Ghanaians should brace up for more hardship this year – Ato Forson

Ranking member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has encouraged Ghanaians to brace up for more economic hardships in 2022.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, January 2, he predicted that there will be an increase in general goods while “the Ghanaian cedi, now trading at almost ¢6.5 to $1, is likely to hit ¢7 before the end of the year.”

The Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP projected that “2022 is a year of economic misery and inflation.”

“Prices of goods to be increased by at least 30%. Fuel prices, set to go up by 18 pesewas this week, is likely to go up again on account of a weak cedi [while] interest rates [are] likely to go up again.”

“Multiplicity of taxes and Levies to take effect by the end of January 2022. Government will be borrowing heavily from the domestic market since the Euro bond market is closed to Ghana for, at least, the first half of 2022,” Dr Ato Forson stated.

But Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah, has criticised Ato Forson for engaging in speculation and propaganda. He says Dr Forson’s predictions are “not supported by data.”

Although Dr Ato Forson expects hardships in 2022, the Deputy Finance Minister said the economy will grow at 4.9% under the ravaging impacts of the Covid-19, saying “government is turning around the economy back to the era of high growth before COVID-19 pandemic came to our shores.”

“It is unfathomable to think that a former Deputy Minister of Finance could be this pessimistic, speculative and propagandist on important issues concerning the economy of Ghana.”

“It is not true that prices of goods are to increase by circa 30% as Hon. Ato is speculating. There is no evidence to back this speculation. On taxes, let me intimate that government is not introducing any new taxes as being speculated.

“The e-levy as was announced by the Finance Minister is the only levy before Parliament for consideration,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

In a related development, the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has warned that prices of goods will increase significantly if government reverses the reduction of values of selected items.

It follows a statement from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which announced that effective January 4, Benchmark values will be reversed for some 43 selected items.

The reversal will affect the selected items from all the three categories on which the reversal was applied.

The items to be affected include the home delivery value of vehicles, goods on which benchmark values are applied and all other goods.