GDP Growth: Is It The Effect or Mere Number?

GDP growth is supposed to be good news because it reflects in the level of jobs created, the nature and sustainability of opportunities for people, contribution to revenue generation, improved access and utilization of educational, health, security, road, energy infrastructure among others. Unproductive it is when growth rates have no effect on the expectations of ordinary people. That is why growth of the economy must necessarily be in line with the policies and programmes that generate the growth. If not so, growth as an economic concept loses its value.

The growth expectation for Ghana is being recorded, but unfortunately, the sources of growth with their limited positive effects on the livelihood of the people have not changed. The main source of the recently reported growth is natural resource sector (mining). There is the need to separate natural resource sector from industry, so at a glance, Ghanaians can see the contribution of “manufacturing” for example to GDP. As it is now, natural resource sector bloats the performance of industry and make it looks like we are doing well.

GDP cannot be a mere number, it should reflect on massive new business developments, improvement in income levels and quality jobs and quality life seen in overall access to water, improved healthcare and sanitation, and promising industrial output.

Since Ghanaians are not seeing the expected effects of GDP growth in their lives, we may need a new economic model propelled by a new policy drive. GDP becomes a mere number if it only compares with different governments.

The only reason why past and present governments should raise the pitch of their songs of achievement must be because of the positive experiential effects and not GDP growth with increased hardship, consumer uncertainty and weaknesses of institutions.

When people fast so many days before they get unsustainable jobs and spend all their salaries on transportation, then we must question the policies and programmes generating the growth.

Source: Prof. John Gatsi

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