The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has, in the past four years, fixed the economic mess left by the erstwhile Mahama administration, created two million jobs in the process while digitising the economy and cleaning up the banking sector, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said, for which he believes the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) deserves a second term in office.
Making a strong case for the re-election of the Akufo-Addo administration in a presentation on Thursday, 26 November 2020 at the University of Ghana in Accra, Dr Bawumia said: “I am aware you need no reminders of the dire economic conditions at the time we came into office”, adding: “You lived and breathed it and bore the human cost of the economic mismanagement that was visited upon us by the Mahama-led NDC government”.
The Mahama government, he said, was fraught with high unemployment rate, poor power supply (dumsor), collapsed health system, among others.
"It was clear that the Mahama-led NDC government had lost its way, failed Ghanaians, and did not have any idea how to get us out of the ditch it has driven us into."
Despite the mess inherited, Dr Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government stabilised and grew the economy, transformed it, created jobs, especially for the youth, as well as modernised, digitised and formalised the economy and further developed an inclusive system to “protect the vulnerable, fight corruption and create a safe, secure environment for citizens and businesses to thrive."
According to him, “prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted all economies in the world, we established the economy. We reduced inflation, doubled economic growth in our first three years, reduced the rate of exchange rate depreciation; the exchange rate depreciation stabilised with Ghana recording the lowest depreciation in the last 28.”
"We have also reduced the fiscal deficit (pre-COVID-19), improved our external payments position, which is stronger today than it was in 2016 (notwithstanding the pandemic). Interest rates are on the decline in line with decline inflation expectations”, Dr Bawumia noted.
Additionally, he said: “We took the decisive decisions to avoid the collapse of the financial sector, save the deposits of 4.6 million depositors and save jobs. Thus far, the government has spent GH¢21 billion to clean up the sector. 99% of depositors of the affected banks, microfinance and savings and loans companies have been fully settled.”
He said: “The relatively strong performance of the economy, among other things, led to Ghana becoming the destination of choice for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in West Africa according to the 2019 World Investment Report by UNCTAD."
According to him, just two days ago, Bloomberg reported as follows: ‘Ghana was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to lower interest rates to counter the virus shock and its economy has performed better than forecast even as the pandemic stalled activity and the oil price slumped’.
Dr Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government did not only seek to stabilise the economy, but they also took steps to transform the nature of the economy by improving agriculture productivity to reduce dependence on food import, adding value to raw materials through industrialisation and reducing the cost of energy and of running businesses and industries in Ghana.
"These we have achieved through Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development and Rearing for Food and Jobs. PFJ has led to a 71% increase in the national production of maize and 34% in paddy rice. Yields per hectare of maize, rice, and soybean have also increased significantly and we now export 19 different food items, including maize, to the rest of ECOWAS countries."
"Again, through the One District-One Factory and strategic anchor initiatives, we are adding value to our raw materials through industrialisation. In four years, 76 companies are in operation and a total of 107 1D1F factories are also under construction. We expect every district to have a factory in the next 2 years."
"We have also abolished or reduced 15 taxes and levies to reduce the burden of taxes on businesses and individuals. This is unprecedented in the history of economic management in Ghana."
"We have also reduced electricity tariffs for residential, business and industrial customers. No government in the history of Ghana has reduced electricity tariffs in net terms during its term of office."
As far as jobs are concerned, Dr Bawumia said: "In 4 years, we have created over two million jobs in the formal sector, including and through government programmes such as NaBCo, (100,000 jobs to unemployed graduates), NEIP, and Planting for Food and Jobs."
"We have also hired nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers, recruited new teachers, police officers, and many others in the public sector after many years of employment freeze under the previous government."
"Over 90% of Ghanaians had no unique identity, there was no working address system, over 70% of the bankable public had no bank accounts, most transactions were cash-based, less than 10% had Tax Identification Numbers, and clearing goods at the port, obtaining a driver's license, passport, renewing your NHIS card, purchasing electricity units, obtaining birth certificates," and many others, were manual and became breeding grounds for corruption as bribes were demanded.
He said the Akufo-Addo government "made the strategic decision to address these chronic problems by digitising the Ghanaian economy as well as the prices of delivery of many government services to increase government revenue, eliminate corruption and ultimately provide public services to citizens more efficiently and more conveniently."
Dr Bawumia noted further that with the successful issuance of digitised national ID cards to 15.5 million Ghanaians in four years, the implementation of mobile money interoperability, digital address system and the digitisation of various government services, the Akufo-Addo government has made significant strides in its digitisation agenda.
Based on the performance he enumerated, Dr Bawumia said: "We ask you to give us four more years because our Government, borne out of the NPP, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has kept faith with you, Ghanaians, by delivering on the commitments we made to you."
"On December 7, remember that we have achieved together, and what, we can achieve together over the next four years, and vote to retain Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President, and for NPP MPs, all of whom are number 1 on the ballot, so we can deliver once again on our mandate.