The School of Business (SoB), University of Education, Winneba (UEW), has held a seminar on "The Implications of Ghana’s Debt Exchange Programme (DEP) on Academia and Postgraduate Students" at the Amu Theatre, Central Campus, UEW.
The Finance Officer of UEW, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, was the keynote speaker for the seminar. He looked at Ghana's debt situation and concluded that, notwithstanding the severity of the situation, the economy had expanded rapidly in recent times. He contended that the government was compelled to execute the DEP, which included both internal and external components, to alleviate concerns and stabilise the country's finances because of the rapid rise in debt levels.
"The government swiftly implemented its main revenue source, the e-levy, to make up for underperformance in revenue. Most of our issues were to be resolved by e-levy. Regrettably, the way we handled our economy is largely to blame for our debt problems. If a country borrows more than she can pay in the name of carrying out operations, then to me, I will not say that you have managed the economy successfully. Anyone who borrows more than they can pay or consumes more than they earn will have a problem," he remarked.
Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie
The keynote speaker noted that Ghana's excessive borrowing culminated in almost all the major rating agencies downgrading Ghana to junk status. He blamed the Ministry of Finance and the absence of sufficient parliamentary supervision for the poorly managed economy. He also attributed part of the blame to the constitution.
Dr. Ackorlie expressed confidence that the DEP would have a significant impact on higher education. He predicted that the programme would result in increased funding for higher education, better macroeconomic stability, and lower interest rates.
He challenged universities to develop a growth mindset and seize the opportunity presented by the difficulties to move away from conventional funding sources like government subventions and instead rely on alternative revenue streams to run universities.
“Indeed, as a tertiary institution, let's continue to teach and undertake research, but the research must lead to improvements for society. It's essential to create private partnerships and an endowment fund. Universities must start running their own businesses. We need to think creatively because things won't improve in the next five years or so. UEW cannot keep waiting for the improvement in government resources before making things happen. No, we need to swallow the bitter pill right away to build our business school,” he intimated.
A group picture of Business School faculty members and students
The Finance Officer revealed the Vice-Chancellor’s determination to put up an ultramodern facility for the Business School and craved the indulgence of all faculty members to help him realise that vision.
He advised the government to prioritise education.
"Spend as much money on education as possible, and as the human resources are developed, they’ll impact the economy positively. Let's close the gap by urging businesses to increase their educational spending," he counselled.
Prof. Samuel Kwesi Asiedu-Addo
Former National president of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Prof. Samuel Kwesi Asiedu-Addo, was the chairman for the seminar. He commended the organisers for championing the course to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
"Last year's theme was a great choice. When I saw this year's theme, which is about haircuts, I predicted that it would be better because one could see that the organisers considered current challenges and how students are coping on campus and the knowledge needed to fully appreciate the new environment," he stated.
Prof. Awaisu Imurana Braimah (left) and Dr. Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-Gyampah
The seminar also saw presentations from the Dean of SoB, Prof. Awaisu Imurana Braimah, and the Vice-Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-Gyampah, on "Why enroll in the UEW School of Business graduate programmes", and "Graduate-student thesis writing, supervision, and assessment: the roles of supervisors, assessors, and the students," respectively.