The 2012 vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is suggesting that Ghana's economy is in a troubling and hopeless state.
In what appears to be a shift from legal arguments to 'bread and butter' issues by the NPP after the election petition, Dr. Bawumia told party supporters in Koforidua on a “thank you tour” that the Ghanaian economy is being mismanaged by the Mahama administration.
He points to government’s recent introduction of new taxes, and its inability to settle various statutory payments as the clear evidence.
Dr Bawumia remarked that the management of a country's resources is more important than the mere presence of the resources. He explained, even though the NDC government is benefiting from the oil find it still has "difficulties" paying workers and resourcing institutions.
He said the situation is dire to the extent that the government has now resorted to taxing even condoms.
With the way the economy is being managed, he asked, "have you seen any hope at the end of the tunnel?"
According to him, Ghanaians should not expect anything positive from the NDC government unlike the Kufuor administration which he said inherited a highly indebted country but turned it into a middle income state after eight years.
But Deputy Minister for Finance, Rickets Hagan "Obviously disagreed" with Dr Bawumia. Nevertheless, being a politician he said "you expect him (Bawumia) to say that". He told Joy News government has released over 300 million cedis to be paid into the Common Fund and to settle other arrears.
However, he admitted that the Mahama administration "had short term challenges" when it assumed office; but said a number of medium term measures have been put in place to turn things around.
For instance, problems with the currency, cedi, has been "arrested", he said, adding that when an economy experiences some challenges, it does not mean it is in serious crisis.
Furthermore, issues that have to do with subsidies like petroleum have been addressed, and similar ones like utility is much better now, he said.
The deputy minister said government is targeting 9 per cent national deficit in the short term and hope to bring it down to 6 per cent in the medium term achievable within two to three years. He assured that the government is "aggressively addressing" issues facing the economy.
For Prof. Peter Quartey of Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research(ISSER), University of Ghana, the country experienced power crisis coupled with the election petition "led to economy slow down".
It is therefore unlikely to achieve the growth rate projected in Ghana's budget, he told Joy News, suggesting that as Ghanaians we should be hopeful that strategies put in place by the government succeed.
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