Professor William Baah-Boateng, the Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, is calling for a more balanced approach to the economic and the health concerns amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Ghana’s borders are currently closed and there is a partial lockdown in Accra, Kasoa, Kumasi and Tema grinding economic activity to a near-halt.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Prof. Baah-Boateng urged the government to be mindful of the current stress on the economy.
“It [the coronavirus fight] must be done in such a way that every new decision that is going to be taken in terms of the health [sector] will not entirely collapse the economy.”
“We will come back and get more deaths than what coronavirus caused,” he warned.
The lack of economic activity in Accra has led may traders and vulnerable persons on the periphery without a means of sustenance.
The desperation most recently compelled some traders to operate at night whilst flouting social distancing protocols.
The current economic concerns notwithstanding, Prof. Baah-Boateng noted that mismanaging the health concerns during the pandemic could cripple the economy in the long term and lead us “to a total collapse.”
“If we don’t balance the health and the economy and we get to a situation where our health sector is overstretched, can we measure the long term effect on our economy.”
“From where I sit, the major long-term effect we are going to have will be the human capital. In other words, the number of people who are going to lose their lives.”
As parts of Ghana near three weeks under a lockdown or some other restrictions on movement, Prof. Baah-Boateng said he didn’t think the country was at a crisis point yet.
“I wouldn’t say we are in a crisis. I would say we are having some challenges and therefore, we have to manage it in such a way that we will not get to a situation where we will get a total collapse.”
“Even though some banks have closed some of their branches, they are still working. We have essential services going on. Even in the trade sector, we have food sellers still going on with their activities.”
Ghana’s novel coronavirus case count is currently 834 with nine deaths.