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On Tuesday, a government spokesman reeled off a zillion-kilometre long list of statistics to prove that far from going mountain climbing as many critics of the government’s management of the national economy have been claiming, Ghana’s foreign debt has actually been on the decline. The ever changing exchange rate of the cedi to the almighty dollar he explained, is what has given the erroneous impression that the nation’s foreign debt has kept increasing progressively.

It is a point well made that nonetheless, leaves the legendary survivor in the street in a rut and grumbling that he cannot eat statistics. Yet as the government economist might respond in the words of onetime Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwesi Botchway, “if you have no use for statistics, then you are not a scientist, in which case, I am afraid, I am unable to help you.”

Current Finance Minister Seth Trekker who went to Parliament on Tuesday to present the mid-year review of the 2015 budget asked the house to approve more than 860 million cedis in supplementary funding for various projects and was subjected to multiple rounds of booing by the minority for all his troubles.

The minority argued that he had already over-spent his budgetary allocation for 2015 and was driving the republic to economic recession and the way of the Greeks with his demands, it was argued.

By the way, I like our Finance Ministers’ English and his turn of phrase in particular, Jomo. He  has explained the same thing the government spokesman referred to above said about the national debt in words you, Okito, Amadu Jack and can comprehend without the help of the abridged dictionary of economics : "It is true that or debt levels are increasing but I think we should put things in context. A lot of the debts we are talking about is also on the account of the cedi.

"If you borrow twenty dollars and because you have to repay by buying dollars in cedis, then what you would have is that, if the exchange rate is three, your exchange rate payment is 60 and if it is four, your rate payment becomes 80". That is what the great Seth Terpker told Joy FM about what appears to be an ever-ballooning debt stock.

When Mr Terpker was done with reviewing the 2015 budget Presidnet Mahama assured us verily, that his administration is aiming at achieving  a strong local currency that has the capacity “to reward exporters.”


Do you reckon, Jomo, that it would be enough to encourage exports without doing anything about over-importation? Scan the shelves at supermarkets and shops across and tell me if there is a single consumer item which is not imported and I will show you one straight, clear path to rapid national economic recovery.  Vast numbers of retail supermarkets and commercial businesses are in a frenzied importation spree and appear to know no other word than “import.”

Then of course, there are the oil companies, telecom companies, hospitality and catering industries, manufacturing industries and commercial enterprises which keep lapping up all the green bucks on the money market for the importation of raw materials, equipment and consumer goods.

I love tuo zaafi with dry okro soup incorporating keta school boys, dawadawa and generous pieces of bush meat but take a look at Kofi Jacks kitchen and you find that thanks to the different cravings of his palate, his kitchen is a clutter of imported foods and cooking ingredients.

So yes, the president’s “let the cedi reward exporters” economic goal makes sense, but it will only make an impact if it is complemented by a national drive to produce most of what you need locally, limit imports to the very barest minimum and then export and export and export as if tomorrow would never, ever come, or rather until it is raining dollars and yen and pounds and francs and deutschmarks everywhere. That is the only highway to economic recovery, anaa..?