Director for Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Prof Peter Quartey

Director for Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Prof Peter Quartey, has said Ghana is likely to suffer a severe recession if the coronavirus pandemic persists.

He made these comments on the back of projections the globe may seeing its worst economic downturn in a long time.

Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva said the world faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The IMF has warned that the coronavirus pandemic will turn global economic growth “sharply negative”.

The World Bank has also projected that a recession is coming to sub-Saharan African for the first time in 25 years, due to an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many financial experts have also made similar forecasts about many economic powerhouses who, despite the triggering of huge stimulus packages, may not be left out of a possible slump.

According to Prof Quartey, Ghana’s economy is expected to be hit hard if the global projections are anything to go by, considering the fact that many activities are heavily dependent on international trade.

“If that happens, then that is likely to affect our context. Ghana is not immune from the coronavirus and therefore, we are also likely to have some declines. I think the Finance Minister has projected that we might grow around 2.6%… 2.5%. If it lasts for a longer period, then it is likely to go up to 1.5%, and that could have severe repercussions on our economy,” he told Winston Amoah on JoyNews’ Upfront on Thursday.

Governmen, as part of its stimulus package, announced the allocation of about GH¢600 million in soft loans for small and medium scale enterprises who may have been forced to fold due to the pandemic.

Prof Quartey believes, this package must be targeted at tax compliant business if the move is to see fruition.

Emphasising the need for a credible data to maximise this measure, he said “If you don’t file taxes and do the needful and you complete the form then you don’t qualify. That should be a lesson to Ghanaian businesses.”

“I think it’s about time we moved away from this informality of people not respecting the country’s laws and lack of enforcement. They should put things in place to ensure that it’s only those that file their tax returns benefit.”

The ISSER Director has also called on government to take advantage of the situation to collect basic data on citizens in the country.

He said the creation of an accurate database at this time will streamline the activities such as the distribution of food, water and other social interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of the novel coronavirus on Ghanaians especially, the vulnerable.