Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, good afternoon. We are honored to have you visit the National Democratic Congress headquarters once more, and we are grateful for the chance to discuss issues that are important to our country with you.
We appreciate your ongoing cooperation as the fourth estate of the realm as always, and we see you as important allies in our shared fight for transparency and sound government.
Our discussion with you today will center on the consistently worsening living conditions of the Ghanaian people and the callous way in which our nation’s responsibility bearers have handled them.
Friends in the media, you would all concur with me that the current state of Ghana is not normal, and that all of us gathered here today, including you in the media, are having trouble going about our daily lives as usual. In Ghana today, it is actually more difficult to make ends meet than to carve water from a rock or perhaps for a camel to fit through a needle’s eye.
You will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the economic realities of Ghana today, no matter how hard you strive or how well you have learned to live. The cost of life is intolerable nowadays, which causes many people to go hungry and to break up their marriages. Many people also fall deeper below the poverty line. The price of doing business has skyrocketed, suffocating many enterprises in the process.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is important to note that widespread hardships are not a recent occurrence in our nation. However, the present economic woes facing Ghanaians are unprecedented in scope and intolerable in their effects.
All known economic indicators as well as the Consumer Price Index, which is used to measure inflation and fluctuations in the cost of goods and services, indicate that the current economic climate is not normal. However, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumiah administration is unwilling to help the people who are in need.
The government hasn’t showed any empathy for the Ghanaians who are suffering from this terrible pain, nor has it shown any foresight or ability to ease the enormous economic woes. Unfortunately, as continual economic hardship is wreaked upon the Ghanaian people on a daily basis, the center cannot hold, to paraphrase one of Africa’s most celebrated novelists, Chinua Achebe.
Distinguished media friends, in order to put the concerns in the appropriate context, it is necessary to paint a picture of the state of our economy at this point. As a result, I cordially welcome you to accompany me on a tour of the current Akufo-Addo/Bawumia economic landscape.
Friends in the media, the rate of inflation is the most accurate predictor of the average change in prices of goods and services over time. As of June 2022, the inflation rate, which was 15.4% in December 2016 and is now galloping to a staggering 30%. The subregion’s worst inflation rate, as well as the worst inflation rate Ghana has seen in the previous nineteen (19) years, is at present.
One may have anticipated that this midyear time would at least provide the government a chance to start slowing the rate of inflation that is now on the rise. Unfortunately, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had just last week presented the august House of Parliament with the 2022 Mid-year Budget Review Statement, in which he forecasted an end-of-year inflation rate of 28.5 percent.
This indicates that President Akufo-Addo, his vice Alhaji Bawumia, and their capable finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta have given up trying to stop the current trend of inflationary pressures and have instead thrown their hands in the air in despair.
Simply put, there is no end in sight to the agonizing economic troubles and misery we are currently experiencing. They will last the rest of the year. Under the current rebased economic system, projecting an end-of-year inflation rate of 28.5% highlights the Economic Management Team, led by Vice President Alhaji Bawumiablatant ,’s incompetence, stupidity, and pointlessness.
Sadly, the Akufo-Addo administration continues to give lip service to the issue of rising inflation while simultaneously providing very little in the way of leadership, vision, and aggressive measures to address the inflation drive factors. Friends in the media, it is common information, even among the uninitiated, that the currency rate, fuel prices, and payments, among other things, are the key reasons driving up inflation and to a significant extent the economic problems we are currently facing.
The way a government handles these three (3) issues has a significant impact on its capacity to control inflation and enhance overall economic prosperity, among other things. We therefore focus on these elements in this section.
Distinguished men and women of the inky brotherhood, price increases for gasoline at the pump now occur often, sometimes twice or three times per week. This situation has been largely brought on by the ongoing depreciation of our national currency, the Ghana Cedi, which has been happening under the watch of Alhaji Bawumia, the self-described economic expert and comedic IT champion for the NPP. There is no denying that, due to their direct impact on transportation costs, fuel prices have a knock-on effect on the costs of a wide range of goods and services. As a result, as gas costs continue to rise, everything starts to suffer.
Contrary to what President Akufo-Addo, Alhaji Bawumia, and their numerous government apologists would have us think, the five-month-old war between Russia and Ukraine has very little to do with the recent, exorbitant spikes in fuel prices.
