The government of Ghana has revised its economic growth rate projections downward to 0.9 percent from the previous 6.8 percent, due to the impact of the novel coronavirus, finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta said on Thursday.
He attributed the slowdown in economic activities to the measures that government rolled out to contain and limit the spread of the virus, including border closures, closure of schools, a three-week partial lockdown in some major urban centers, physical distancing, and restrictions on social and public gathering.
Presenting the mid-year review of the 2020 budget to parliament, Ofori-Atta said the economy suffered from a decline in production, trade, and investment, with the global commodity price shocks, as tourist flows, fiscal stance, and debt sustainability went down.
The country’s economy grew at an average rate of 7.0 percent over the previous three years, with high expectations for continued growth.
“The economy is approaching near-stagnation through the supply chain disruptions, with its negative impact in the first half of the year,” the minister said.
He said the government had added a total of 20 billion Ghana cedis (about 3.4 billion U.S. dollars) to the country’s total debt from April to June, bringing the debt stock to 255.7 billion cedis (about 44.19 billion dollars), or about 66.36 percent of gross domestic product at the end of June.
Ofori-Atta explained that the increase in the debt-stock between April and June was mainly due to exchange rate depreciation, frontloading of expenditure on COVID-19.
The West African country’s economic growth decelerated to 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the 6.7 percent recorded a year earlier, according to the GSS, as annual headline inflation climbed to 11.2 percent in June. Enditem