Deputy Finance Minister Clarifies “Turning the Corner” Remark in 2023 Mid-Year Budget Review

Dr. John Ampontuah Kumah, the Deputy Finance Minister, has sought to clarify the recent statement made by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta during the 2023 mid-year budget review in parliament. He believes that the remark about “turning the corner” has been misinterpreted.

According to Dr. Kumah, the Finance Minister’s statement should not be taken to mean that all economic challenges in the country have been completely resolved. Instead, it indicates that the nation has made significant progress and is now on a clear path towards economic recovery. The statement reflects the strides taken by the country in addressing its economic issues rather than implying a complete resolution of all challenges.

“Let me start with the meaning of turning the corner and how it’s being interpreted. Clearly, the Minister for Finance spoke with all humility and he understands the challenging current global and domestic financial situation we find ourselves in.

“So our choice of the phrase ‘turning the corner’ should not in any way be interpreted as we are out of the woods so we have seen full recovery but as we can understand from the metaphor, when you’re driving and you turn the corner, it means you see a way clearer. It means that your path is rather now straight to a better destination.

“So let us not misinterpret the phrase when we say we have turned the corner,” he said on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday.

He explained that the minister did not err by using the phrase because all the statistics he presented during the budget review indicated that indeed the country has “turned the corner.”

This, he said is further seen as the government has already satisfied some recommendations by the IMF.

Some finance experts have taken on the Finance Minister over his “turning the corner” comment regarding the economy.

“This ‘turning the corner’ is underpinned by the investments and sacrifices we have collectively made during this difficult period since March 2020,” said the Minister.

“Mr. Speaker, we have turned the corner and, more importantly, we are determined to continue down that path. Soon, we expect the measures taken to result in economic activity greater than anything experienced in the history of the Fourth Republic. Our plans and programmes should soon lead to a sustained increase in domestic production, including manufacturing and farming, replacing many of the
products that we are used to importing,” he said.

But, Finance Lecturer, Professor Godfred Bokpin said the country’s economic growth is being stunted by government’s posture of not fulfilling essential obligations.

This, he said is seen as government has suspended debt servicing on its external debt, government not in good standing as far as payment of arrears to contractors including Independent Power Producers (IPP) is concerned.

According to him, government has failed to fulfil its obligations to important stakeholders within the economy.

“The economy is not in full gear because we’re not honouring important obligations. They have suspended debt servicing on our external debt, we are not in optimal position with all payments to arrears to contractors, independent power producers, important stakeholders within the economy,” he said

“So if you see some stability and you interpret it that to mean you have turned the corner, you may be surprised if pressures from all these begin to mount then you’ll see that the stability you’re talking about is actually not durable,” Prof Bokpin added.

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