New research on measures to spur economic growth across all sectors was presented by researchers and economists in Accra on Saturday.
The findings were submitted as part of the “Ghana Priorities” project, an initiative being spearheaded by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in collaboration with the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, an award-winning international think tank.
The project seeks to prioritise the best policies for the country’s future based on cost-benefit analysis.
Prof. Robert Darko Osei, the Vice Dean, School of Graduate Studies, University of Ghana, explained that agriculture was a significant contributor to the Ghanaian economy and an important source of employment, with over 40% of the working population engaged in farming.
He said despite growth and development dynamics, which is witnessing gradual shifting away from the agriculture sector towards industry and services, agriculture still forms a crucial part of the Ghanaian economy, and a necessary vehicle for poverty alleviation and ensuring food security.
Prof. Darko Osei noted that increasing agricultural output can be achieved through three main mechanisms, including increasing arable lands under cultivation, improving crop yield, and reducing post-harvest losses.
The research team, therefore, analysed the cost and benefit indicators of using improved/certified seeds and fertilizer, irrigation and mechanization to increase yields, and expanding warehousing capacity to reduce post-harvest losses.
They discovered that the most cost-effective solution for fertiliser subsidy would yield benefits four times greater than its initial cost.
Prof. Wisdom Akpalu, Dean of the School of Research and Graduate Studies, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), noted that the fishing industry also contributed substantially to the Ghanaian economy, which employed about three million people and sustained livelihoods.
He, however, indicated that the marine fish stock was over exploited through the activities of artisanal fishers and industrial trawlers and at the verge of collapsing.
They called for urgent redemption measures to avoid ecological collapse and to safeguard sustainable income for artisanal fishers and the entire value chain.
To address the fishing exploitation challenge, Prof. Akpalu proposed three policy interventions including replacing illegal fishing nets, reduce the over 13,000 canoes to 9,000 and provide entrepreneurial skill training and subsidies to fishers who would lose their sources of livelihoods to venture into fish farming, as well as the need to install video devices in trawl vessels, to monitor harmful illegal fishing practices.
He expressed the optimism that the aforementioned interventions and policies would produce positive returns on investment and improve livelihoods.
With regard to measures to promote industrial transformation, Prof. Peter Quartey, Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, outlined six key interventions to boost industrial growth.
He underlined the need for government and other donor agencies to support management consulting services that could significantly improve factory operations and processes in areas such as quality control, human resources, inventory, and sales.
He noted that every cedi spent on improving management practices would bring a return six times higher than the original investment for large enterprises, and almost 10 times higher for medium-sized companies.
He also underscored the need to ensure that medium scale enterprises have access to credit.
“Financing for businesses and companies could be promoted in Ghana by ensuring better surveillance of the credit referencing system, better address systems, improving the quality of information available to lenders and enforcing a reward and sanctions regime.
“These measures would create nearly 12 cedis worth of benefits to society for every cedi spent,” Prof.Quartey said.
The renowned Economist noted that providing capital grants to selected micro enterprises was estimated to generate benefit seven times higher than the original investment.
Multiple teams of researchers also presented new studies on education at different stages of life such as primary school, senior high school and job training.
Those measures, among others, intended to strengthen the working population of the future and enhancing quality primary education has the highest impact.
Dr. Festus Ebo Turkson, a Senior Lecturer at the Economic Department, University of Ghana, and Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, of the University of Ghana. Introduced the pedagogical approach of ‘Teaching at the Right Level’, which targets instruction to the specific learning needs of children by splitting them into class groups based on learning levels rather than age, for one or two hours per day.
The better learning outcomes resulting from this would be worth 1.5% of earnings over students’ lives, with every cedi spent generating social benefits worth 8 cedis.
After hearing presentations from 28 teams of economists from Ghana and abroad over the course of three days, an Eminent Panel including Nobel Prize recipient Finn Kydland and six distinguished national economists will rank all interventions and establish priorities for a prosperous future.
The Panel will present its findings on Monday, August, 10,2020.