Has Akufo-Addo canonized Mahama?


Many Ghanaians were shocked to hear President Akufo-Addo say that Ghana has begun speaking to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for a bailout to bring ‘life’ into the country’s ailing economy.

According to the statement, issued by Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, information minister, the formal decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on June 30, 2022.

Blame on Mahama

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has constantly blamed former President John Dramani Mahama for Ghana’s current economic challenges.

Speaking at a recent event at the Accra Business School, the Vice President indicated that the prevailing difficulties can be attributed to the “quadruple whammy” the government faces – excess capacity payments, banking sector crisis, Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Dr Bawumia listed two of the four factors affecting the economy and were the cause of the previous government as the excess capacity payments and the banking sector crisis, which his government inherited from the Mahama administration.
“COVID-19 expenditures alone were not the reason for the large increase in Ghana’s debt stock by the end of 2021,” Dr. Bawumia said.

Ghana beyond aid

This directive from the presidency is against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s campaign rhetoric of developing Ghana Beyond Aid.

The president’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda officially launched in 2019 is designed to create a “prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of her economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, and that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment.”

Ghana’s ailing economy

Ghana’s economy is currently in a crisis with worsening public debt, rising inflation, high fuel prices, and the depreciation of the national currency, the cedi.

Recent data released by the Bank of Ghana put Ghana’s total public debt stock, as of March 2022, at US$ 55.1 billion (GH¢391.9 billion).

“If you take out the fiscal impact of this quadruple whammy, Ghana will not be going to the IMF for support because our fiscal, debt and balance of payments outlook would be sustainable. Of the four factors, two (COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war) were external and the other two (the banking sector clean-up and the excess capacity payments) were the result of policies of the previous government,” Bawumia insists.

“Let me give you an analogy to make my point. If you ask a carpenter to roof your house and suddenly the roof collapses without any wind or rainfall, will you not blame the carpenter who did the roofing? But if a carpenter roofs your house and the roof collapses because of a tornado and a storm which has also blown away the roofs, windows and walls of many houses, will you blame the carpenter?”, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia justified.

Mahama rebuts

But in a swift rebuttal, former President John Dramani Mahama took a swipe at the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration indicating that the current administration has refused to exhibit contrition and sobriety amid the gloomy economic outlook.

The former President Mahama stated that though economic hardships persist, all the government does is go about putting up “ridiculous and comical” public displays.

He said no amount of buck-passing can wipe away the “irrefutable fact that our present economic situation stems from reckless election-related expenditure, mismanagement, ineptitude, and lack of proper leadership.”

“The highest form of irresponsibility is to shift responsibility to others, and irresponsible leaders are simply not worth the mandate of the people,” Mahama added.

“All our neighbours were also affected by COVID-19 and exist in the same world in which the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is raging. Almost none of them have anywhere near 30% inflation, double-digit deficits, the kind of debt we have, or a debt to GDP ratio of around 90%. None of them has a higher risk of debt default than we do,” Mahama argued.

“The often-cited GH¢25 billion used in the financial sector clean-up are self-inflicted and the result of reckless, politically motivated decision-making,” he stressed.

He said further that the issues concerning the banks and financial institutions’ clean-up could have been resolved with a third of that amount and would have been recoverable in good time.

Our ability to meet our debt service obligations remains tenuous, with Ghana ranked as the country with the second-highest likelihood of debt default in the world after El Salvador,” John Dramani Mahama noted.

At this rate of economic decline, many have already touted Mahama as a prophet and a saint. Already MP Kennedy Agyepong, a staunch Mahama critic has lambasted the Akufo-Addo administration for the IMF decision since it was a key campaign issue.

Beyond that when Mahama declared himself a dead goat for not heeding to calls for the restoration of Nurse and Teacher trainee allowances, the Akufo-Addo campaign capitalised on that called Mahama insensitive. The NPP promised to restore those allowances.

They did.

But now the arrears are mind-boggling.

These issues are now on the lips of everyone even as Mahama laces his boots for yet another run for the presidency in 2024.

Is Akufo-Addo crowning Mahama a saint with his obviously poor record of broken promises?

Author: Ekow Arthur-Aidoo

Source: www.ghanaweb.com


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