Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Expect more hardship – Economist tell Ghanaians

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

An economist at the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of University of Ghana has said Ghanaians should prepare for more hardship..

Professor Felix Ankomah Asante alerted that, the times ahead will be hard and Ghanaians should prepare for what is coming.

This follows the prediction by ISSER that, the cedi will further depreciate against the dollar in 2018.

“It’s expected that the cedi will depreciate slightly more than the 2017 levels because of the current rise in interest rate in the US market and the gradual increase in the proportion of foreigners holding Ghana’s domestic bonds,” ISSER Director, Prof. Asante indicated last week.

The cedi in May this year, according to the Central Bank governor, gained 0.02 percent against the dollar then, compared to a depreciation of 0.97 percent in the same period in 2017.

Since then, however, the cedi has recorded massive losses against the dollar.

Prof Asante noted that, the shortfalls in revenue generation in the country coupled with some policies will heighten the standard of living for some time despite the rebasing of the economy.

“When you were asking about things going to be hard, yes, things will be hard. Today crude is aroundUS$80 per barrel. Fuel will go up, and it means food prices will go up… transport will go up and salary will not be enough. It will also mean people will not be buying things and if people are not buying things, VAT will be affected and social projects will suffer.” he explained.

He called on the government to expand the tax net, calling on citizens to fulfill their tax obligations to the government.

“When we evade taxes, it is the government that suffers… Also, a lot of people are doing business in Ghana without paying taxes. They are in the informal sector. We have to widen the tax net,” he said.

Consequently, the Finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has asked Ghanaians to sacrifice as the economy faces difficult times.

The finance minister conceded to the majority of Ghanaians that, “times are difficult but we need to look beyond today to get to where we want to get to”.

“The value that we are creating is important”, he told the congregants and explained beneficiaries of the education policy have shot up from 90,000 to 180,000 students within two years of implementation.

“What does that mean? It means we are having to go to sacrifice…when we are investing in our children it is greater than the sacrifices we may be having”, he said.

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