Business advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) says Ghana’s revised projected growth rate of 0.9 percent for 2020 is a positive indication yet given that most economies have slipped into recession under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Country Partner of the firm Vish Ashiagbor commenting on the mid-year budget review delivered by the Finance Minister last week stated that it is remarkable that the economy is still able to grow amidst the adverse impact of the pandemic.
Ghana’s economy was previously forecasted to grow at 6.8 percent but the emergence of the virus and its attendant impact on businesses, among others, saw that growth rate readjusted to reflect the difficulties.
Mr. Ashiagbor in Pwc’s review of the mid-year budget said: “While the reduction in growth is significant, it is at least a positive indication that the economy is not expected to contract in 2020, as is the expectation in many other economies across the world.”
Mr. Ashiagbor stated that before the pandemic set in, the PWC was hopeful the government will buck the trend of the fiscal slippages that usually characterise the election years.
He said while the revision to the fiscal deficit announced by the Minister was inevitable, the sheer size, 11.4 percent, poses significant long-term risks to the economy.
“More significant levels of growth are expected to return over the next four years and the fiscal deficit is expected to narrow over the same period, reaching 3.8% in 2024.
Clearly, barring any unforeseen windfalls in the short to medium term, it will be a long hard road to recapture the gains made over the last few years that have been wiped by the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
The PwC Country Senior Partner argued that the next few years will require a concerted effort by both public and private sector operators to rebuild what has been lost in the short term.
Businesses and individuals, he noted, should plan to continue to tighten their belts, re-strategise and adjust in order to survive and hopefully thrive, notwithstanding the pandemic.
“It is not all bad news, in that the rebuilding efforts offers another opportunity for economic policymakers, the managers of the economy businesses and individual to introduce new thinking and innovation into the rebuilding process such that our economy and businesses emerge from this pandemic in a more resilient and more diversified manner,” Mr. Ashiagbor added.
He said it is encouraging to see some manufacturing companies quickly repurpose their operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPEs), hand sanitisers and other items useful in the pandemic era.
“This a clear and encouraging demonstration of the innovation and capacity that exists locally and what is perhaps one positive outcome of the pandemic,” the PwC country chief added.