‘You’re racing against time to fix crippled economy, consult- Mahama to Akufo-Addo
Former President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated his call on the government for an urgent and constructive dialogue among stakeholders with the view to fashioning out a robust set of policy responses to the economic challenges facing the nation before the economy gets to the point of no return.
According to Mr Mahama there is no dispute that the Ghanaian economy is in deep crisis marked by huge budget deficits, an unsustainable public debt, rising inflation, a rapidly depreciating currency, ever rising cost of living and a loss of confidence by both domestic and international investor communities.
The effects of these, Mr Mahama said, have been severe hardships and suffering for the people of Ghana, especially those within vulnerable groups.
“As a result of the horrendous low point we have now reached, it is very clear that urgent intervention is required to avert a total collapse of the economy,” Mr Mahama said in a statement.
Yet, he bemoaned that President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Head of the Economic Management Team, rather “appallingly, remain nonchalant in the face of this serious crisis and have limited their response to the imposition of very harsh and regressive tax measures, one of which is the E-Levy, which has been roundly rejected by the people of Ghana.”
Mr Mahama noted that like one drowning and yet clutching at mere straw to stay afloat, “this government has banked all its hopes on the E-Levy, which, given the gravity and depth of the problems that have beset our economy, is neither adequate nor viable as a sustainable response to the crisis.”
The statement said “in the face of this serious crisis, government has also resorted to unhelpful political posturing over suggestions on how to stem the downward spiral, ensure discipline and help the economy to recover.”
According to Mr Mahama, it is painfully obvious that beyond the “ill-conceived E- Levy,” the Akufo-Addo administration has “no viable or credible plan of action to get us out of the current economic doldrums into which they have plunged us; meanwhile, there can be collective buy-ins from the Ghanaian people, development partners and the investor community that are being ignored.”
“How come we do not have a much needed Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan that would lay down a firm blueprint for fiscal consolidation in the face of a worsening economic situation”? he quizzed.
The former president stressed that the government must as a matter of urgency, borrow a leaf from his approach toward the challenges he faced in 2015.
He said: “We immediately convened the Senchi Economic Forum at which we tapped the brains and expertise of a wide variety of knowledgeable people and stakeholders and built a consensus on our economic plan going forward.
“The knowledge shared at Senchi crystallized into our Homegrown Fiscal Consolidation Programme, which we eventually presented to the IMF for support. The IMF agreed entirely with our homegrown strategy whose implementation restored stability to the economy and laid the strong foundations that this government, just as the World Bank in 2016 forecasted, profited from between 2017 and 2020.”
Mr Mahama noted that but for the profligacy and also the reckless election related expenditure in 2020, “which undermined all the progress that had been made, our economy would not have taken the catastrophic nose-dive it has taken and left us all reeling under hardship.”
He alleged that the Akufo-Addo administration in 2020/21 received and misapplied the largest windfall or bailout in Ghana’s history: a $1 billion concessional facility from the IMF, another $1 billion in SDR allocation, $430 million from the World Bank, $250 million from the Stabilization Fund, Gh¢10 billion from the Central Bank amounting to a total of about Gh¢33 billion.
He described as a pity that today, the NPP’s entire economic plan hinges on the passage of an E-levy expected to raise a little over Gh¢6 billion.
He advised the government to swallow what is left of its pride and create a platform for urgent and constructive dialogue among stakeholders with the view to fashioning out a robust set of policy responses to the economic challenges “before we get to the point of no return.”
Mr Mahama said the NDC stands prepared to aid in the salvage effort because inaction is not an option in the face of disaster, adding “the clock is ticking very fast and the time to act is now.”
Source : africaneditors.com