The inflation figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service in the past months have consistently had food inflation as one of the major contributors to the upward trend. This, according to a chartered economist, Mr. Martin Ohene Anim, is a glaring proof to the government that its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFFJ) policy has failed.
Ghana’s inflation currently stands at a whopping 31.7%. Speaking on the Active TV Morning Show, Mr Anim wonders what the output of the PFFJ policy is since increase in domestic food prices has remained one of the major causes of our ever rising inflation.
“It tells you that the programme is not achieving its intended output, the reason the domestic prices of produce keep going up” he diagnosed.
PFFJ is one of the popular flagship policies of the Akufo-Addo led government which is intended to lure many of the unemployed youth into farming, ensuring that Ghana will feed itself and get the surplus exported.
The economist however revealed that the chunk of the pressure on the cedi is as a result of the importation of rice and other food produce into the country, including chicken. He added the local poultry industry is confronted with maize shortage resulting in high cost of feed.
“How can we be planting for food and jobs and there is no maize and our local poultry industry is collapsing such that we have to import 98% of chicken to meet the local demand” he questioned.
He said just like other major policies of the government that are financed by debts, the PFFJ policy is not producing the expected outputs to pay off its debts. To reverse this, he proposed measures should be hastened by government to make the country more export led rather than import dependent by creating improved systems, better policies and legislations that will allow all players in the agribusiness value chain to thrive.
“Nigeria has banned the importation of rice. Ghana can take a clue to also begin to put in efforts to ban the importation of certain food commodities that can be easily produced in the country.”
He was however quick to mention that it will take a lot of political will to achieve this, as there are major party financiers who benefit significantly from the import business and would aggressively lobby behind the scenes against any such policy.
But he proffered the solution, “we need leadership in this situation. We need one who has the political will to say, I am banning the importation of rice. I am taking this decision in the interest of our people.”
The major contributor of Ghana’s current economic woes, according to him, comes from the fact that government keeps spending on projects that do not generate revenues in the short term to meet the debts used for their financing.
He urged the president to be circumspect in his policies and to ensure that government’s expenditures are more into investments rather than mere consumptions that do not generate any future incomes to pay off our debts.