On the contrary, it is mostly a result of the Cedi’s ongoing devaluation against its main trading currencies, particularly the US Dollar. This is merely a result of the fact that the fuel we utilize in the downstream sector is imported.
The US dollar now exchanges hands with the Cedi at around GHS9, down from GHS4.2 in December 2016. Most Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have seen a decline in capital as a result of this.
The only choice left to these struggling businesses is to pass on the negative effects of the depreciation of the currency to the final customer. This is primarily responsible for the ongoing, outrageous price hikes at the pump that have brought the cost of a gallon of diesel from around GHS14 in December 2016 to as high as GHS60 at this time. In actuality, the cost of a liter of fuel now, which is GHS13.3, is nearly identical to the cost of a gallon of diesel in the year 2016—GHS14. Our is how terrible things have gotten in this nation as a result of the Bawumia-led Economic Management Team’s poor leadership.
FUEL TAXES THAT CRAPPLE
Distinguished Members, You all probably remember the solemn promise made by Alhaji Bawumia and President Akufo-Addo to transition Ghanaians from taxation to production. It goes without saying that this pledge, like others of a similar nature, has now proven to be a pipe dream, as we have instead moved from increased taxes to increased taxation without any effort or commitment on the part of this government to lower the amount of tax payments in the nation. This government has imposed a number of pointless taxes on the increase in fuel prices, unlike anything that has ever been done before, instead of propelling us toward production as they had promised.
BORLA TAX (SANITATION LEVY)
The 10 pesewas Sanitation Levy that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government imposes on every litre of gasoline and diesel is one of these levies. Never in our history has a government had to rely on a special fuel tax approach to maintain our environment. We maintain that the implementation of this charge during this period of severe economic hardship is unnecessary, unjustified, and stinks to high heaven of insensitivity on the side of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration.
PETROLEUM SPECIAL TAX (SPT)
The Special Petroleum Tax is another tax that this administration has slightly raised and extended in response to the rise in fuel prices (SPT). The 17.5 percent ad valorem tax was implemented in 2015, when the predicted price of crude oil on the international market fell to $50 from $94 at the time. Therefore, the SPT was a transient tax mechanism intended to support dwindling oil income for development objectives.
You will surely remember how the NPP criticized the former NDC/Mahama government for enacting this tax, referred to it as a nuisance tax, and vowed to repeal it if elected. Akufo-Addo/government Bawumia’s has, in an interesting move since taking office, modified the SPT from an ad valorem tax of 41 Pesewas as of December 2016 to a direct tax of 46 Pesewas per litre of gasoline and diesel.
Insensitive Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government continues to charge Ghanaians a Special Petrol Tax of 46 pesewas on every liter of diesel and gasoline even though the Special Petroleum Tax has outlived its usefulness due to the recent rise in the price of crude oil to as high as $117 per barrel, a situation that has given government huge windfall profits as captured at paragraph 27 of the 2022 Mid-Year Budget Statement.
When the justifications for its adoption are no longer valid, we contend that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government cannot continue to maintain the Special Petroleum Tax on the rise in fuel prices.
LEVIES FOR THE NEW ENERGY SECTOR
Friends in the media, the Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA), which was implemented in 2015 by the former NDC/Mahama government to pay off legacy debts that were crippling the energy sector, is one of the fuel taxes that the NPP, when it was in opposition, vehemently opposed and pledged to abolish if elected. The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration increased the tax between 2017 and 2020 by nearly 30% rather than eliminating it as promised. To make matters worse, this administration used ESLA as collateral for a loan, which increased the tax’s original five-year term to fifteen years, or until 2035.
As if that weren’t enough, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government only just last year enacted new Energy Sector Levy rates of 18 pesewas per kilogram of LPG and 20 pesewas each litre of gasoline and diesel. Again, we argue that it is callous and absolutely wrong to impose these so-called Energy-Sector charges on Ghanaians at a time of tremendous economic distress.
