Business General

‘There is no question that things are difficult’ – Ofori-Atta admits

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has admitted that things are difficult under prevailing economic conditions.

He explains that the hard times are also not unique to Ghana alone but rather a global occurrence that has been brought on by the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview on the Hard Truth show on Accra-based Joy News, Ofori-Atta also cited the cost of crude oil and inflationary spikes as indicators of a global downturn not unique to Ghana.

“Let’s acknowledge that there is no question that things are difficult, but things are difficult globally. And I am sure if you are reading, you know whether it is the US, the UK or wherever, I mean inflation has increased about four-fold.

“The truth of the matter is that when you have US$70 per barrel crude and goes as high as 133 and is now averaging about 105, it is problematic. When our import content is much higher than our neighbours, that is problematic,” he submitted.

Asked about who to blame for the economic downturn, Ofori-Atta said it was a structural problem more than anything else, “How can that be anybody’s fault when it is structural and the question is how can you change the structural element within a certain period?”

He also defended the banking sector cleanup stating that doing so saved the banking system from collapse. He cited the introduction of Consolidated Bank Ghana as a way the government still ensured that a local solution had been proffered to the issue.

“We created CBG and put all of them in there,” he lamented the situation where people just opened banks without following rules and regulations, “we have to be in a nation of rules…Those are hard decisions (we took),” he stressed.

Ghana on July 1 announced it was approaching the Washington-based outfit for a rescue programme.

An IMF team has since had initial contact with major stakeholders during a one-week visit to Accra between July 6 – 13, 2022.

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