation not only affects economic decisions but also shapes social perceptions and behaviors:

  1. Distrust in Financial Systems:

Persistent inflation can erode trust in financial institutions and government policies. Ghanaians may become skeptical of the ability to manage economic challenges effectively.

  1. Wealth Inequality:

Inflation can exacerbate wealth inequality. Those with assets that appreciate with inflation may see their wealth grow, while those reliant on fixed incomes or cash savings may struggle.

  1. Consumer Anxiety:

The anticipation of higher prices can lead to a sense of urgency and anxiety among consumers. This behavior can result in hoarding, speculative buying, and a general sense of economic insecurity.


The Ghanaian economic managers must recognize their role in fostering a consumption-driven economy and take decisive actions to reverse this trend. There is no gain in saying that Inflation’s impact on consumer behavior and investment is profound, particularly in Ghana. The immediate consumption imperative, driven by inflation, undermines savings and investment, fosters import dependency, and hampers economic growth.

The actions and inactions of the Ghanaian government and economic managers play a crucial role in this dynamic. By drawing on lessons from this feature, Ghana can develop strategies to navigate these challenges, promoting financial literacy, asset acquisition, and a long-term investment mindset. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort to implement effective policies and foster a stable economic environment, ensuring sustainable growth and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

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