With all due respect and no attached condescension whatsoever, former President Mahama’s recent seemingly bizarre and sustained pronouncements, in fact, give oxygen to our long-held conviction that some of our politicians have a penchant for propagating vile propaganda with a view to scoring cheap political advantage.
In Ghana today, we have politicians in our midst whose well-packed rhetoric only deludes and proselytises millions of unsuspecting Ghanaians.
After attesting to so many political gimmicks and frequent propagation of vile propaganda, many Ghanaians have ceased believing such politicians.
Make no mistake, we do need true leaders. Indeed, we need individuals who have vision, direction, and strength to reach our goals.
The fact of the matter is that Ghana’s economy was in deep tatters under the erstwhile NDC administration, and every honest critic can attest to the fact that Akufo-Addo is steadily fixing the huge mess left by the Mahama’s administration.
In fact, it is quite unreasonable for anyone to argue somewhat bizarrely that facts and figures are not the determining factors of a blossoming economy. How ironic?
How can any trained mind claim somewhat incoherently that Ghana’s economy under former President Mahama (3.4% growth and 15.4% inflation) was better than President Akufo-Addo’s record before the insidious coronavirus (8.6% growth and 7.5% inflation)?
Given the harsh conditions back then, it is boundlessly unconscionable for former President Mahama and his teeming supporters to keep insisting that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is rather messing up the economy.
Some of us, as a matter of principle, can wholly understand the NDC teeming supporters for blatantly denying the conspicuous vast improvement in the economy under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo.
However, it is intellectually incoherent for any economist to gleefully back the seemingly political gimmicks being thrown about by political propagandists.
In fact, it is intellectually dishonest for any economist to assert that the policies such as the ‘IMF Policy Credibility’ under the erstwhile Mahama administration contributed to Ghana’s favourable economic growth.
Whilst some of us are strangers in the economists’ world, common sense will tell us that it is only a failed government that will go to the IMF for policy credibility.
Let us be honest, if the erstwhile Mahama administration built a solid economic foundation from 2009 to 2015, why did the government-run to the IMF for policy credibility sometime in 2015?
Where was the sound economic foundation under Mahama when 14% economic growth in 2011 dropped to 3.4% by December 2016?
How can anyone claim excellence in economic management when single-digit inflation was dragged to 15.4% by December 2016?
What do you call a solid economic foundation when the agricultural sector grew negative consistently?
Where was the favourable economic foundation when the industry sector grew appallingly over the years?
How can NDC operatives beat their chests and claim ownership of a solid economic foundation when the GDP shrunk from $47 billion in 2011 to $40 billion by December 2016?
Where was the sound economic management when the erstwhile Mahama administration spent profligately and invariably raising Ghana’s debt from $9.5 billion in 2009 to a staggering $122.4 billion by December 2016 with a little to show for?
Where was the solid economic foundation when former President Mahama unabashedly claimed that his administration had edaciously consumed all the meat on the bone?
The fact of the matter is that the late Mills left a sound economic growth of 14% and Mahama wilfully reversed it to 3.4%; the late Mills left the agricultural growth of 7.4% and Mahama dragged it to 2.5%; the late Mills single-digit inflation was reversed to 15.4%; GDP of $47 billion shrunk to $40 billion by Mahama.
In fact, no economist can tell us that the well-received policies and programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, One million dollar per Constituency, One District One Factory, One Dam One Village, and tax reductions have not contributed to Ghana’s favourable economic outlook.
The fact of the matter is that Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to the calamitous errors in decision-making under the leadership of Ex-President Mahama.
Take, for example, Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Moreover, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).
It is, however, worth stressing that before the insidious coronavirus, Akufo-Addo’s government efficiently raised economic growth. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 per cent in 2017 compared to 3.7 per cent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).
Indeed, Ghana’s economic growth, just before the pernicious coronavirus, stood at around 8.6% from 3.4% in December 2016.
Interestingly, in the first two years of the Akufo-Addo’s administration, the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 per cent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 per cent and Services 4.3 per cent.
Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 per cent in 2016 to 56.2 per cent in 2017. The sector’s growth rate also decreased from 5.7 per cent in 2016 to 4.3 per cent in 2017.
However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 per cent and Health and Social Work 14.4 per cent.
The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 per cent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 per cent in 2016 to 16.7 per cent in 2017.
The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 per cent in 2017.
The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 per cent in 2016 to 8.4 per cent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 per cent in 2016 to 18.3 per cent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 per cent of GDP.
The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 per cent in 2016 to 4.9 per cent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 per cent, compared with 4.9 per cent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 per cent compared to 9.7 per cent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).
In sum, it is not in Ghana’s interest to look back; forward ever backwards never.
By Kwaku Badu, UK