LEVY FOR PRICE STABILIZATION AND REVENUE
Besides the taxes I’ve listed, ladies and gentlemen, there is also the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy, which is 16 pesewas and 14 pesewas per liter of gasoline and diesel, respectively.
which each of us pays as consumers whenever we purchase fuel. When the price of crude oil rises on the global market, as it has recently, this tax is intended to be used to lower the cost of premix fuel and, more crucially, to lower the prices of fuel in the downstream sector for fuel consumers.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has amassed more than GHS3 billion in Price Stabilization and Recovery Levies over the past five and a half years, according to our conservative estimates, which are supported by ACEP’s estimates, but has appallingly failed to use these funds for their intended purpose, which is to cushion fuel consumers.
These crippling fuel taxes, along with other existing margins on the price build-up of fuel, such as the Fuel Marking Margin, which the callous Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government increased by a shocking 200 percent from 3 pesewas to 9 pesewas, and others, have combined with the ongoing depreciation of the Ghana cedi to cause the prices of fuel to be excessively high in Ghana and, in fact, significantly higher than the prices of other fuel in neighboring countries.
THE OBNOXIOUS E-LEVY AND COVID-19 LEVY
Friends in the media, what is even more painful is that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has put some odious taxes on the Ghanaians that have increased the country’s miseries to intolerable levels, on top of the numerous pointless levies heaped on the rise in fuel prices.
The government last year imposed a 1 percent COVID-19 levy on the National Health Insurance Levy on VAT, thereby increasing it from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent and another 1 percent on top of that. This was done after receiving more than enough inflows totaling about GHS35 billion (equivalent to about $5 billion) to manage and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and spending only GHS12 billion of this amount, as reported to Parliament a few months ago.
Friends, our government is punishing us with this offensive and punitive tax that defies all sense of reason at a time when responsible governments around the world are cushioning their citizens in some way to give them some relief against the crippling impact of the pandemic on their businesses and livelihoods.
A calamity of epic proportions has occurred. No government has ever imposed a COVID fee on its citizens anywhere in the subregion, the continent of Africa, or, I dare say, the entire world. Furthermore, no government in Ghana’s history has ever levied a levy on its citizens to pay for the treatment of any sickness.
The heartless Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has stubbornly imposed this year’s punishing 1.5 percent E-levy on momo and other electronic transactions, as if the offensive COVID-19 taxes and widespread public protest weren’t enough. In the run-up to the 2020 general elections, Vice President and Chairman of the Economic Management Team Alhaji Bawumia made a vow to Ghanaians that because Momo transactions are primarily used by the poor, the NPP must not and would not impose a tax on them.
This offensive E-levy, which is levied against Ghanaians’ capital, savings, and already-taxed incomes, violates all accepted tax laws in Ghana. The stealth tax prompted many people to devise clever ways to avoid using digital platforms for financial transactions, which drastically decreased the amount of momo transactions and served as a strong deterrent to Ghana’s digitalization. It’s understandable why the government has only collected a pitiful GHS93 million today compared to the predicted GHS1.4 billion in tax revenue for the first half of 2022.
It has now become clear that the E-levy is not the miracle cure for Ghanaians’ economic difficulties as we were told by the dishonest and naive Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, just as we in the NDC argued and predicted during the debate over its passage. The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has lowered his too ambitious end-of-year E-levy objective from GHS6.9 billion to approximately GHS640 million, which we doubt would ever be realized, after demonstrating dismissive and stonewalling attitude.
Even stranger and more pitiful is the fact that, although being exempt under the E-Levy Act, the counterproductive E-levy is occasionally imposed on the first GHS100 sent by some Ghanaians to their loved ones in a day. All well-meaning Ghanaians should protest this blatant theft being committed by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government against already impoverished taxpayers.
EXCHANGE RATE CONTINUALLY DETERMINING DUE TO WORSENING FISCAL POSITION
Further consideration is necessary due to the significant impact that our poor exchange rate continues to play in causing inflation. Friends in the media, the NPP has now realized that the Cedi has its own mind and cannot be controlled or tamed by empty talk and sloganeering as it continues to stutter pitifully against all of its major trading currencies and has recently been rated as the worst currency among top African currencies after depreciating by over 17 percent this year.
My fellow citizens, there is no doubt that this government has been the most fortunate and well-equipped government in the fourth Republic’s history. Three oil fields with record oil revenues were left to them by the previous Mahama administration.
