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Ken Thompson Calls for Radical Reform to Fix ‘Broken’ Economy

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Once again and more wearingly than ever, Ghana is broke and “is heading for a disaster,” renowned economic analyst and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dalex Finance, Mr. Kenneth Kwamina Thompson has projected.

This succinct statement however pits against the submissions of other economic experts including the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana.

The MPC, last week through their prognoses had given Ghanaians hope that the country’s prospect of economic growth is positive.

But the outspoken accountant says Ghana is penniless because in 2017, the country spent almost 100 percent of all its ‘Revenue including Grants’ on wages and salaries, interest expenses and statutory deductions.

He made this submission at this year’s “A conversation with Ken—Ghana’s Economy in 2018,” an annual event hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (CIMG).

With an effigy of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, participants saw Ken Thompson in a hypothetical conversation asking him to “Face up to the realities” of the Ghanaian economy.

Stop and Think

If Ghana is to avoid the projected catastrophe, all and sundry must pull back from a brink and do a rethink.

The starting point, according to Mr Thompson is the annihilation of government’s habit of borrowing to fund recurrent expenditure.

“We should stop borrowing…the only time we should borrow is to fund projects which show they can deliver a return and pay for themselves. Why should we borrow to pay electricity, to pay for police uniform, to buy cars and pay salaries? It is not sustainable,” he said.

The Dalex boss also proposed an increase in tax across board adding that it is one sure way of increasing Ghana’s income.

Mr Thompson said Ghana’s only hope is to “increase revenue in the short to medium term in order to fund consumption expenditure.”

“We must increase revenue by getting the informal sector to start paying individual taxes, enforcing evidence of tax payment on property registration like vehicle registration, company registration and land title registration,” he proposed.

Sexy Agric

Agriculture employs over 53% of the labour force. It is the magic ‘silver bullet’ to our economic development and Mr Thompson says it must be made ‘sexy’ enough to attract the young generation.

“What the farmers need is not the fertilizer, they need technical support…we need to move the young people into agric but you need to make agric sexy…as long as the hoe and the cutlass are associated with agric, they won’t do it. If they think going to the farm is like going to Siberia, they would not do it,” he explained.

He further noted that the planting for Food and Jobs and One Village, One Dam policies were well-conceived but that the success of the initiatives would be reliant on proper implementation of strategies.

Suffer Some

Mr Thompson says while citizens pay their tax, government officials should also respect the efforts of the people by not wasting the tax payers’ money on ‘pump and pageantry’.

“The politicians must come along with us and they have got to demonstrate that they are sharing in the pain…and it is in how you conduct yourselves. If everybody has a motor rider, I wonder how many policemen would be left to patrol the streets,” he noted.

Compromise on the path of politicians—forsaking their castles and luxury for the people would be a compromise and by comparison, a little price to pay.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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