Ghana turned 61 today and as usual the Independent Square was awashed with Ghana’s colours and dignitaries. The ceremony was colourful and exciting. What drives the people of Ghana year by year in rain or shine to this same spot is the gratitude and pride in our ‘Ghanaianism’. The level of hope may be quite measured now considering the rather disappointing spell in the past 61 years of Ghana’s life. Howbeit, the Ghanaian pride would continue to be the impetus driving Ghanaians to such an event.
As has been the case, our sitting President His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo, made a good case for his government’s past one year and offered promises that should lift spur us on. The ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ mantra was prominent. There were adequate statistics to back a good economic performance. The indicators: The economy growing from 3.6% lowest in 22 years to 7.9% in 2017, Expected growth of 8.3% making it the world’s fastest growing economy, inflation down from 15.6% in December 2016 to 10.3% in January 2017, industry growth from negative 0.5% to 15.6%, stabilisation of Cedi, interest rate decline to the current 20% from 25.5% in January 2017 and reduction of fiscal deficit from 9.3% in 2016 to 5.6% of GDP in 2017 and projected to 4.5% in 2018, are all in favour of a good economic performance which is well appreciated. This is in addition to the financial management techniques of re-basing of the nation’s debt profile by raising longer term debt through local and foreign bonds. In the president’s speech, ‘This in the long run, is fundamental to moving Beyond Aid’.
The general public sentiments however is in the fact that, these sound indicator profiles do not seem to reflect in the lives of the population. To borrow a leaf from the pages of our Economist columnist Mr. Kwame Ofori Asomaning; Ghana needs to practice functional finance rather than sound finance. According to him sound finance is where a lot of emphasis is placed on improving indicators without the necessary frameworks to let the ‘soundness’ trickle down to the streets. Functional finance is where the emphasis is on bringing the change to the streets and not necessarily choking prolific indicator scores. Jobs have been promised but how realistic are they? Ghanaians want to see the beauty of indicator trends translate into people’s lives and into the pockets. Admission be made that this requires time and that we have in another year 6th March 2019. The hope that drives Ghanaians to the Independence Square year after year would hinge on the promises of creating 100,000 jobs, fighting corruption, creating the environment for private sector growth, fighting armed robbery, an improved and disciplined macro-economic management among others. May His Excellency’s speech on 6th March 2019 bring the functional side of the economy where the promises, or at least a large part of it, have been fulfilled, and that the colourful indicators have trickled down to the street, the people are living the improved economic conditions and Ghana truly is approaching ‘Beyond Aid’. The President’s speech may then be much shorter than the over 40 minutes because the people would be speaking for him. Happy 61st.