Since gaining independence, they have borrowed more money than all other governments combined and have had access to over $11 billion in Eurobonds alone, as opposed to the $3.7 billion and $750 million in Eurobonds borrowed by the NDC/Mahama government and the NPP/Kufour administration, respectively.
This indicates that despite having more access to foreign exchange or dollars than any other government in Ghana’s history, the current administration has utterly failed to keep the country’s currency stable as a result of their wastefulness and poor economic management.
The massive capital outflows from our nation brought on by our low credit ratings and the decline in investor confidence in our economy are the main cause of the alarming rate of depreciation of the Ghana cedi. In simple terms, our ever-ballooning Public debt and budget deficit as a country has now reached unsustainable levels due to the reckless spending and excessive borrowings of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.
In 2020, under the pretext of combating COVID-19, the government embarked on an election-driven spending spree that resulted in an extraordinary budget deficit of 15.7%. The confessions of Felicia Tetteh, the NPP’s vice chairperson of the northern region and 2020 candidate for the Sagnarigu constituency, were recorded and provide clear evidence of how COVID-19 cash were distributed to NPP party officials and apparatchiks in the name of COVID-19 relief. This carelessness is what has led the nation to the bottomless abyss in which we currently find ourselves.
Due to President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia’s excessive and consumption-driven borrowing, Ghana’s overall public debt has increased from GHS120 billion in December 2016 to a staggering GHS393 billion in June 2022. This implies that in only the previous five and a half years, this government has added a staggering GHS273 billion to our national debt with virtually nothing to show for it. Due to these factors, our debt to GDP ratio (rebased) has climbed from 56 percent in 2016 to above 80 percent, and debt servicing costs have soared by 500% from GHS11 billion in 2016 to GHS50 billion in 2022.
Under the leadership of the Bawumia-led Economic Management Team, Ghana’s economic situation has drastically worsened to the point where our nation’s entire tax revenue is now going into just one budget line item: debt servicing. For instance, tax income collections for the first quarter of this year were roughly GHS12 billion, while debt servicing was nearly GHS13 billion. In other words, for the first quarter of 2022 alone, debt servicing consumed roughly 107 percent of tax income.
Due to the recklessness and poor fiscal management of the Bawumia-led Economic Management Team, the risk of debt default has significantly increased, our credit ratings have gotten worse, we have lost access to the capital market, and there have been significant capital outflows from the economy, all of which have caused the Cedi to depreciate at a very alarming rate.
Ghana is actually ranked number two (2) on Bloomberg’s most recent Sovereign Debt Vulnerability Ranking, which was released a few days ago. Ghana has been assessed as having the second-highest danger of a debt default among all nations.
We barely outperformed El Salvador, a nation of 6.8 million people that has recently struggled economically as a result of making Bitcoin its official currency. What an improbable accomplishment the Bawumia-led Economic Management Team has achieved. The NPP do really got the men—what a strong team!
Ladies and gentlemen, until the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government learns to live within its means and cut their coat according to the size of their cloth; until they drastically cut spending, reduce their rate of borrowing, and reduce their debt accumulation; until they stop making unrealistic fiscal projections based on cooked data, our fiscal position will continue to deteriorate, investor confidence in our economy will continue to decline, and the alarming rate of capital outflows we are currently experiencing will only increase.
EMPLOYMENT SITUATION GETTING WORSE
Distinguished members, You are all probably aware of how bad the unemployment situation is in our nation right now. This is a government that was elected in 2016 on the strength of a job-creation pledge. However, this promise has merely resulted in platitudes and pretentious sloganeering, with hardly any real jobs being created.
It is interesting to note that, according to the most recent Population and Housing Census conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service, the jobless rate climbed from 8.4% in 2016–2017, as reported by the Ghana Living Standards Survey 7 (GLSS7), to 13.4% in 2021.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has created phantom jobs through their so-called flagship programs, including One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam, Planting for Food and Jobs, NABCO, “Ghana Cares Obatampa,” and now “Youth Start,” after inheriting an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in 2016/2017. A staggering 13.4 percent unemployment rate is the end outcome of all of these factors.
The YouStart program, the most recent of these huge false phrases, has also proven to be a complete failure. It was intended to be a $1 billion investment for the development of one million entrepreneurial employment. Only 46 people and 8 associations have gotten support under the so-called “YouStart” program thus far, according to the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement that the Finance Minister only just last week submitted to Parliament.
