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30 July 2017

Be careful of demons – Kwesi Botchwey cautions government

Former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, has advised current managers of the Ghanaian economy to be careful of demons that hover around public policy lapses and destroy fiscal consolidation.

According to him, these demons have for decades worked as hard as the builders. Lack of focus on economic growth, he says, gives the demons room to operate.

He was speaking to a packed audience in Accra at the launch of a 320-page book entitled, Africa in Search of Prosperity – Ishmael Yamson’s Essays on Development Economics, Business, Finance and Economic Growth. It was launched by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

The book was edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah – a visiting associate professor and director of the Wole Soyinka Foundation at the University of Johannesburg and Pof. Bill Buenar Puplampu, Vice Chancellor of Central University in Accra. It has two forewords from Lynda Baroness Chalker of Wallasey and former Minister for Africa, British and the Commonwealth Office and Doug Baillie, former President of Unilever Africa.

The collection of the thirty essays is mainly on economic and business development with two other sections on education and impact on development and faith and development.

Dr. Botchwey, who recounted the challenges he faced at his time in the 1980s managing the economy that was under recovery in the period of the Structural Adjustment Programme, had to, he explained, deal with inflation which was over 100 percent, national accounting that had not been done for three years and an exchange rate crisis. He however, said the country is on track.

The current Senior Minister and former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning under the Kufuor government, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, spoke of the current economic management team led by the vice president, Dr. Mahamdu Bawumia, and said they were thinking outside the box since with a debt to GDP ratio of over 70%, it had become difficult to borrow under the agreement with the IMF.

He said lessons from the book – of which he was the launch reviewer – are apt to contemporary challenges, including the difficulty in accessing aid.

Yaw Osafo-Maafo said the book is of such public policy importance that consultation would be made with the leadership of parliament for adaptation as a manual to guide discussions in the house.

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