I could hardly remit my fury in condemnation upon skimming through the preposterous and somewhat incoherent remark by the first daughter of former President Jerry John Rawlings, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, that the country is experiencing turbulent times (See: Hardship under Akufo-Addo’s government shocking - Zanetor Rawlings; mynewsgh.com/ghanaweb.com, 23/10/2018).
The NDC Member of Parliament is reported to have lamented: “the things I didn’t expect was to see things become as difficult for every Ghanaian as they are now.”
“The whole idea of having elections and democracy is for people to choose whom they prefer governing the state but I don’t think even those who overwhelmly voted in favour of expected things to be as bad as they are today.”
Well, let us remind Zanetor Rawlings that since Ghana’s independence in 1957, her father’s ‘brainchild’, the NDC tradition (PNDC and NDC) had governed the country more than any other government one can think of. In fact, that tradition had governed Ghana for approximately 27 years out of Ghana’s 61 years.
Someone ought to remind Zanetor Rawlings that her dad ignobly supplanted power at the time when Ghana’s economy was blossoming steadily in 1981. Needless to state that back then, the Limann government assumed office at a time when the economy was in deep crisis. The credit lines to the country had almost dried up and were blocked due to brutalities and confiscations at the harbours and other points of entry into Ghana by the coup making founders of the NDC.
However, the story was told that through careful negotiations, preparations and the implementation of pragmatic policies and programmes, the Limann government managed to arrest the economic challenges.
More importantly, commendable efforts were made to repay Ghana’s short-term debts, and the Limann government demonstrated the ability to meet Ghana’s debt obligations.
Consequently, Dr Limann’s government managed within 18 months and restored virtually all traditional credit lines (Source: PNC).
But despite all the great efforts, Zanetor’s father, Rawlings, and his cohorts did not give Dr Liman and his PNP government the breathing space to govern the country, as they relentlessly breathed down the neck of President Limann.
As a matter of fact, Zanetor’s dad, Rawlings and his coup making minions unfairly kept castigating Dr Limann’s administration for what the conspiratorial plotters perceived as economic mismanagement, until Rawlings and his jailbreaking geezers decided to depose Dr Limann.
Subsequently, Zanetor’s dad, Rawlings, and the other mutinous jailbreakers took arms and succeeded in usurping the democratically elected government of Dr Hilla Limann on 31st December 1981. Zanetor’s Father, Rawlings, and his friends formed a government which they called the Provisional national Defence Council (PNDC) and appointed Rawlings as the chairman.
After imposing himself and despotically ruling the country for over 11 years, J. J. Rawlings retired from the military and bizarrely metamorphosed into civilian president in 1992.
It must be noted that Zanetor’s father, Ex-President Rawlings 96 months democratic rule came to an end in January 2001.
Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor took over the presidency from former President J. J. Rawlings on 7th January 2001.
In retrospect, former President Rawlings ruled the country for nineteen years. The first part of his regime, which lasted eleven years, was an abhorrent imposition through a series of coup d’états.
Although the PNDC and NDC administrations back then paraded some seasoned politicians, the vast majority of the military personnel who headed important Ministries were novices in the political scene.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Rawlings’s administration adopted a seemingly disastrous Economic Recovery Programme (ERP), which was introduced under the auspices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Regrettably, the vast majority of tangible national assets, including the state owned enterprises were allegedly sold to friends and families for pittance.
The apparent unfavourable Economic Recovery Programme culminated in a catalogue of hardships. And, on top of the harsh programmes and policies which threatened the economic fundamentals, the population had to clutch itself for food shortages, a situation which the world press somehow ignored in favour of the concurrent Ethiopian famine that resulted in millions of deaths.
Indeed, their desperate attempt to initiate the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD) did nothing to improve the unfortunate situation as untold hardships permeated many households.
Starvation, so to speak, visited the vast majority of Ghanaians, and hence developing revoltingly ugly collar bones, which the humorous Ghanaians renamed as “Rawlings Chain”. That was indeed the pernicious extent of the hunger.
Perhaps, in juxtaposition, the 1983 hunger was comparable to that of the Ethiopian famine back then. Nevertheless, Ghana’s famine was not hyperbolised by the global media.
Somehow, both Ghana and Ethiopia were back then ruled by uncompliant military dictatorships that looked on cluelessly and somehow unperturbed whilst the citizens endured widespread hunger.
And, as food shortages escalated in Ghana, some traders started creating artificial shortages of goods by hoarding them so as to charge exorbitant prices at a later time.
Disappointingly, despite being in power for nineteen years, former President J. J. Rawlings’s could not initiate any meaningful policies and programmes to improve on the socio-economic standards of living, but only managed to destabilise Ghana’s macroeconomic indicators.
Thus, President Kufuor had a tough time running the country, as there was not much funds left in the national purse to plan anything meaningful.
Ghana was then declared as Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC). The newly elected President Kufuor had a tough decision to make, by either embracing or rejecting the HIPC status.
However, the forward thinking President Kufuor chose to ingest an insipid pill with a view to getting over the malaise. He thus pragmatically embraced the HIPC status in 2001.
On reflection, though, the benefits of the HIPC were unprecedented during former President Kufuor’s administration, from (2001-2008).
As a consequence, macroeconomic indicators begun to stabilize and Ghana’s debt stock was significantly reduced by about $4 billion within that period (BOG).
Besides, as a result of the HIPC initiative and prudent borrowing, Ghana’s external debt stock actually declined from $6.1 billion in 2000 to$3.8 billion by 2008 (BOG). It was an unprecedented achievement, so to speak.
The average GDP growth of the NDC from 1993-2000 was 3.8% while that of the NPP from 2001-2008 was5.2% with economic growth reaching 6.3% in 2007 and 9.1 in 2009 (GSS/BOG).
President Kufuor worked strenuously for eight solid years, laid a favourable economic foundation and retired honourably.
He then passed on the baton to the late President Mills on 7th January 2009, following his2008 election victory.
Regrettably, though, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills sudden and mysterious death. The conspiratorial plotters then had a field day leading to the 2012 general elections.
Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went berserk in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.
Many observers unsurprisingly harbour a strong view that Ghana’s economic downslide came about as a result of the unbridled sleazes and gargantuan corruptions which took place in the erstwhile NDC administration.
Unfortunately, former President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks failed to acknowledge that corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development.
The general belief back then was that they bought votes with the tax payers’ money. They nonetheless clung on to power following the controversial election on 7th December 2012. Suffice it to state that their victory came with huge costs to the state.
The previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 rocketed artificially to unpronounceable figures. Our total debt ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.
To be quite honest, Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to mismanagement and wanton sleazes and corruption under the leadership of Ex-President Mahama.
Take, for example, Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Moreover, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).
Besides, President Mahama’s maladaptive government dragged the economic growth from around 14 per cent in 2011 to around 3.6 per cent as of December 2016.
Ex-President Mahama, so to speak, performed abysmally. He did not do enough to improve on the socio-economic standards of living.
Take, for example, former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008. And the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $40 billion in 2011.
Suffice it to stress that former President Mahama disappointingly reversed the GDP to an incredible $37 billion as of December 2016.
But despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid the unpardonable stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.5 per cent as of December 2016 to over 8 per cent within a short space of time.
In addition, the NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016.
More importantly, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth within a short space of time. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 percent in 2017 compared to 3.7 percent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).
Interestingly, the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 percent and the Services 4.3 percent.
Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector's growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.
However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work 14.4 percent.
The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017.
The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.
The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.
The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).
K. Badu, UK.