A former deputy finance minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, has warned Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to guard against taking pride in "cosmetic macroeconomic data" that does not reflect in the life of Ghanaians.
According to the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP, the NPP administration is struggling to service interests on public debt because Ghana’s public debt has increased from GH¢120.3 billion on December 31, 2016, to GH¢235 billion as of March 31, 2020.
In a statement copied to GhanaWeb, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament said: “Sadly, our debt levels are so high that we risk becoming a high debt distress country yet you have failed to show humility and competence in fixing your mess."
Interacting with the press after a COVID-19 meeting at the Jubilee House on Monday, Dr Bawumia advised former President Mahama to speak to incontrovertible data in his public utterances to avoid embarrassing himself.
He added, “I will like us to all recall that the NDC was in government for eight years. They may think that we have short memories but we can still remember very clearly that after eight years that they had in government demonstrating their prowess in managing this country and the economy, what did they leave us with?”
Dr Bawumia continued: “They left us with declining agriculture, declining industry, interest rates were high, inflation was high. In fact, if you look at the data in terms of macroeconomic performance, in any economy since 2000, the tenure of the former President was the worst in terms of outcomes in macroeconomic performance.”
He stated further: “That’s the data; it is not me saying it. The banking system was weak, unemployment was rising, our national health insurance was back to cash and carry. We had four years of dumsor with its devastating impact on our economy. And notwithstanding that, electricity prices were being increased by an average of 45% between 2010 and 2015. Our public finances were in a precarious state, of course, that resulted in us having to go to the IMF for a bailout and policy credibility. Prices were being increased and there was a freeze on public sector recruitment. Cuts in allowances for lecturers, abolishing of nursing and teacher training allowances and even for teachers who had worked for two, three years, they were being paid for just three months of allowance. Common chalk was even a problem in our schools.”
To these Ato Forson responded: “Available data points to your monumental failure to keep your word to the Ghanaian people.”
Read below his full statement
Mr. Vice President:
We suffered dumsor in Ghana between 2005 to 2008 when you were a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana and a member of the Economic management team. Can you remind Ghanaians about any stimulus package you provided to mitigate the plight of Ghanaians?
Comparing a pandemic to an energy crisis that occured because the NPP Government failed to invest in power generation over an 8year period only reflects the confusion that has characterized the Vice President's recent pronouncements.
In any case, it is inhumane to compare a pandemic killing human beings to an electricity generation problem that was resolved by the same government.
It is time to caution Dr. Bawumia not to be proud of cosmetic macro-economic data that fails to translate into economic well-being.
Today, Ghana's public debt has increased from GHS 120.3 billion as at 31st December 2016 to GHS 235 Billion as at 31st March 2020.
Your government is struggling to service interest on public debt; as a result lenders have started charging penalties on delayed interest payments.
Sadly, our debt levels are so high that we risk becoming a high debt distress country yet you have failed to show humility and competence in fixing your mess.
Now, on the rant about data, Available data points to your monumental failure to keep your word to the Ghanaian people.
Here are a few reasons why:
1) When is Dr. Bawumia going to make available the $18 billion Chinese loan he promised us?
2) When is he going to draw down on the $2 billion sinohydro loan?
3) What happened to “No village in Ghana will have a challenge with toilet and water provision within 2 years of an NPP Government?”
4) How about your promise that “Every Ghanaian will have a bank account by end of 2018.
5).Cedi arrested and the keys given to the IGP? yet you have failed to check the free fall of the cedi.
6) The promise of providing the necessary incentives for private sector participation in health service delivery remains a mirage. What happened to it?
8) Implementing policies that will reduce the cost of doing business has been a hoax.
9) The pledge to provide a reliable and cost effective mix of energy supply for businesses has probably been long forgotten.
10) Pursuing aggressive industrialization and value addition to agricultural produce has not seen the light of day.
11) The much touted allocation of US$1 million annually per constituency has become a bitter fallacy.
12) The promise to develop interconnected roads, railways, ports and harbor (RRHPs) system remains a pipe dream.
13) The Water For All Programme has become another deception.
14) Dr. Bawumia's promise to construct 570 dams in 2017 adds to his tall list of empty rhetoric.
15) Reducing the corporate tax rate from 25% to 20% has still not materialized.
16) The pledge to provide incentives for the hospitality and creative arts industry that will enable them create jobs has been another fiasco.
17) The promise to build hospitals in districts that lack them was totally forgotten until COVID-19 exposed the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration.
The litany of broken promises and outright deception is endless. I can go on and on.
Sir, pay attention to the data contained in the NPP 2016 manifesto and numerous promises you made in the recent past and deliver on them for that is the social contract the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has with the people.
Cassiel Ato Forson (MP)
Finance Committee of Parliament