Gov bad economic performance is unpardonable -NPP
From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi
THE ECONOMIC team of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has once again descended heavily on the government of the ruling National Democratic congress for its poor handling of the country’s economy.
The NPP says the government has no justification for its failure to take vast opportunities available to ensure a vibrant and resilient economy that would have benefited businesses and the general population.
The opposition party argues that the inability of the NDC administration to capitalise on the favourable economic conditions, precipitated by the unprecedented rise in oil, gold and cocoa prices on the world market, clearly portrays that it lacks vision and ambition for the country.
Addressing a news conference in Kumasi to state what it describes as the propaganda driven economy of the ruling party, the head of the economic team of the NPP, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, said it was unfortunate that the government of the day was toying with serious aspect of governance like the economy, which has spin-off effects on the lives and development of the people.
The NPP said it was worried about the fact that the NDC and its apologists were patting themselves and throwing dust into the eyes of the people for a mediocre and below expectation economic performance over the past three and so years of its administration.
According to the party, figures available at the Statistical Services clearly indicate a disappointing performance, compared to that of the previous NPP administration. The NPP noted that the economy under His Excellency John Mahama and then Governor Amissah Arthur, now the vice president, could not meet any single target projected for the 2012 fiscal year.
Mr. Osafo Maafo contended that based on the government’s own projection, the economy was expected to grow by 9.4percent in 2012 but they could only achieve 7.1percent.
According to him, the government, through its budget statement delivered to parliament, also estimated amongst other things, to achieve an average inflation of 8.7percent, an end of year inflation of 8.5percent, overall budget deficit of 4.8 and gross reserves of not less than 3months.
He however indicated that none of the estimated figures were achieved, a situation which he attributed to lack of proper and judicious management of the state resources. Mr. Osafo Maafo argued that the then administration of president Kufuor, even without oil and other economically favourable conditions, managed to chalk appreciable figures, far better than the current administration.
“even in 2008, when Ghana was not producing crude oil, the economy grew by 8.4percent under the NPP government, so an expected growth of 7.1 with the arrival of crude in 2012 is unpardonable, to say the least,’ he said. The Mahama/Amissah-Arthur administration cannot gloss over this drastic decline in economic performance, Ghanaians need explanation” Mr. Osafo Maafo added.
The former Finance and Economic Planning Minister further pointed out that the government of the NDC owes Ghanaians as to why Agricultural and industrial growth rates, which are the major backbones of our economy had witnessed consistent declines under their administration.
“THe records are now there for all to see, agricultural rate declined from 7.4percent in 2008 to 7.2 in 2009 and further from 5.3 percent in 2010, 2.8 percent in 2011 and now 2.6, the lowest ever since 2006, this is highly unacceptable and must not be tolerated,” he noted.
The NPP Economic Team further indicated that the NDC administration had made
matters worse for the poor farmers in the country by mismanaging the fertiliser subsidy programme introduced by ex-President Kufuor by diverting inputs to people and individuals who are not supposed to benefit from the policy.
“You and I know that agricultural growth is normally input driven, that is availability of fertilizers, seedlings, insecticides and others affect productivity and growth in the sector but it is now a known fact that agric inputs from Ghana are diverted to neighbouring countries, making the inputs scarce
and at high cost to our poor farmers” the NPP alleged.
The party also accused the government of failing to properly utilise revenues from the oil, arguing that the government had failed to invest the oil money in agriculture and the industry, resulting in the consistent declines in growth of the two sectors.
The accelerated depreciation of the cedi against the dollar which the party argues was due to the abysmal performance of the government economic team, had led to total hardship on the people.
“As clearly stated by Dr. Bawumia during his lecture, the accelerated depreciation of the cedi has made it extremely difficult for industries to plan and finance their raw material inputs, leading obviously to decline in production,” it noted.
It further noted “the borrowing from the domestic market by the government through the treasury bills has further crowded out the private sector generally, including industry and the banking system, the unreliability of energy to industry has further compounded the problem of the industrial sector.”
It, therefore, called on the Ghanaian electorate to critically assess the performance of the previous Kufuor administration and that of the NDC as far as the economy was concerned and makes an informed decision comes December 7.
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