MAJORITY LEADER Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has warned Ghanaians to be wary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s propaganda messages which claim they are better managers of the economy than the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to him, much as the government admits that the Ghanaian economy has come under some distress, the NPP has a better track record in the management of the economy than the NDC.
Contributing to the statement on the 2022 mid-year budget review in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, “We have the track record of lifting the country from the doldrums.”
“The NDC has the track record of afflicting the economy with halting disease, and when we enter the scene we provide the gustation that the economy needs,” he stated, and added, “Don’t be deceived by fancy talkers as action speaks louder than words.”
“The government that met the GDP growth rate from 3.4% in 2016 and doubled it in the first year, knows how to stabilise the system,” he asserted, as he extolled the Akufo-Addo government for its achievements.
Doing analysis of the country’s economy, the Majority Leader said under the Mills/Mahama administration, the Cedi depreciated from GH¢1.2 in 2009 to GH¢4.30 by December 2016.
“That depreciation was about 260% over the eight-year period, giving an average depreciation of 32% of the Cedi.
“In the three COVID-19 years under Akufo-Addo, the depreciation of the Cedi averaged 10.1% as against 32% annually. Can’t you see these things and speak to them?” he asked rhetorically.
He continued, “Even today, it is GH¢7.8 to a dollar. That even the twin devils of COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine conflict had a cascading effect on the country’s economy, the rate of depreciation of the Cedi for the five and half years of Akufo-Addo’s government is 81.4%, which gives an average 15% depreciation p.a. against the 32% p.a. under the NDC.”
“People of this country know who the better managers of the economy are. Speaker, action speaks louder than words, and I believe people of this country will not be deceived by fancy talkers.
“Even 2024, the strength of the economy will allow people to make informed choices based on relevant information and not propaganda,” he posited.
Stock of Public Debt
The Majority Leader asked the NDC to bring sincerity and clarity on the stock of public debt, saying, “Let’s cut out the propaganda. In December 2008 when Kufuor was leaving office, the public debt stood at GH¢9.5 billion.”
“For eight years under Mills and Mahama, the debt escalated to GH¢122 billion. In other words, the debt stock had risen by 1,184%.
“On the average, the annual rate of debt accumulation was 148%. Under Akufo-Addo, the public debt has scaled up from GH¢122 billion to GH393 billion,” he submitted.
He continued, “Mr. Speaker, the GDP has expanded to GH¢591 billion. That means the debt to GDP is 66%. Any student of economics can do this arithmetic, and yet we have people say it is 76%.”
He said, “Such people are fast looking at the debt stock and yet they take blinkers on when they have to appreciate the extent of GDP growth. It is not 90% (debt-to-GDP) as the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee said.”
“These are facts. It is important to say that this translates into a yearly debt accumulation of 43%,” he further noted.
He explained that “it is important to state that the NDC public debt accumulation of 1,184% over and above what they met is what resulted in the net freezing of employment.”
“My colleague, the Minority Leader was once the Minister for Employment and he knows that there was a net freeze on employment because of the poor management of the economy then.
“Today, we have increased employment into public space by close to 300,000. About 93,734 teachers have been recruited, about 100,000 health professionals have been recruited,” he disclosed.
According to him, the escalation of the public debt under the NDC caused what “my colleague, the Minority Leader described them as ‘adum duma dum dum’. It was the poor management of the economy that resulted in that. There was no COVID-19; there was no Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
“For four years, because of shambolic management of the economy, black board chalks could not be procured for students. And it took the Second Lady at the time to cry out to teachers that they were not going to supply them with chalks; the teachers should make their own arrangements to have chalks procured for them to enable them to teach,” he recalled.
He said Ghanaians have not forgotten about these issues, touting, “Under Akufo-Addo, teacher trainees have had their allowances restored and Arabic instructors have had their allowances restored.”
BY Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House