Presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Mr John Dramani Mahama has churned out what political connoisseurs have described as under valuation of the transformational education policy of free Senior High School (SHS).
The former president accused President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of using all the country’s resources to fund the free SHS, leaving other sectors of the economy to virtually rot.
Mr Mahama said apart from using the bountiful oil revenue President Akufo-Addo inherited to fund free SHS, his “only claim to fame”, there is nothing to show for all the money the President borrowed during his first four-year tenue of office.
The NDC presidential candidate also attacked the Minister for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta for non-performance and “cooking” figures for Bretton Woods Institutions and global rating agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
According to him, Mr Ofori-Atta has proven to be a failure as far as his performance with the economy is concerned, considering the kind of economy he inherited.
Mr Mahama maintained that Akufo-Addo’s “only claim to fame”, is “Free SHS and, so, Free SHS is being funded from the oil revenues but aside from that there’s nothing to show for it and the signs were there that this economy was being mismanaged; first by over-borrowing, over four years he’s gone onto the international market and raised $9 billion and it’s only gone into consumption. You don’t see what it’s been used for”.
He said, “Normally, if you go on the market and you raise money, you use a bit of it to retire your high-interest local debt but you must use some part of it for other important projects that are tangible and that transform the economy but that has not happened”.
Speaking in an interview with an NDC affiliated television station, Woezor TV last Friday, former President Mahama said Mr Ofori-Atta has been “cooking” the books all this while and has managed to “fool” the IMF as well as international rating agencies Moody’s, Fitch and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
IMF Is Hypocritical – Mahama
According to former President Mahama, “The IMF has been a bit hypocritical in all this because the signals have been there. It’s not today that we raised the issue of the Finance Minister cooking the books. He’s been cooking the books over the last four years”.
“What he (Ken Ofori-Atta) does is: he leaves out some big ticket budget items and puts them as footnotes so that he can get a better fiscal report to give to the international community.
“He’s used it to fool the IMF, he’s used it to fool Moody’s, Fitch and all the rating agencies, he’s used it to fool the Economist Intelligence Unit, all of them, by giving a rosy picture that they are better economic managers but with the kinds of resources we left him, I’m surprised and shocked at his very abysmal performance”.
NDC bequeathed better economy
According to him, Mr Ofori-Atta should have built a better economy from what he inherited rather than ran it down the way he has done.
“We managed this economy with one oil field, the Jubilee field if you remember. At the time we were leaving office, we had completed two more oil fields that virtually tripled revenues from oil. With that kind of extra revenue, one could just imagine what they could have done in terms of transforming this economy but they’ve not been able to.
“I mean, you can see everywhere, there’s nothing to show for it”, he noted.
Former President Mahama claimed that if the economy were as sturdy as the Akufo-Addo government had led the world to believe, it would not have crumbled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The thing is if you have an economy, it must have sufficient buffers and, so, if you say: ‘This was the best economy in African’ and he was the best Finance Minister and the economy was resilient, why is it that just one pandemic and your economy is already in ICU?”
“Cote d’Ivoire is not in ICU, Rwanda is not in ICU, all the other countries are managing, somehow, but your economy is comatose. We are not going to grow. It’s estimated we’ll grow below one per cent. Other countries are growing at 3, 4 per cent, of course, their growth forecasts have come down but we have come down to zero.
“You’ve borrowed almost 11 billion because of COVID, we don’t know how you’ve administered it, you’re giving the stimulus package to your party chairmen and all that, you’ve taken their MoMo numbers and you are sending it to them. You’re using NBSSI to try and give money to people to politically influence them for elections, I mean this government has been a disaster; seriously, and I’m sure the day will come when Ghanaians will realise it.
“They use propaganda to hoodwink the public that they’ve done so well, ‘we’re the best economic managers’.
Businesses in Ghana
The NDC presidential candidate also alleged that businesses are collapsing in the country due to bad management of the economy.
“Just speak to the business community, people are struggling, not because of COVID, even before COVID.
“I spoke to some businessmen who are not NDC, they’ve always voted for NPP and when this government came into office, they said their businesses are struggling.
“I mean the amount of profit they used to make under NDC has suddenly collapsed, they are struggling to pay their workers and they are just trying to keep their businesses afloat because they hope that there will be a change and that better times will come in the future”, Mr Mahama maintained.