Free SHS was possible because of protection of public purse – Arhin to Mahama

The Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, has rejected former President John Dramani Mahama’s criticism against the way the local economy is being managed by the Akufo-Addo administration.

According to Mr Arhin, President Akufo-Addo has, and continues to protect the public purse to benefit all Ghanains.

Mr Eugene Arhin said on Thursday November 11 that “You all recollect that the president took oath of office on 7th of January 2017 and again on 7th of January 2021 and on both occasions, he pledged to protect the public purse. That is exactly what he has done and continues to do.

“The transformation that has taken place in all aspects of our national life point to an economy that has been well managed, a public purse that is being well protected and the benefits are showing.

“Indeed, if president Akufo-Addo had superintended over the wanton dissipation of the public funds, firstly, the Ghanaian people would not have reposed confidence in him barley 10 months ago by returning decisive margin of victory for him in the 2020 elections.

“The free SHS which guarantees a minimum of senior high school education for all Ghanaian children and has already granted access to some 400,000 children would not have been possible if the public purse was not being protected.”

His comments come after Mr Mahama had accused President Akufo-Addo if mismanaging the local economy.

Mr Mahama had blamed the hardships Ghanaians are going through on what he says is the mismanagement of the local economy by Mr Akufo-Addo.

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According to him, the present economic decline is more shocking when viewed against the backdrop that this administration has been the most fortunate government in the history of Ghana in terms of the quantum of resources received.

Speaking at a forum in Accra on Wednesday November 10 as part of his thank you tour of the region, he said “The tragedy of our current national situation is that we have a government that appears completely unwilling to acknowledge the problems and even begin the process of addressing them. We are instead confronted with an administration that believes that these major problems can be wished away through PR, sloganeering, divisive rhetoric, populism, and plain political deception.

“Take our present economic state for example. At a time when everyone is crying out over the excruciating hardships brought on by excessive taxation, ever increasing cost of living, weekly fuel price increases, this government chooses to recite a hackneyed mantra, that there are indicators that show that the economy is doing well.

“Even if we were to overlook the mismatch between these claims and the very visceral suffering and pain people are going through in their daily lives; it beggars belief, that the same people saying this were only six years ago, dismissing any linkage between the welfare of Ghanaians and economic indices.

“They said, then, that they had visited markets and were not experiencing single digit prices as the inflation rate then would dictate. They insisted then, that the best way to measure the strength or otherwise of the fundamentals of the economy was to look at the exchange rate, for its depreciation would expose the weakness therein. These days however, even as the exchange rate depreciates to very worrying levels, they say we have strong economic fundamentals.

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“Beyond these spirited linguistic acrobatics, the plain truth, which we all see and feel, is that the Ghanaian economy is in deep crisis. At the micro level, we feel the heavy impact of a troubled economy when we go to the market and find prices of basic items rising with alarming rapidity. We also feel it when we go to the fuel station and find that the already high price of fuel has been
increased again.

“We further feel it when our rents are increased or when we get onto the trotro and find that fares have gone up because of increases in fuel prices. Importers feel the pinch because duty at the ports have become almost impossible to pay due to the amount of taxes slapped on them.

“The daily struggle of Ghanaians to make ends meet would be impossible to recount in one address. The question we ask, however, is how have things moved from bad to worse so quickly when we were promised a much better and more affordable standard of living? I would say this is the direct result of the mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy by its current managers. The present economic decline is even more shocking when viewed against the backdrop that this has been the most fortunate government in the history of Ghana in terms of the quantum of resources received.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana