Economist Dr. Theo Acheampong is convinced that the government of Ghana has been reckless with its borrowing and expenditure.
According to him, contrary to President Akufo- Addo’s comment that the economy has hit a downturn due to debts accumulated from the previous government, he noted that the current administration is hugely responsible for the sorry state of the economy.
He said that statistics on the country’s debt accumulation indicates a great portion of it was contracted during the current regime.
“If you look at the statement again that the President made that it is worth noting that the debts that we’re servicing were not only contracted during the period of this administration – yes that is true but if you look at it in the final details, a lot of it actually have been contracted during this administration,” he said.
Explaining his assertion, Dr. Acheamong disclosed that the current government has borrowed three times as much as the Mahama administration and “almost about ten times” as much as former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration. This, he says defeats the President’s claim during his delivery of the 2023 SONA in parliament, where he explained that a chunk of the borrowed funds had been channelled into “the unprecedented road construction.”
But Dr. Acheampong has questioned the quality of the roads said to have been constructed with such a huge amount of borrowed money.
“So what is the quality of the roads that have been constructed,” he quizzed.
According to the expert, borrowing is done to also service debt but currently, the country is broke to the extent that “we cannot service our debt.”
He reiterated that data clearly shows that the country has been “on an unsustainable path that has led it down this way,” however, he said there are some positive sides to consider.
He explained that when he takes into account state indicators such as GDP growth, inflation, lending rates, harmony on labour fronts and general sense of security, amongst others currently, he would rate the government 5 out of 10.
He disclosed that in the last couple of years, the country has been exporting more than it imports, saying that the country exported 17.4 billion dollars’ worth of goods and imported just under 15 billion dollars.
Although the country had recorded a positive trade balance which should have shored up its reserves, the “negative outflow from its capital account” has “offset those upflows,” according to the Economist.
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.