To make matters worse, trainees in the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) program who were laid off and told to join the inoperative YouStart program were owed nine (9) months’ worth of allowance arrears by the government and were deceitfully promised permanent integration into the Public Service by the government.
Even stranger is the fact that employees of defunct financial institutions and banks have yet to receive their severance payments, while the private sector, which is meant to be the engine of growth and job creation, continues to suffocate under the burden of exorbitant operating costs, resulting in numerous job losses.
Misplaced government priorities
Distinguished media colleagues, one of this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government’s major “sins” is their wrong priorities, which have emphasized government spending over the past five and a half years. Look no further if you’ve been wondering what the approximately GHS 500 billion in tax income, borrowed monies, Eurobonds, oil profits, and donor cash that have accrued to this government were used for.
You will be horrified to learn how this administration continues to squander limited public funds on profligacy, corruption, misguided priorities, and other financial irregularities if you simply look at the Auditor General reports from 2017 to 2020.
President Akufo-Addo continues to fly around the world in incredibly expensive and opulent private jets like an Arabian King at a cost of $20,000 per hour to the already struggling public even in these dire economic times.
Fellow citizens, it is completely unacceptable that the government will continue to waste the meager resources available to it when it cannot afford to print textbooks for basic school students three years after implementing a new curriculum, when secondary schools, nursing schools, and other higher education institutions are experiencing severe food shortages, and when many Ghanaians are only able to afford one square meal per day.
The rental of opulent private jets for the President and other excessive expenses will continue to be paid for by the government with the minimal resources of the state.
THE GOVERNMENT’S REASONS FOR THE COVID-19 AND THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we are all too familiar with the myriad justifications put forth by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia-led administration and their numerous apologists for throwing our nation into this unheard-of economic catastrophe.
This government has sought to blame COVID-19 for everything in Ghana today, even when the sun doesn’t rise, despite having greatly benefited from COVID-19 inflows. We acknowledge that, like all other nations, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have had a detrimental impact on our economy, but these are not the main causes of the financial catastrophe we are currently in.
To be clear, the current economic crisis is neither the result of the COVID-19 epidemic or the five (5) month old Russia-Ukraine war. And we say this for the reasons listed below:
1. Prior to COVID-19, Ghana’s economy had already begun to experience significant difficulties. The country director for the World Bank has said unequivocally that our economic issues lasted long before the COVID-19 problems. For instance, prior to the Ghanaian COVID-19 recording in March 2020;
I) From GHS120 billion in 2016 to GHS225 billion in 2018, the public debt climbed by a nominal GHS105 billion, increasing the country’s debt stock;
II) From 57 percent in 2016 to 64 percent in 2019, our debt-to-gdp ratio increased:
III) Debt servicing now accounts for almost 90% of tax revenue, up from GHS11 billion in 2016 to GHS37 billion in 2019.
IV) The budget deficit hit 7.5% in 2018 and 7.5% in 2019, despite the government’s dubious attempt to hide it from the public by claiming it was 4.8. The fact that the 2019 budget deficit was higher than the required level of fiscal discipline, at 7%, is instructive.
V) In 2019, the Ghana Cedi lost 12.9 percent of its value. It was before to COVID-19. Despite the significant difficulties the nation faced, it is important to highlight that the cedi declined by 9.6 percent in 2016.
VI) Even before COVID-19 was reported in this country, the much-heralded 1D1F initiative had seen a decline in the manufacturing sector’s growth rate from 7.9 percent in 2016 to 6.5 percent in 2019. The growth rate for the construction sector also decreased from 8.4 percent in 2016 to -8.5 percent in 2019.
2. The COVID-19 pandemic has had some detrimental consequences on Ghana’s economy, but overall, the impact on tax collections has been minimal. The Ghana Income Authority collected GHS43.9 billion in tax revenue in 2019 prior to COVID. When COVID hit in 2020, the government forecast tax collection of GHS47.2 billion, amended it to GHS42.7 billion, and then collected a total of 45.3 billion at the end of the year, exceeding its revised target.
