Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Minister for Information

Minister for Information Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has stated that Government’s fight against the novel coronavirus is possible because of the resilient economy it has built in the past few years.

The ability of the Akufo-Addo administration to introduce the various interventions towards the fight against the virus in the country, he reiterated, is largely due to the strong and robust economy it has built since it assumed office in 2017.

Mr Oppong-Nkrumah stated these at a media briefing in Accra yesterday. 

On Sunday, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a policy objective to construct 88 district hospitals in the districts without government hospitals.

He also announced that building of the hospitals for the six new regions is to commence with dispatch in line with this new programme.

A further three infectious disease centres, President Akufo-Addo announced, are to be built in the three belts of the country, namely Northern, Coastal and Middle belts.

However, subsequent to the President’s address to the Nation, pessimists including the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have downplayed the ability of the current administration to fulfil this promise.

They doubt if government can finance the completion of these hospitals and whether or not the country’s economy is resilient enough to afford the COVID-19 interventions including the building of new health infrastructure.

Economy on ventilators-Mahama

NDC 2020 presidential candidate and former President John Dramani Mahama had claimed that Ghana’s economy had been on ventilators barely a month after impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in a live telecast on Thursday, the NDC flagbearer said the Akufo-Addo administration has used propaganda to sell the economy and the current crisis is now exposing them.

“They said the economy has been the best that we have ever had since independence,” Mahama recounted.

“We have not been able to survive even one month,” the ex-president jabbed, adding “if we didn’t run to the IMF for the $1billion rapid credit facility, it is possible that in the next two months probably, salaries would not have been paid.”

He said the economy “is on ventilators and it needs thinking to rescue it from the ICU.”

The former President said when building an economy, it was prudent to have “enough buffers and create fiscal space so that when you are faced with a shock or adversity, you are easily able to overcome it.” 

However, the Minister for Information gave the assurance that “our current economic positioning is a major reason for which we are able to marshal the resources to execute a good number of the interventions we are introducing today.

“And moving forward, the state of our economy will be key in our ability to introduce the necessary interventions to win the various battles in this war.”

Mr Oppong-Nkrumah explained that, “it makes sense why some may question whether or not Ghana can afford all the interventions the President has outlined in the past about 8weeks of the COVID-19 response programme.

“This question is justified because looking at our recent economic position, and the gains made recently as a nation, there is the genuine fear that we may be unable to afford the interventions or may end up overstretched if indeed we push through to execute them all.

“Between January 2017 and now however, Ghana has made major strides in correcting the precarious economic conditions it found itself in. Our Fiscal position has improved and our Macro position has significantly improved. The combined effect of improved fiscal position and improved macro position is what enables us to afford the interventions which are being introduced as part of the COVID-19 response programme.

“We have significantly improved national revenues, trimmed our deficit and yielded a resilient macro position against which we can finance the intervention programs”.