After the eruption of COVID-19, the signals became clear that unless governments all over the world did something drastic about their fiscal structure and budget expenditures, they would be caught napping.
On the part of businesses, workers or families and institutions, it also meant ever more prudent use of resources in staying afloat in a precarious global setting. Evidently, tastes and appetites at all these levels must change to accommodate the realities and impacts of the scourge of the pandemic.
But the necessity to innovate became more pronounced when nations, governments and economies became entangled in another equally strangulating global turmoil, arising out of a needless conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The two nations find themselves in a region producing the chunk of the world’s grains and staples as well as energy resources.
That certainly has reverberations for economic chaos and socio-economic bubbles.
Unfortunately, in our part of the world, we seem to be missing the point on the realities of the twin evils as we put politics at the centre instead of patriotic commitment and objectivity in analysing the issues in informing bold decisions.
More unfortunate is the fact that those we sent to represent us at the Legislature are the very ones confusing the issues where they should be seen offering support to get the nation back on a rebound.
That the Minority, backed by its still struggling 2020 flagbearer, continues to block basic efforts at getting the nation out of the trouble, including frustrating the implementation of the E-Levy, typifies hurdles facing the country in the next months ahead.
For a nation that imports cereals and staples, we must admit that hard decisions need to be taken to save our scarce foreign exchange and business entities.
Again, from these very regions caught in COVID-19 and the family conflict, we feverishly import over 20 brands of vegetable oil, tomato pastes and spices that are also readily available here in Ghana. We also have large quantities of meat products arriving, processed and unprocessed.
That is aside of fixtures for our new buildings and ceramic wares for our kitchens and decor for our homes. And the cumulative costs on our foreign exchange is gargantuan.
Certainly, any serious government, looking at a rebound, cannot overlook the prevailing situation without biting the bullet and calling on citizens and businesses in import to equally make the necessary sacrifices.
While government downsizes and cuts expenditure in less strategic sectors, it would still inevitably need to transform its revenue mobilisation sectors to deliver optimally.
As for the political blackmail from the mischievous opposition, it doesn’t appear that it would diminish today or tomorrow, with the poison in the Minority and the larger party festering for political profit.
No nation sustains economic vibrancy without having a strong tax base. That may mean tweaking the policy to deliver optimally.
All the same, it is the opinion of the Daily Statesman that a government with a constitutional mandate should be able to prove a point in implementing tough measures that gets to the heart of the problem.
Yes, entities like GUTA may gripe and grin over lost turf or profit. But it won’t be them alone or even those in the real estate industry. Indeed, we believe that as long as government makes itself open to the citizenry over the issues, it might get some modest support to move on.
What is important is that government tells citizens, for instance, what perks, including gratuities, have been scrapped in containing the situation. Additionally, it must also be looking at the awful procurement environment.
We believe gestures from government such as these will meet favour from citizens looking for a way out from the twin evils of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.