The government expected GHS57.055 billion in tax income in 2021, but it actually received GHS57.32 billion, or GHS265 million more than expected. In summary, unlike other nations, Ghana has consistently experienced high growth in tax collection despite the implementation of COVID-19.
3. The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration had close to GHS35 billion cedis (about $5 billion) to manage and lessen the effects of COVID-19, but the majority of that money was wasted on election-related costs. Our counterparts, such as Côte D’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, etc., did not receive as much funding as US$5 billion to manage the COVID-19 crises in their countries, but they have managed the epidemic and lessened its terrible effects on their countries far better than Ghana has.
4. The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration has benefited financially from three (3) oil fields, whose daily production increased from 70,000 barrels in 2016 to 170,000 barrels in 2017, along with high commodity (oil, gold, and cocoa) prices on the global market. In sum, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration generated nearly GHS500 billion in revenue over the last five (5) years, as opposed to the NDC/Mahama administration’s pitiful GHS200 billion.
We’ve entered yet another IMF program as a result of their economic incompetence and waste. Any administration that has access to more than GHS 500 billion in revenue and still causes the economy to crash to the point where an IMF bailout is required must be the worst in world history.
5. Ghana is one of the many nations that have been impacted by COVID. The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government borrowed excessively and spent recklessly for election purposes, recording a record-high deficit of 15.7 percent and a Debt to GDP ratio of below 65 percent. In contrast, our peers, such as Benin, Togo, Côte D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, etc., were very responsible in how they spent in 2020 to manage and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their economies, thereby recording deficit. Friends in the media, in the year 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Senegal all posted deficits of over five percent. Burkina Faso’s deficit was the highest, at 5.7 percent. But due to the reckless election-related spending and waste that the NPP-Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government participated in, Ghana alone experienced a deficit of 15.7%.
Was Ghana more impacted by COVID-19 than our neighbors were? Why do none of these nations, who were all impacted by the epidemic, have double-digit deficits or a debt to GDP ratio over 80%? Why aren’t there 30 percent inflation rates in any of these nations? How could COVID-19 and the four (4) month long Russia-Ukraine war bypass attacking Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and our other neighbors, according to Dr. Bawumia, and just target Ghana? Your hunch is just as valid as mine.
Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that the economic disaster we are in today is largely the result of the Bawumia-led Economic Management team’s careless spending, excessive borrowing, and shabby economic mismanagement.
Friends in the media, you may talk all day about the economic problems that Ghanaians are currently experiencing and still have room to cover the tale of the government led by Akufo-Addo and Bawumia’s disastrous mismanagement of our economy.
The Bumumia-led Economic Management Team’s ongoing mismanagement of our economy has had a variety of unfavorable effects and caused blatant difficulty for the majority of our people. President Akufo-Addo has watched complicitly indolently as Alhaji Bawumia and his cousin, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, have kept the steering wheel until there was no turning back. It was obvious from day one that Ghana’s economic train was bound for a ditch.
This government failed to take corrective action early on and would not regret its recklessness, profligacy, and mistaken priorities in spite of all wisdom, sound advice, and pep talks from us in the Opposition, Civil Society, and you in the media. Our economy is currently struggling and has finally arrived at the IMF’s door.
Just take a trip around one of the local marketplaces at Nima or Mallam Atta to get a sense of how Ghanaians are doing economically right now.
Our economy is currently struggling and has finally arrived at the IMF’s door.
Just take a trip around one of the local marketplaces at Nima or Mallam Atta to get a sense of how Ghanaians are doing economically right now. The price of an Olonka of Gari, which was GHS5.00 in 2016, has increased to GHS14.00, and the price of a Paint Bucket of Tomato, which was GHS8.00 in 2016, has increased to GHS50.00. The price of a bag of cement, which was GHS27.00 in 2016, has increased to GHS62.00, whereas the price of 1.5mm cable metal, which was GHS78.00 in 2016, is is now being sold GHS222.00.
Similar to this, a bag of Pure Water that was formerly sold for GHS1.50 in 2016 is now GHS8.00. A bag of corn went from GHS170 to an outrageous GHS650, and an egg crate went from GHS12 to GHS36. Even regular Kalypo, which then-candidate Akufo-Addo drank for fame in 2016 at a reasonable price of GHS0.50, is now being offered for a staggering GHS2.50.
