Who says Mahama is Ghana’s indisputable economic Messiah?

John Dramani Mahamathumbnail Former President, John Dramani Mahama

Tue, 2 May 2023 Source: Kwaku Badu

Apparently, the vast majority of unhappy Ghanaians, who regrettably found themselves in the doldrums of poverty, rightly voted against the NDC and Ex-President Mahama in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, largely due to the unresolved business crippling dumsor, the wanton corruption (four out of innumerable suspects have since been convicted and sentenced), and the unpardonable incompetence (moved economic growth from 14% in 2011 to a miserable 3.4% and single digit inflation to 15.4% by December 2016).

We could hardly comprehend how and why any subtle mind would argue somewhat forcefully, albeit impetuously that, facts and figures are not the measure of a blossoming economy. How ironic!

How can any trained mind claim somewhat fallaciously that Ghana’s economy under former President Mahama (3.4% growth and 15.4% inflation) was better than President Akufo-Addo's record before the insidious coronavirus (8.6% growth and 7.5% inflation)?

With all due respect, if we fail to acknowledge the painful fact that Ghana’s economy was in shambles under the erstwhile NDC administration, then we are somehow reinforcing Mahama’s assertion that Ghanaians suffer from memory loss.

We cannot deny or ignore the fact that during the erstwhile Mahama administration, Ghanaians became fed up with the extremely harsh conditions amid corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, MASLOC, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others).

It was, therefore, not the least surprising that in his last days in government, former President Mahama honestly told Ghanaians that his NDC administration had rapaciously ‘consumed all the meat on the bone’.

Apparently, the former president was conveying to Ghanaians that his administration had engaged in profligate spending and thereby emptying the national coffers.

This means that any government that takes over will have limited funds initially to fix social amenities and infrastructure projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, water, toilets, amongst others.

Disappointingly, former President Mahama managed to uproot the good foundation laid by President Kufuor and the late Mills.

Take, for example, under Mahama’s government, Ghana’s total debt ballooned from GH¢9.5 billion to a staggering GH¢122.4 billion by the end of December 2016 with little to show for it.

This means that about 93% (i.e. GHC113 billion) of Ghana’s total debt since independence was accumulated under the NDC government from 2009-2016.

It was also alleged that the erstwhile Mahama administration inflated the cost of infrastructural projects to the dismay of discerning Ghanaians, including the likes of former NDC cabinet minister, Collins Dauda.

If you may recall, the Honourable Collins Dauda once decried inflated prices and low-quality government projects.

Regrettably, a chunk of Ghana’s scarce resources was wasted on dubious judgement debt payments, purported to be around GH800 million, including the GH51.2 million to Woyome, $30 million to Waterville and $325,000 to Isofoton which resulted in the drastic reduction of capital expenditure, and as a consequence, most contractors were not paid by the erstwhile NDC administration.

Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to mismanagement and wanton 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.

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 (World Bank, 2016).

Unfortunately, Mahama’s government could not mobilise our revenues efficiently as the likes of former President Mahama’s brother, Ibrahim Mahama, was alleged to have evaded import taxes to the tune of GH12 million.

Besides, it was alleged that Mahama’s administration wilfully misapplied a $175 million loan facility secured in 2012 which was to provide seven district hospitals.

The good people of Ghana were shocked to the bone when over GHC200 million SADA funds invested in trees burnt down and guinea fowls mysteriously flew to nearby Burkina Faso without a trace.

It is well-documented that “during the year 2001, just before the NPP administration took over, debt as a percentage of the GDP was not only unsustainably high and crippling but also deprived Ghanaians of money which could have been used for needed developmental and social projects”.

The fact though, is, the benefits of the HIPC were “unprecedented during the Kufuor’s regime from (2001-2008).

Macroeconomic indicators began to stabilize and Ghana’s debt stock was significantly reduced by about $4 billion within that period (BOG).

There were Rapid infrastructural developments as well as social and policy reforms. Ghana was then moved from a HIPC economy to a middle-income economy under the Kufuor administration (Mutaka Alolo, 2012).

By the end of 2008, Ghana's economy had quadrupled to US$28 billion, a period of eight years under the NPP administration. The average GDP growth of the NDC from 1993-2000 was 3.8% while that of the NPP from 2001-2008 was 5.2% with economic growth reaching 6.3% in 2007 (Daily Guide, 2016).

Ex-President Mahama, as a matter of fact, did not work his socks off to improve the socio-economic living standards of Ghanaians.

Take, for example, former President Kufuor worked strenuously and quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering GH28 billion in 2008, and the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to GH47 billion by 2011.

However, President Mahama disappointingly dragged the GDP to an incredible GHC40 billion as of December 2016.

Mahama, unfortunately, left a huge economic mess amid stunted economic growth.

Evidently, Ghana’s economy under former President Mahama was not so good. In brief, he wilfully imposed untold economic hardships on Ghanaians.

Indeed, I shivered and sweated profusely over the GH9.5 billion debt former President Kufuor left in 2009 which rocketed to an incredible GHC122.4 billion in just five years under Mahama.

Truth be told, I was not convinced of former President Mahama’s capability to lead Ghana again when he woefully shrunk Ghana’s GDP from GHC47 billion to GHC40 billion in five years.

In fact, there was nothing absolutely wrong with any patriotic Ghanaian raising concerns about Mahama’s leadership qualities when he abysmally dragged an economic growth of around 14 % in 2011 to a squeamish 3.4 % as of December 2016.

Truth be told, Mahama could not have been an economic Messiah when single-digit inflation in 2012 was reversed to double figures by 2016(15.8%) under his leadership.

Of all the numerous scandals that occurred during Mahama’s administration, the most telling was the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.

We cannot also deny or ignore the fact that for well over four years, dumsor unfortunately crippled businesses as a result of the mismanagement of the economy by the erstwhile Mahama administration.

The dumsor was so irritating to the extent that my uneducated, albeit reflective-thinking mum, who had a soft spot for NDC, underwent a carefully considered reflection and graciously detached herself from the Umbrella fraternity.

But despite Mahama’s coarse leadership, the NDC faithful would never agree with some of us for persistently criticising their beloved leader.

The truth is, His Excellency former President John Dramani Mahama cannot steer Ghana into the ‘promised land’.

The good people of Ghana, therefore, made the right decision by retiring His Excellency John Dramani Mahama during the 2020 general elections.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu