Do not play politics with the economy -NPP
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on the government not to play politics with the state of the economy, since it would not do the Ghanaian populace who voted them into power any good.
The party praised the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) for coming out with the accurate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 7.3 percent despite the 6.2 percent which had earlier on been announced by the Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor."The GSS reported that for the year 2008, the real GDP grew at 7.3 percent, at least 1.1 percent higher than was reported in March by the Finance Minister", said Mr. Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Minority Leader at a press conference in Accra. /> The press conference was to highlight the accurate GDP of 7.3 percent announced by the GSS instead of the 6.2 percent announced by government.
He noted that the 7.3 percent growth of the GDP in 2008 was reported to be one of the highest in 30 years in the nation's economic management and that it was achieved in the face of record high oil prices, a meltdown in the world financial markets and a global recession.
He said when the then NPP government assumed power in 2001, the economic growth rate for 2000 was a meagre 3.7 percent and that under sound economic management, the government was able to increase it to 7.3 percent in 2008 in spite of all challenges.
The Minority Leader intimated that when in 1999/2000, oil prices rose to 36 dollars per barrel, the GDP growth rate under the NDC and the Economic Management Team which was chaired by the then Vice President John Atta Mills was 3.7 percent.
"In 2008, with oil prices rising to as high as 147 per barrel, we were able to achieve a growth of 7.3 percent", he added. He said it was unfortunate that although the economy grew by 7.3 percent in 2008, the new NDC administration had targeted a growth rate of 5.9 percent for 2009, a decline of 1.5 percent from the 2008 figure. He noted when the then Vice President Mills headed the Economic Management Team in 2000, inflation rose to 40.1 percent whiles the cedi also depreciated by over 50 percent.
"Subsequently, the cedi depreciated by only 3.7 percent in 2001, 2.2 percent in 2004, 0.9 percent in 2005, 1.1 percent in 2006 and 4.8 percent in 2007 and unfortunately by the end of 2008, inflation rose to 18.1 percent due to the 2007/2008 shocks (less than half its level when Professor Mills was the manager)", he explained.
According to Mr. Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, under the NPP administration, Ghana's debt burden was also significantly reduced as a result of good economic policies adding that the country's external debt was reduced to 27 percent of GDP in 2008 as compared to 156 percent of GDP in 2000.
He said by 2008, Ghana used only 4.8 percent of its exports to service debts as compared to 28 percent in 2000 adding that in 2008 "our debt service was 12.1 percent of government revenue as compared to 50.1 percent in 2000".