Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has described the current picture of the economy as the worst since the 1970s and promised to alter the face of fiscal management when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumes the reins of power.
This, he said, would be tackled through the introduction of a Financial Responsibility Act to stem the high incidence of financial indiscipline in the system.
“We will pump some sense into the economy,” Dr. Bawumia, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) told NPP functionaries at the formal launch of the party’s manifesto yesterday at the International Press Centre in Accra.
He said such an Act would ensure a responsible management of the economy. Discipline in the financial sector, he went on, would not be for the government only but other players.
Dr. Bawumia said the NPP government would transform the economy from a cashed-based one to an electronically driven system.
He put on notice a transformation of the financial sector through other effective interventions such as encouragement of credit unions to which workers from various segments would subscribe.
This way, he said, banking would receive the necessary boost to facilitate the access of banking to the people.
“We would treble this within the first term of our government. We have the technology to do it,” he said, adding that this would correct the worrying 15% access presently.
The current state of the local currency, according to him, was lamentable because the Cedi was virtually collapsing. “We would bring solid macro-economic to correct the anomaly” he said.
He ridiculed the oft-stated position by government that appropriate measures had been applied to arrest the situation.
To the contrary however when one goes to the bank seeking dollars the response would be negative because the convertible currency is not available, he said.
Such a negative situation, he noted, would be addressed within the first term of an NPP administration.
While painting an unacceptable picture of trade in the country, he said “we would review the trade policy to grow businesses” pointing out that this would enhance the competitiveness of the country in global trade.
He poked fun at the commissioning of the Millennium Village Project under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), explaining that this is something being undertaken in various parts of the continent.
This is an ad hoc arrangement which does not suggest seriousness, he implied.
The gentleman dropped a hint about how the NPP plans to establish clusters of businesses within a particular area as in the case of Suame Magazine in Kumasi.
This way the individual businesses can access certain facilities to be made available to stimulate growth not forgetting the economies of scale to be derived from such a conglomeration.
On the major takeoff of the economy, he announced that their administration would promote the establishment of a manufacturing based economy, which with the availability of raw materials would not suffer hindrance.
With a comparative advantage over other countries in the West African sub-region, he expressed confidence that Ghana, under a Nana/Bawumia government, could establish a pharmaceutical manufacturing base to serve the sub-region.
An appropriate policy framework would be implemented to enhance the operations of the services sector, one of which would be the formalization of the economy which as it stands is so less, he noted.
Interventions such as the proper implementation of a national identification system, comprehensive mapping of the country and property addresses would help immensely in the collection of the appropriate taxes and de-emphasise the exorbitant taxes on imported goods.