This year would undoubtedly go down as one of the most challenging in the economic history of our country. Like the rest of the world, we were hit with the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, which resulted in a slowdown in economic activity, leading to a reduction in our revenues and unbudgeted additional costs associated with fighting the pandemic.
Just when we thought, we were making great strides in our recovery from the damaging effects of the pandemic by the commencement of the implementation of our transformation agenda, we were hit with a variety of events which have over the period, eroded the macroeconomic successes we chalked from 2017 to 2019. First it was the Russia-Ukraine war, then a delay in the passage of key revenue measures in the 2022 budget, which led to credit rating downgrades. Suddenly, for the first time in ten years, the International Capital Market was closed to us, domestic financing conditions tightened and the cost of borrowing increased, contributing to high debt service and the rapid depreciation of the cedi.
Thus, even as the foreign currency support from the capital market and our foreign earnings declined, the rise in our import bill rose from our apparent insatiable demand for imports as a country, coupled with our increasing debt servicing bill, further undermined the value of our currency. This has led to a high cost of living for us all, both as Government and as individuals. Rising fuel prices have led to increases in prices of most goods and services, with inflation at an all high of 40.4% in October 2022.
We have been really tested as a people, and Government empathises greatly with you for the undue pressures this has brought. We want to express our gratitude as Government to our various stakeholders, including Parliament, Employers’ Associations, Labour Unions, Civil Society, Faith Based Organizations, Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana Union of Traders Association, Academia, Think-Tanks, and the ordinary Ghanaians who continue to bear with us even as we navigate these difficult times.
On behalf of H. E. Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo, I want to assure all Ghanaians that Government is putting in place polices that will reset the economy and restore macroeconomic stability, raise significant revenues, implement structural and public reforms, expand digital and physical infrastructure, reduce nonessential imports, promote exports, expand local production of import substitute, and protect the vulnerable and socially excluded.
The lessons we have learnt as a country from this period have made it necessary for us to permanently restructure and transform our economy and build resilience. We will do better. We will come out of this stronger. The Lord will uphold us and grant us strength to do this.