National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress, Sammy Gyamfi, says the assertion that covid-19 is the reason for Ghana’s ailing economy is unfounded.
According to him, the pandemic had merely exposed Ghana’s already challenged economy.
He argues that the signs of the country’s failing economy were visible long before the advent of covid-19 and hence, the pandemic cannot be blamed for the current economic situation the country is facing.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he stated that the first indicator to how poorly managed the country’s economy was, was the cedi’s depreciation prior to covid-19.
“Before covid our economy was already in a bad state. I am not saying it, the facts show clearly that Ghana’s economy showed signs of serious challenges before covid and Mr. Pierre Laporte, the Country Director of the World Bank is on public record to have stated so.
“Before covid, the cedi had depreciated by over 14% in 2019. In fact, if you read paragraph 61 of the NPP’s own Mid-Year Budget, Ken Ofori-Atta on behalf of President Akufo-Addo says ‘that in the year to December 2019 (that was before covid), the Ghana cedi cumulatively depreciated by 12.9% against the US dollar compared with 8.4% depreciation in 2018. Against the British Pound and Euro, the Ghana cedi cumulatively depreciated by 15.7% and 12.2% respectively.’
“So even before covid our cedi was depreciating at a very alarming rate. Bear in mind that the cedi depreciated by only 9.6% in 2016 when Bawumia and the NPP claimed that the fundamentals of our economy were weak and that is why the cedi was depreciating at 9.6%.
“Now you record an alarming depreciation rate of over 14% in 2019 before covid. So much so that President Akufo-Addo had to set up a 40-member committee to investigate the reasons for the depreciation of the economy. Had we recorded covid-19 at that time? The answer is no, so covid is not the reason for our weak national currency,” he argued.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.