Gov’t is choking economy with too many dev’t projects

—IFS Fellow

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com

A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) wants the government to reduce the number of development initiatives it is pursuing, and focus on only a few within a particular time frame.

Dr Said Boakye says the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration risks accomplishing little if its capital-intensive projects like Planting for Food and Jobs, Zongo Development Fund, One Million Dollars per Constituency, Free Senior High School (SHS) etc,  are not rolled out gradually.

“I am not saying they [initiatives] are bad. Who wouldn’t like an industrialised economy? Nobody would. But if you don’t take your time, and try to do so many things at the same time, you will not be able to achieve anything, none of them will succeed,” he said on The Hard Truth, a political talk show on the Joy News channel.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) campaign in the 2016 election made promises that many in the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) say are populist and unattainable.

Although initiatives like the free SHS programme, Zongo Development Fund and the Planting for Food and Jobs have been rolled out, teething challenges have raised doubts about their sustainability.

Dr Boakye says beyond their sustainability government must reduce its expenditure mix in order not to choke other important sectors of the economy.

“President Kufuor did something similar – district industrialisation programme – every district was supposed to get one factory. After his term how many factories have been established? It is because of a funding issue.

“That is why we are only cautioning the [current] government, ‘take your time, move slowly, don’t bring all these things onboard at the same time,’” he admonished.

He also said the current government must work to achieve a more robust economic growth that is not fueled by the oil sector.

“If you look at other sectors of the economy, they are performing worse than last year, “he said, urging managers of the economy to focus on the Services and other sectors of the economy that have taken a nose dive.

Member of Parliament for Assin South, John Ntim Fordjour, who was also on the show disagreed with Dr Said’s view that the growth of the economy was fueled largely by the oil sector.

According to him, that argument is over-exaggeration of the oil sector’s contribution since the industry sector — which captures the contribution of the oil sector to GDP — also contains subsectors such as Manufacturing, which is doing well.

 

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