The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world economy to a standstill. Experts say that worldwide post-covid-19 shocks could range from a mild recession to depression.
Angel Gurría, OECD secretary general, has said the economic shock is already bigger than the financial crisis in 2008 and countries will take years to recover. "Even if you don't get a worldwide recession, you're going to get either no growth or negative growth in many of the economies of the world...” Angel Gurría (BBC News, 23 March 2020). Kristalina Georgieva, the chair of IMF has also made a similar statement.
Recovery from the aftershocks of the pandemic may depend on our foreign reserves, national resources, IMF loan, and how we manage the situation in Ghana. So far so good, the concerted effort by the government of Ghana is commendable. All citizens must do their part to support the government in mitigating the effects of Covid-19.
We may not achieve the expected economic growth for the year. High unemployment, poverty, and increased borrowing from IMF are some of the challenges we face. The IMF loan may come with its own conditionality. The economic hardship could be dire for the country but we can do something to reduce the impact of recession.
The Covid-19 Fund that has been set up by the government must not be a catalyst for corruption. The fund, which is primarily intended for providing the needed PPE, respirators and drugs for healing the persons with Covid-19, can also lend support to the poor and needy and all those who have lost their jobs.
Some countries including the UK, Finland and the US have made plans to pay monthly unemployment benefit to those who have been laid off to lessen the economic burden on families and individuals who have been affected.
Thomas Kusi Boafo, the CEO of Public Sector Reform, says: “The govt must deploy resources to farming communities without a case of covid-19 to encourage the farmers to grow crops immediately, making use of the rainy season and with the help of NAPCO; who are on recess..., guided by the military.” T.K Boafo, Net 2 TV, Ghana (9.04.2020). This he said, will create a buffer for recovery; reducing hunger and allowing us to export food to at least our West African neighbours.
On that note, we expect the government of Ghana to utilize all the resources at our disposal to resuscitate our economy from now. The main lesson from Covid-19 is that we must build and protect our country. A lot of things may change afterward, from social interaction to personal hygiene. We must also take the opportunity to improve sanitation in our communities and make Ghana a better place to live.
Fellow Ghanaians, let us adjust to the new realities and get involve to revive mother Ghana with our own resources. At this moment we may not get loans and aid from most European countries but the Chinese loans have detrimental conditions to our forests, land and water bodies.
Writer: Charles Addai, Finland