Severe Hardship Mismanagement of the economy will bring back 1983 hardship – Minority

The Minority at a round-table discussion to assess the economy among other things chastised government’s management of the economy.

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The Minority in Parliament has held a pre-budget economic assessment forum ahead of the 2018 budget statement expected to be delivered by the Finance Minister.

According to the Minority, Ghanaians may experience severe hardship in 2018 akin to that which occurred in 1983, if government continues with the current path it has taken in its management of the economy.

The Minority at a round-table discussion to assess the economy among other things chastised government for mismanaging resources of the country.

READ ALSO: Ghana to go HIPC in 2019 - Minority

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, said figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), points to this fact, and might come to pass if nothing is done to forestall it.

He said Ghanaians will experience "severe hardship" equivalent to the 1983 experience.

"How can you create jobs under severe austerity under fiscal consolidation? The budget deficit in IMF article 4 is projected to be 3.8, so ladies and gentlemen, next year, let us be assured that there will be severe austerity equivalent to 1983. How can you create jobs when you have mandated the central bank to pursue tight monetary policy? How can you create jobs when the real sector, the non-oil GDP, is projected to grow in 2018 almost at the same level as 2016?

"We believe that unfortunately, government’s economic policy for 2018 will bring about severe hardship and Ghanaians must be well informed," he said.

READ MORE: We will not allow you to tax mobile money transactions - Minority tells gov't

Widespread hunger in 1983

The year 1983 perhaps was the harshest year in Ghana’s history.

The food shortage in Ghana resulted from a combination of events, some natural and some human in origin, which occurred over a two-year period.

Starting in 1982 and continuing until the end of 1983, rainfall in all the major food producing areas was late and erratic, and its sudden cessation in July in the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, and Eastern Regions and in September in Northern and Upper Regions severely reduced the output of maize and other cereals.

READ ALSO: 2018 budget will bring hardships similar to 1983 famine - Minority

Widespread maize virus disease and a lack of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs further reduced yields of food grains.

Very dry conditions caused by the prolonged drought, coupled with an extended harmattan (dry wind from the Sahara), contributed to the spread of bush fires, especially in the northern third of the country. These fires damaged both stored and standing crops.

In some regions, up to 35 of total food production was destroyed by fires. In addition to the major cereal crops, traditional subsistence crops such as cassava, yams, and plantains as well as cash crops such as cocoa and timber were seriously affected.

The net effect of these catastrophes was to reduce both food availability and foreign exchange earnings, which are used for food imports.

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