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Ghana's fiscal policy, key election issue

Ghana's fiscal policy, key election issue


Excitement for Ghana’s November poll is building as candidates try to woo voters. People have differing opinions on the election decider.

Comfort Lomotey a dressmaker in downtown Accra for the last 10 years says business was good until many of her customers stopped coming, her vote is for whoever can fix the economy.

“I can’t pay my utilities, these days they are too high so I want someone to convince me. If New Patriotic party (NPP), they should tell me the reason why I should vote for them,” she said

... the issues bordering the economy and people's living standard will be a big part of the electioneering campaign.

Promoting fiscal discipline and fighting graft is the basis of the NPP – Ghana’s main opposition party’s campaign.

Ghana enjoyed strong economic growth for years but had to adopt a $918 million, 3-year deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to correct a persistent fiscal deficit.

The turn to the IMF to solve the macro economic crisis restored some credibility to the government’s fiscal policy, but it has failed so far to address the country’s most pressing economic problem, inflation.

Inflation now stands above 18 percent, the opposition has blamed the government for mismanaging the economy.

“Going for the IMF programme was good. The IMF has been too soft on the government, OK. If they hold on to one of the disbursements; government is looking forward to 118 million (USD) disbursement – the fourth tranche, they should hold on to it and say that ‘put your house in order further before we make further disbursements’.” said member of the parliamentary select committee on finance and a member of the opposition, Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Economist Samson Akligoh says presidential candidates will have to convince voters that they can fix a flagging economy.

“We are going to see, I mean, cost of living deteriorate in an election year that people would go to choose government and what that means is that the issues bordering the economy and people’s living standard will be a big part of the electioneering campaign.’‘

Power generation is another critical election issue, after years of crippling blackouts that have hurt businesses and angered voters.