When kalypo is now being sold at such a steep price, how are parents supposed to be able to maintain their children’s happiness? In spite of rapid inflation, which has lowered peoples’ purchasing power, incomes in Ghana have stayed constant.
The current economic crisis, which is primarily being caused by food inflation, rising fuel prices, and punitive taxation among other things, is being felt most keenly by almost everyone. It goes without saying that parents and households, public sector employees, teachers, and teacher candidates all experience hardship. Both nurses and nursing students are suffering.
Both students and lecturers are suffering. Both drivers and market vendors are hurting. The destiny of NABCO trainees is unknown, and they are suffering. Police personnel are in pain. All Ghanaians are suffering, even you journalists, as a result of the Economic Management Team led by Bawumia’s poor leadership.
The majority of Ghanaians are now aware that President Akufo Addo is unconcerned with the struggles we face. Otherwise, why would he keep appointing more Ministers when Ghanaians want him to reduce the size of his administration?
Additionally, the Minister of Communication is burdening Ghanaians with callous and insensitive burdens related to sim card registration, which, like other policies relating to recent telecom mergers, are merely measures designed to line the pockets of individuals while Ghanaians groan under the burden of hardships.
There will be a day of reckoning, and the callous Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has to grasp that.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND DEMANDS
We in the NDC cannot stand by as our economy teeters on the edge of collapse because we are a responsible opposition and, in fact, a government in waiting. We cannot afford to let the current situation to worsen despite this government’s resistance and its occasionally hostile attitude toward constructive criticism and suggestions.
We thus appeal to Ghanaians to stand with us in requesting that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government take immediate action to alleviate our suffering and contribute to economic stabilization.
Therefore, we demand:
1. The quick repeal of the annoying and useless E-levy Act, which imposes a 1.5 percent tax on momo and other electronic transactions.
2. The immediate removal of the 1 percent COVID-19 penalty tax on the flat VAT rate and the national health insurance fee.
3. the immediate elimination of crippling fuel taxes like the Special Petroleum Tax, which is no longer necessary, the unnecessary Sanitation Levy (also known as the “BORLA” tax), and the new Energy Sector Levy, which imposes a fee of 20 pesewas per liter of gasoline and diesel and 18 pesewas per kilogram of LPG.
4. The suspension of the 9 pesewas BOST margin and the 16 pesewas and 14 pesewas per liter of gasoline and diesel, respectively, Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy, all of which are not being used for the purposes for which they were intended.
5. Ladies and gentlemen, if this government is serious about getting our economy back on track and regaining investor confidence, the final two mysteries that need to be solved are getting rid of the two criminals who are responsible for wrecking such havoc on our economy.
The finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who has demonstrated to be an absolute failure in terms of economic management, is without a doubt first on this list. Our economy has been damaged by the cousin of President Akufo-excessive Addo’s borrowing, which benefits his own business, Databank. Today, the mention of his name scares away potential investors and makes every Ghanaian feel uneasy. The sooner President Akufo-Addo fires his underachieving cousin Ken Ofori-Atta, the better for the economy and all of us. Ken Ofori-Atta has devolved into the equivalent of stale water in a bottle.
According to the esteemed former president Mahama, regardless of our fleeing to the IMF, the only way to start the process of rebuilding, if we are to obtain any good deal from the IMF, is to fire Ken Ofori-Atta immediately and appoint a new, capable leader in his place to oversee the IMF negotiations.
The next crucial action that President Akufo-Addo must do is to remove his jovial Vice President, Alhaji Bawumia, from his role as the leader of the Economic Management Team. In these challenging and crucial times, the once-hailed “solid economic management team” has been reduced to a gaseous group of individuals who have abandoned their positions.
It’s about time our drained, stupid, and inept vice president is finally fired so that fresh perspectives and qualified hands may take the helm of the Economic Management Team at this period of horrific hardships.
Distinguished friends, there is no question that President Akufo-Addo, who has so far shown himself to be independent and resistant to sound advice, might start the process of reviving our faltering economy, which is on the verge of going into coma. Our refuge is in the Lord until that time. God bless our homeland in the future. We appreciate your time.
Sammy Gyamfi Esq.
National Communications Officer, NDC
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication do not in anyway reflect the opinions of State News Ghana