Opinions of Fri, 12 May 201711

Could Akufo-Addo undo the mess within a short space of time?

Apparently, concerned Ghanaians have every right and reason to squall and scold over the numerous errors in judgement over the years which have obviously slackened Ghana’s economic development.

Having said that, I am of the firm conviction that the recent attacks and criticisms by sceptics to the effect that the NPP government has messed, or is messing the economy in barely five months into office are somehow unfair.

For the sake of balanced annotation, I will grub into the NDC’s last two administrations which culminated in an unbelievable economic downslide.

The periodical is largely undergirded by extant literature, experiential learning, theoretical and knowledge-based resources.

If readers will join me on a trip down memory lane, we will agree that when former President Rawlings eight years democratic rule came to an end in 2001, former President Kufuor took over the presidency, following his election victory on 28 December 2000.

It is worth stressing that when former President Kufuor took over from former President Rawlings, debt as a percentage of the GDP was not only unsustainably high but also denied Ghanaians of money which could have been used for essential developmental and social projects.

Take, for example, the average GDP growth of the NDC from 1993-2000 was 3.8% while that of the NPP from 2001-2008 was5.2% (Daily Guide, 2016).

Former President Kufuor nonetheless resorted to pragmatism, exerted dint of critical thinking, worked strenuously for eight solid years, laid a favourable economic foundation and then stabilised the macroeconomic indicators and retired honourably on 7th January 2009.

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, the first time in Ghana’s history (Bawumiah 2016).

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Admirably, though, former President Kufuor’s efforts helped elevated Ghana from an HIPC economy to a middle-income economy.

As it has been prescribed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, he honourably passed on the baton to the late President Mills on 7th January 2009, following his victory in the second round election on 28 December 2008.

I would, however, venture to state that the late President Mills was the most fortunate leader to have emerged in the history of Ghana.

Take, for example, the late President Mills inherited from the NPP government, a total debt of GH9.5 billion and a favourable economic growth of around 8.4 percent in 2009 (BOG 2009).

And what is more, three years after former President Kufuor’s NPP government discovered oil in commercial quantities, the late President Mills turned on the valve at an offshore platform in December 2010 to pump the first commercial oil (BBC 2010).

It is also worth stressing that it was during the late Mills’ administration that Ghana joined the petroleum exporting countries.

And believe it or not, Ghana started exporting crude oil and thus boosted the economic growth.

Predictably, the economy grew from around 8.4 per cent to around 14 per cent by 2011 and Ghana then reached the Lower Middle-Income status (World Bank 2012).

Gratifyingly, Ghana’s GDP grew from $28 billion to a staggering $47 billion in 2011 (BOG 2011).

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Consequently, Ghana was acknowledged as the world's fastest growing economy in 2010 (Economy Watch, 2010).

To his credit, though, the late President Mills prudently continued to improve upon the auspicious economic foundation laid by former President Kufuor and his NPP government.

Obviously, the late President Mills had his infelicities. Yet he was morally ahead of the other corrupt and greedy NDC apparatchiks.

Take, for instance, it is on record that prior to the scandalous Wayome’s judgement debt payment of GH51.2 million, the late Mills warned the ‘create, loot and share’ cabals not to effect payment.

Yet the cabals turned their back on the good old Mills orders and doled out the staggering amount to Wayome, who had no contract with the government of Ghana.

Disappointingly, though, the late President Mills somehow yielded to his appointees' shenanigans and allowed the create loot and share cabals to have their way.

Upon the late Mills capitulation, the conspiratorial plotters started dipping their hands into the national coffers through dubious judgement debt payments and other cloudy deals.

The racketeers even managed to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (reported to be around GH800 million), with a view to creating, looting and sharing.

Unfortunately, President Mills mysteriously departed from life in July 2012.

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As directed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Vice President Mahama was the next in line to take over the presidency.

On assumption of office, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse after the 2012 general election.

Regrettably, though, Ghana’s total debt ballooned astronomically following the unbridled spending in the 2012 general election and the numerous corruption scandals involving GYEEDA, SADA, SUBA, Bus Branding, dubious judgement debt payments and many others.

The Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) for example, estimates that monies lost to corrupt and dubious transactions (GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $250million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee) under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama, amounted to over GHC5billion.

Thus, it did not come as a surprise at all to some of us when President Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed during his recent state of the nation address that Ghana’s total debt has rocketed to a staggering GH122 billion as of December 2016.

So, where is the justification of your criticisms when the erstwhile NDC government wilfully increased a GH9.5 billion debt in 2009 to a staggering GH122 billion, albeit with a little to show for, in just a period of eight years?

How can you persuade some of us to be on your side when the maladaptive NDC government’s woeful errors in judgement shrunk Ghana’s GDP from $47 billion to $37 billion in a little over five years?

How could the NDC faithful claim ownership of excellent economic outlook back then, when you abysmally dragged an economic growth of around 8.4 percent in 2009 to a squeamish 3.6 per cent as of December 2016?

Besides, agricultural growth was around 7.4 percent in 2012, but the erstwhile NDC government reversed it to around 2.5 per cent as of October 2016 (GSS 2016).

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Moreover, the outgone NDC government could not hold on to the late mills “unprecedented” single digit inflation as they somehow managed to move the inflation to double digits (15.8 as of October 2016).

However, barely five months into office, the embryonic NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a little over 12 percent (GSS 2017).

Last but not least, the currency exchange rate was around GH1.65 to 1 U.S Dollar in 2011. But due to the erstwhile NDC government’s poor economic management, the exchange rate took a flight. The exchange rate was around GH4.45 to 1 U.S Dollar as of December 2016.

But once again, due to the NPP government economic team’s common sensible approach to management, the exchange rate stands at GH4.19 to 1 US Dollar as of 10th May 2017 (BOG 2017).

Based on the NDC government’s poor economic management, it would have been devilishly suicidal if Ghanaians voted one more time for the NDC Party in the 2016 general election.

Let us admit, though, the successive NDC governments have proven to be terrible economic managers who can never improve upon the socio-economic standards of living of Ghanaians.

In sum, the critics have every right to speak their piece, albeit they ought to consider holding their breath at some point and give the infant NPP government a little chance to fix the hitherto limping economy to the benefit of all citizens and denizens.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

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