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Mills Doing Well Compared With NDC’s Abysmal Record – John Boadu
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The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) cannot be begrudged for touting the credentials of President J.E.A. Mills as performing creditably, after all the NDC’s previous performance in government was dismal at best, says the NPP.

A former Youth Organiser of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr John Boadu said for a government that presided over a galloping inflation, spiraling interest rates, mounting debt and a free-falling cedi, achieving some micro-economic stability – even if it is spurred by oil revenues and unprecedented increases in taxes – must excite them to the high heavens.

Mr Boadu was speaking on MultiTV’s political discussion programme, Caucus.

He believes President Mills’ performance can only stand when compared with the performance of the previous NDC government from 1993 to 2000, arguing that when compared with what President JA Kufuor achieved in two-and-a-half years of his presidency, Mills’ performance will look stunted.

Regurgitating figures he claimed backed his argument, Mr Boadu said the NPP inherited in 2001, “an economy that was barely four billion dollars – the total GDP of our economy was less than four billion dollars which is less than the expenditure of one department of the Harvard University.”

After his 19 years rule, former President Rawlings and his NDC left a less than $4 billion economy with GDP growth rate averaging 4.1 per cent over the eight years of democratic rule and slumping to 3.7 per cent in 2000 – which was an election year, Mr Boadu said.

He said even though President Kufuor came into office when interest rate was 50 per cent plus, inflation rate 40.5 per cent, the cedi depreciating by more than 40 per cent in 2000 alone, and national reserves stagnating at $233 million, “just within two years, we increased the reserves by over 250 per cent, just within two years. Just within two years, the cedi - that had depreciated over the period to the extent that in just one year, it depreciated by over 40 per cent – depreciated only by 2.1 per cent.”

He said it was a mockery for the government to be touting the stability of the Ghana cedi as one of its achievements, asking “stabilized in what sense?”

“The NPP took over when the cedi was exchanging for 7,000 old cedis (70 Ghana pesewas presently) to the dollar. By the time we were leaving (power), even their (NDC) own manifesto talks about the cedi being exchanged for 10,500 (GHC1,05p) to the dollar. For a whole eight years, the total depreciation of the cedi was only 30 – 35 per cent, the whole eight-year period of the NPP. Now for only two-and-a-half years [that the NDC has been in power], the cedi has depreciated – moved from 10,500 cedis to the dollar to almost 15,000 (GHC1, 50p) now, so what kind of stability are they talking about?” he maintained.

“[But] I’m not surprised,” John Boadu said, “because they are talking about stability in comparison with their performance when they were in power before 2000.”

He said compared with President Mills who is flagging after inheriting a much better economy, his predecessor inherited a country which was as though it was being prepared for sale and yet managed to “consistently move the GDP growth rate from 3.7 per cent to 4.2, from 4.2 to 4.5, from 4.5 to 5.2, from 5.2 to 5.8, from 5.8 to 6.2, from 6.2 to 6.3, then to the highest level, 8.3 after rebasing.”

John Boadu accused a Deputy Information Minister whom he will not name of schooling “his information officers that they are going for an election and that if the government is able to produce sheep, they should go out there and say it is a cow, meaning that if the previous government produced a cow, they will come out here and say it is a sheep.”

The former NPP Youth Organiser expressed regret at what he said was the piling of debt on Ghanaians by the NDC government, rejecting suggestions that NPP similarly borrowed for its development projects. He quoted Page 25, paragraph 96 of the 2009 budget statement as saying that “The total public debt stands at $8.25 billion in 2008,” which for him is “an outstanding improvement on what we inherited in 2001”

“The ratio of gross public debt to GDP declined from 142.6 per cent in 2001 to only 41.1 per cent in 2006. On the dual impact of the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative and the multilateral debt relief initiative, it was 52.1 per cent by December 2008,” he quoted the 2009 budget as saying. But he didn’t end there, Mr Boadu also quoted page 31, paragraph 97 of the 2011 budget; “The total public debt increased from, ‘listen to it very carefully,’ 8,517 billion dollars in September 2009 to 11,247 billion representing 68 per cent of GDP by the end of September.”

Doing his own extrapolation, he said the NDC government had in just under three years increased the country’s public debt by about 40 per cent.

In his view, regardless of the massive infrastructural development undertaken by the Kufuor administration, no Ghanaian was burdened with a penny of debt.

The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Ochere-Darko, who was also on the show repeated his concerns about the quality of debt the nation was taking via the government. He raised questions about Parliament’s capacity and ability to scrutinize loan agreements to ensure the nation gets value for money.

According to Gabby, “Ghana is by no means a poor country, it is poor because of poor leadership.”
Source: myjoyonline.com

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