—Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu
Economist, Dr Sa-ad Iddrisu, in a social media on Sunday post, described the speech by President Nana Addo on Sunday October 30, 2022, as below expectations. “The President’s address fell short of the expectations of many Ghanaians who are currently facing hardships due to rising prices and meager to no increment in their salaries.”
According to Dr Iddrisu, “Whereas many citizens were waiting patiently for the President to tell us the measures that the government is putting in place immediately to curb the hardships, instead he rather disappointed us and again pushed the blame on Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.”
He added that “It’s unfortunate the President hasn’t yet recognized that his government’s mismanagement, reckless borrowing and corruption may be contributing factors to the current hardships Ghanaians are facing. Available data and analysis done by both local and foreign Economists, including the IMF, all point to the fact that the country’s rising prices of goods and services can’t be blamed on Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war. Rather, domestic factors are the major drivers of the current rising inflation in Ghana.”
Dr Iddrisu also believe the President didn’t offer immediate solutions in his Sunday speech, “The President instead of offering solutions to our current hardships, is unfortunately proposing new taxes on the Ghanaian people. The President mentioned in his speech that “We have decided to review the reforms in the energy sector, capping of statutory funds, implementation of the exemptions Act and a new property rate regime.”
He questioned, “How do you introduce new property tax rates on the already suffering Ghanaians in these hard times? Why not cut on your luxury Presidential travels and Jet rentals, the 50 V8s Presidential convoys, the ballooning Presidential staffers at the Jubilee House, and the excess ministries and agencies?”
“Again, many Ghanaians were expecting to hear an immediate solution from the President that would lead to a 10 – 20% reduction in cooking oil price from the current 1000 GHC by tomorrow Monday morning, or at least something drastic that would drive down prices of goods and services in the coming days. Unfortunately, there was no solution of such offered by the President,” Dr Iddrisu said.
Dr Iddrisu also gave examples of how some countries have offered immediate solutions to mitigate hardships on their citizens; “Other leaders around the world have shown concerns to rising prices in their countries and have implemented immediate solutions to address them. For example, In January 2022, Malaysia announced it will set aside 680 million Malaysian ringgit ($162 million) to ensure the price stabilization for essential goods. Hungary also placed a price stabilization on food items such as milk, sugar, flour, sunflower oil, and chicken in February 2022. Panama established food price stabilization in August 2022. In October 2022, Bahamas outlined the details of temporary price stabilization measures on 38 key staples, such as eggs, bread and sanitary towels, with the aim of helping families survive rising prices. All of these are immediate solutions such countries are putting in place to reduce hardships faced by their citizens, whilst embarking on the needed fiscal and monetary policies to address the problems in the long run.”
To this end, Dr Iddrisu is “calling on the President to offer the Ghanaian people immediate solutions to address the current rising prices, review his new property tax statement in his speech and also abolish existing nuisance taxes, so as to cushion Ghanaians in these hard times. Any introduction of new taxes on the Ghanaian people at this very excruciating moment may “kill” many in hunger and destitute.”
Dr Sa-ad Iddrisu is a Ghanaian-born economist based in the United States of America. He has over the years been extremely vocal on the state of the Ghanaian economy and has made several policy recommendations in the past.