Opinions of Tue, 24 Jan 20171

We trust Akufo-Addo government to turn the economy around

The disclosure by the Senior Minister designate, Yaw Osafo Maafo, that lack of accurate data on Ghana's debt has made it difficult for the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government to make projections on the fiscal gap to influence planning is quite worrying.

According to Mr Osafo Maafo, who appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament last Friday, the data of the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana were inundated with so much inconsistencies that it was going to affect government's decisions with respect to implementation of a comprehensive fiscal plan for the country.

Undoubtedly, the eight-year administration of the National Democratic Congress was more of propaganda than telling Ghanaians the real state of the economy. We remember how the NPP had to always come up with “The true State of the Economy  anytime either the late President Mills or former President Mahama delivered the State of the Nation to Ghanaians.

Vice President Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, on September 8, 2016, at the National Theatre, delivered a spectacular lecture on the topic, “The State of the Economy: A Foundation of Concrete or Straw?” And, among other things, he revealed that at the heart of Ghana’s economic difficulties was the NDC government’s reckless management of public finances, especially in the run up to the 2012 elections.

According to Dr Bawumia, the economy ended in 2012 with a fiscal deficit (on commitment basis) of 12.2% of GDP, 11.7% of GDP in 2013 and 11.9% of GDP in 2014. Following the reckless increases in public expenditure during the 2012 election year, and subsequent years by the Mahama-led government, the nation recorded double fiscal deficits for three consecutive years, first time in our history. This poor state of public finances, weak policy implementation and lack of policy credibility resulted in Ghana requesting an IMF bailout in August 2014. We are all aware of how Dr Bawumia was called all sorts of names by elements in the previous NDC government for speaking to the glaring truth. But as the saying goes, "Figures no lie." Now, we have the truth before us and how the NDC ruled the economy with lies, deception and propaganda just to paint to Ghanaians and the outside world that all was good when in actual fact they were not.

Even though the NPP government, as part of its policy interventions, has announced plans to borrow to shore up government's revenue, citing the widening fiscal deficit, we agree with Mr Osafo-Maafo that the government cannot readily mention the amount because, “At the moment we do not even have all accurate figures from the Bank of Ghana and Ministry of Finance; we are getting a lot of inconsistencies arriving out from what we call arrears in the pipeline from the Controller and Accountant General's Department.”

Ghana's economy is in a very poor state of health. The realities are there for all to see and appreciate. But we consider it very reassuring to hear from Ken Ofori Atta, the Finance Minister designate, that even though the economy is ‘broke’, it is not ‘broken’. That simply means the harm done to the economy by the previous administration, through recklessness can be repaired with through the implantation of the right policies and fiscal disciple.

And with the calibre of men and women assembled by President Nana Akufo-Addo to prosecute his agenda for the nation, we are of the firm belief that the right measures will be put in place to ensure that the country once again regains its footing, which will ultimately influence positively in the lives of Ghanaians. What needs to be done now is for all Ghanaians to offer the new government the support is needs to deliver for the collective good of the country.

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