Although Nana Akufo-Addo has taken various steps to deal with the current economic crisis, Ghanaians are still reeling under the pressures of inflation, currency depreciation and high cost of living. YEN.com.gh compiles a list of some of the five steps the president and his appointees have adopted to improve the situation.
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Ghana's economic crisis started shortly after the 2020 elections, but by April 2022 it was biting hard. And by October 2022, it was wreaking havoc.
Criticisms and wailings by the members of the public on radio, TV and social media about the situation and the government's silence compelled president Nana Akufo-Addo to deliver the infamous "sika mpe dede" (money hates noise) speech in which he admitted Ghana was in a crisis.
By that time, Ghana had belatedly applied for a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid record inflation, a rapidly depreciating cedi, and high public debt.
In that address, the president promised that his administration was keen on returning Ghana to the glory days with some actions he has taken.
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YEN.com.gh compiles a short list of some of the actions the Nana Akufo-Addo administration has taken to tackle the debilitating economic crisis. While some of the actions have been explicitly announced, others are the outcome of diligent observation.
1. Request for a $ 3 billion loan from the IMF
Nana Akufo-Addo explained during his October 2022 address on the economic crisis that the $3 billion bailout application in July 2022 was part of well-thought-out decisions to deal with the myriad of economic problems Ghana is facing.
The president explained that the IMF cash will repair and restore Ghana's balance of payments in the short term. He also said the bailout move will be complemented by structural changes in the medium and long term to construct "a resilient, robust economy".
Ghana has so far reached a staff-level agreement for the loan, pending approval by the board before the money is released in tranches. It is not very certain where Ghana is currently at on that loan journey.
2. Clamp down on activities of forex traders on the black market
Closely linked to the bailout move is what the president described as an "enhanced supervisory action" by the Bank of Ghana in the forex bureau markets.
Akufo-Addo promised that all illegal forex traders who were quoting unapproved rates on the black market would be flushed out. Indeed there were reports about swoops in the slums of the central business district of Accra where black market operators are known to hide.
This action notwithstanding, the cedi has lost more than 50% of its value to the US dollar from April 2022 till date (January 2023).
Because currency depreciation worsens inflation, economists recommend a stable currency to deal with that economic challenge.
3, No more "expensive" and "luxurious" private jet travels
Although the government has not announced officially that the president's much-criticised private jet travels have ceased, YEN.com.gh has learned that he now flies commercial flights.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the man who tracked his flight activities and revealed to the whole country that the president was renting an expensive and luxurious private jet for his foreign trips, disclosed last year that when the president was not flying the presidential jet, he was on a commercial.
The president purportedly opted for an even more expensive luxury jet complete with a bathroom in his bid to evade the prying eyes of the MP. But he was found out.
During a questioning session in Parliament, one of the president's appointees explained that the president opted for that expensive jet because he preferred to wash down and feel fresh by the time he got to his destinations.
4. Gold-for-oil barter to make cedi strong
The vice president explained that because Ghana needed millions of US dollars every month to import refined petroleum products, this put pressure on the Ghana cedi. To deal with that, Ghana was going to buy substantial gold produced by refineries in Ghana and use that to purchase refined oil instead.
This he believes would reduce Ghana's dependence on American greenback for huge petroleum transactions every two weeks.
It is not clear how much the cedi would be strengthened by the barter that started partially in December 2022, but the government has been buying gold in large quantities from local refineries.
The policy has been criticised as a sham because the best way forward would be to fix the now-defunct Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).
5. Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) to release pressure on Ghana's finances
The DDEP was announced as part of a larger debt restructuring move to stagger the payments of interests or capital to Ghana's lenders. No concrete agreements have been reached with investors in Ghana's bonds (lenders) but already, the programme has been criticised as insensitive and poorly thought out.
Some banks, individual bondholders and other investors have appealed to the finance ministry to exclude them from the programme because the proposals threaten to erode their investments.
It seems all the actions Nana Akufo-Addo and his appointees have taken to tackle the economic challenges, are not translating into fixing the economy. Prices of goods are still unstable and constantly rising, the cedi is still weak to the US dollar and the debt situation is still scary, but maybe it is still early days yet.
Busia’s daughter slams Akufo-Addo for abandoning Ghana to “devious Ofori-Atta”
YEN.com.gh has reported in a separate story that Nana Frema Busia has written a strongly-worded opinion piece that she believes sums up Nana Akufo-Addo's failed administration.
She observes for instance that both the president and his finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, belong in jail for the proposals in the debt exchange programme.
In the article published on January 26, 2023, Frema Busia said Ghana is currently being ruled by a bunch of hoodlums.
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