Ghana has been ranked 103rd most economically free country in the world out of 159 affected by the survey.
This was disclosed by the Resident Fellow of the Fraser Institute, Fred McMahon during a presentation of an overview of Economic Freedom of the World at an IMANI organised programme in Accra.
The survey evaluated key pillars of the economy for all nations ranging from judiciary, taxes, size of government, credit regulations, labour regulations, gender disparities and trade freedom among others.
Fred McMahon noted though Ghana enjoys relative calm and has an enviable democratic track record, it wasn’t enough to propel the country economically and urged the government to put in prudent measures that will have direct bearing on the lives of the ordinary citizen.
He observed that it was worrying for a country like Ghana to have a large size of government adding that it was a disturbing trend among many developing countries which shouldn’t be tolerated.
The Canada based Fraser Institute Resident Fellow stressed the high taxes witnessed in Ghana and other developing countries could likely be as a result of such large government explaining that the taxes in most cases benefits the rich and high class than the poor and vulnerable in society.
“Most relatively poor nations have rather a small government. Ghana is a bit of an exception…it doesn’t have a huge government but for a nation at this level of prosperity it has a large government and of course, Ghana has had fiscal problems in the past…so it is very important for the Ghanaian government to get spending under control otherwise the economic prospects of Ghana will continue to be weak.
“Having a fair taxation for everyone including the rich and the powerful is tremendously important and all the exemptions that the government is putting in place favour the privilege and the privilege should not be favoured, they should be treated equally with everyone else,” Mr. McMahon said.
Speaking on the sidelines of IMANI’s audit of Ghana’s Economic Freedom, Franklin Cudjoe remarked that this doesn’t come as a surprise to him as several indices have rated Ghana at about the same level.
The IMANI president asserted though Ghana is making efforts at improving the situation more needs to be done as the current measures may not be enough.
“It is an affirmation of what other indices actually speak about Ghana’s current economic management. Where we stand right now in terms of economic freedom is not particularly good. In fact the productive aspects of the economy are being overly regulated in terms of taxation and we are going to hear more it means we are going to slip. This is in tandem with the World Bank ease of doing business report”
“Since 2016 our fortunes have been plummeting. In 2016 we were 108th out of 189 countries, in 2017 we were 112 out of 189 countries, in 2018 we fell to 120th. This correlates with the economic freedom index because the ingredients which is weighing heavily on us are the size of government which is already explained, what kind of legal ownership of property and indeed whether there are opportunities for people to own their own properties without let or hindrance, the judicial system which somehow we have done creditably well in that regard but when it comes to the determination of cases and if you like the certainty with which some of the judgements are made there are still questions there”
Franklin Cudjoe insists government must focus more on productive aspects of the economy and not just put all their efforts at reducing interest rates