The Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa, has lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ghana’s growth rate.
The economy was initially projected to grow at 6.8 percent.
But recently, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic cut the projected rate to 0.9 percent.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of the 49th annual general conference of the Ghana Institute of Planners, Dr. Mensah-Abrampa said: “It [COVID-19] has had a huge economic impact, given the trajectory of a growth rate of about 7+ percent per year which we started in 2017. We’re really going up. 2018 was even 8.5 percent. Then it came to 2019 which was quite good. In spite of the latter end being rough, we were around 6.5 percent. And the expectation was that we were going to clock a growth rate of about 6.8 percent this year. But look at where we are. From 6.8 percent all the way to about 2 percent. It’s a big challenge to the economy”.
“But the key thing is going forward; the recovery process. How do we recover? And then beyond that, how do we build resilience such that when such a thing is coming, we’ll be able to anticipate, take up the shock, prepare for it, and look forward in resolving it and coming back to normalcy? This has not only economic implications. It has also social implications, and for planners, the spatial implication,” he added.
Dr. Mensah-Abrampa further suggested ways by which planners can build resilient policies to sustain the economy should unexpected situations like the pandemic hit the country.
According to him, there needs to be a new housing policy to solve the current rent issues in the country.
He continued his initial assertion by saying, “During the COVID-19, the reason why a lot of people abused the lockdown was as a result of access to water and sanitation. These are things which fall in the bosom of planners to be able to anticipate and solve the issue of housing. We can’t have a situation where there are lots of people staying on the streets and slums and not having rooms and beds to sleep on. This is not something that we should countenance and therefore there’s the need for us to come up with a reliable housing policy.”
Growth rate situation
Ghana has been one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies in the past few years. But for 2020, the country has revised downwards its growth forecast after measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 slowed down economic activities.
At the last Monetary Policy meeting in March 2020, the Bank of Ghana in its assessment made mention of the negative impact of COVID-19 on exports, imports, taxes, and foreign exchange receipts, which will culminate in a slowdown in economic activity.
As a result, it forecasted that economic growth will decline to 5.0 percent in a baseline scenario, but could drop to 2.5 percent by the end of 2020 in the worst case scenario.
Per the latest data released by the Ghana Statistical Service however, Ghana’s growth rate slowed down to 4.9% in the first quarter of 2020, as compared to a growth rate of 6.7 % in the same period of 2019.