Government has downplayed assertions that Ghana is likely to fall prey to the Dutch disease.
The Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), last week warned there was evidence of the Dutch Disease in Ghana.
The Dutch Disease which usually affects oil producing countries occurs when more emphasis is placed on the oil sectors to the neglect of non-oil sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
CEPA in its outlook for next year has stated that the increasing loss of international competitiveness of exporting and import-competing activities in Ghana’s non-oil sector and the loss of factors of production into oil-related sub-sectors of the services sector among others bore testimony to the onset of the disease.
The Executive Director of CEPA, Dr. Joe Abbey said evidence shows some sectors of the manufacturing sector are facing stiff competition from imports.
He explained that “countries all around the world that have discovered some natural resources are confronted with the consequences of this discovery. There have instances like in the case of Nigeria where they have suffered a great deal rather because of this paradox of plenty.”
“We found out that imports in Ghana have been increasing in the country over the last 2-3 years becoming more competitive than the domestic output and most activities are in favor of imports than in domestic activity. If you get a slowdown in domestic activity you could not be creating jobs,” he added.
Dr. Abbey expressed concern “about the evidence that says that the agric sector is not growing as much as would be desirable and also some sectors of the manufacturing sector will be facing stiff competition from imports.”
But a Deputy Finance Minister, Seth Tekper has insisted that Ghana is not likely to fall prey to the Dutch disease due to measures that have been put in place.
He said: “We should not raise too much fear about the Dutch disease because we have put in place measures to ensure that the disease if not completely avoidable will be minimized.”
At the IEA presidential debate on Tuesday, President John Mahama asserted that his government will ensure that the country does not fall prey to the disease.
Seth Tekper explained that the President is mindful of the Dutch disease saying, “we have been very mindful of the Dutch disease and we are saying that the Dutch disease is not upon us because the oil and gas sector is still not a mile sector even when it comes to imports and exports.
By: Vivian Kai Mensah/Ctifmonline.com/Ghana