THE NEW Patriotic Party (NPP), has called on Ghanaians to disregard unnecessary comments from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on the current state of the economy, as these are mechanisms to distract the NPP government from working to rebound the economy.
The Director of Communications of the party said this when he addressed journalists in the first of a series of bi-weekly press conferences at the party’s headquarters yesterday in Accra.
He said in spite of efforts made by the NPP to put the economy on a good footing, its political opponents have consistently made efforts to distract them with unverifiable allegations aimed at causing disaffection between the party and Ghanaians.
He said, “You recall the record turnaround of the poor economy this government inherited from the NDC in 2017 — 3.4 per cent GDP. The NPP government recorded an impressive 7% average GDP growth for three fiscal years — 2017, 8.2%; 2018; 6.5% and 2019; 6.6%. This is the record we pray Ghanaians to have confidence in and support. The NDC has no solutions and cannot make difficult decisions when necessary. The NDC always kicks the can down the road for the NPP to fix it. Our sincere plea is that Ghanaians would continue to support this NPP government because we have demonstrated that we can regenerate the economy.”
He explained that under the current economic situation, the party need to set the records straight on issues surrounding the Domestic Debt Exchange, the Auditor General’s Report, Oil for Gold and other fabricated comments made by some NDC party members.
On the issue of the Domestic Debt Exchange, he said “On December 5, 2022, the Government of Ghana announced the voluntary Domestic Debt Exchange Programme as a debt sustainability measure to exchange about GH¢137 billion worth of Government bonds, E.S.L.A. Plc bonds and Daakye Trust Plc bonds, for a package of twelve new bonds, which are currently being issued. The Domestic Debt Exchange is an invitation by the government for eligible bondholders to participate in a bond swap voluntarily. The debt exchange allows the government to extend the maturity of bonds and lower the average coupon rates to create fiscal space to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio to the stated 55% by 2028.”
According to him, to assuage the feelings and reduce government expenditure as part of some fiscal monetary measures, strong evidence abound that thirteen consequential measures were made in various state institutions, especially in the state-owned enterprises.
“MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs have been directed to reduce fuel allocations to political appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs by 50 per cent. A ban is placed on the use of V8s or its equivalent except for cross-country travel. Only essential official foreign travel across government, including SOEs, shall be allowed. Meetings and workshops should be held within the official environment or government facilities,” he added.
He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to have confidence in the NPP as a party that could make necessary decisions to fix the economy in the face of economic difficulties.
He further mentioned some plans by the party to insulate the economy against future exogenous shocks and pressure.
These plans, he stated, include domiciliation policy to boost forex reserves; pass the tax exemption bill into law; review the free zones area policy to plug leakages and abuses; plug revenue leakages, especially within the extractive sector; focusing on the misdescription and underreporting of imports; securing the country’s borders to forestall the smuggling of taxable goods among several others.
He emphasised that though the party believed that infractions flagged in respect of the GH¢11.8billion must be pursued and recovered where wrongdoings are established.
He, however, said some of these infractions occurred due to some audit protocol breaches in the case of some MDAs, which has led to some expenditures being flagged.
Touching on a video making rounds on social media about a youth organiser in the Ashanti Region who has threatened to unleash harm and kill any NPP member who may prevent the party from winning the 2024 elections, the Communications Director asked the NDC to dissociate itself from the comment, while asking the Ghana Police Service to bring to justice the culprit, to deter others who might be harbouring similar violent and delinquent thoughts in the NDC.
By Ebenezer K. Amponsah