The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has said on Friday May 15 that its preliminary estimates shows that growth in 2020 is likely to be between 2.0 and 2.5 percent.
The central bank said leading indicators of economic activity during the first quarter of the year suggests some slowdown, reflecting the restrictions, social distancing, and the partial lockdown measures introduced by the government in the middle of March.
Retail sales picked up in March 2020 due to panic buying which preceded the partial lockdown, while consumption, proxied by Domestic VAT receipts, dipped.
The slow conditions in economic activity is reflected in port activities and a sharp decline in tourist arrivals. The slowdown also affected the private sector’s contributions to social security.
As a result of these developments, the Bank of Ghana’s Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) contracted by 2.2 percent in March 2020, compared to a growth of 5.6 percent for the corresponding period of 2019.
Provisional data for the first quarter on the execution of the budget show a widening of the deficit relative to what was observed for the same period in 2019. As at the end of the first quarter, a deficit, equivalent to 3.4 percent of GDP has been recorded compared with a deficit target of 1.9 per cent of GDP.
The larger deficit is explained by shortfalls in tax revenues — on the back of shortfalls in international trade taxes, taxes on goods and services and taxes on income and property in response to unfavourable external and domestic conditions — and higher pace of spending, which included some unbudgeted COVID-19 related expenditure. The expanded deficit led to an increase in the debt stock to 59.3 percent of GDP at the end of March 2020.