Mahama’s address was motivated by self-preservation to his confused NDC leadership – NPP

The recent public address titled “Ghana at Crossroads” which was delivered by Former President John Dramani Mahama was motivated by his self-preservation towards the confused leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) ahead of the 2024 general elections, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Yaw Buaben Asamoa has said.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesday May 4, Mr Buaben Asamoa indicated that records show that development projects have always been undertaken in the country under an NPP administration. Whenever the NDC takes over, he said, the country retrogresses.

“Indeed, the NPP believes we must reflect deeply. For, if we do, we will accept, as the record show, that significant change to our political institutions and conduct, economic structure and management and positive social impact have mostly happened under the NPP watch in the fourth republic.

“Many very significant national reverses occur under the six years of John Mahama’s presidency. He has since been rejected twice in general elections. It is possible his recent address was motivated by self preservation towards his confused leaders hip of the NDC into 2024 given that both insiders and external observers are righting hi off,” the former Adentan lawmaker said.

Mr Mahama in his address accused the Akufo-Addo administration of mismanaging the economy.

He said “Nana Addo and the NPP pledged to transform Ghana within 18 months, grow our economy at double digit, reduce borrowing, ensure fiscal discipline, bring down the cost of living, lower taxes and protect the public purse. They promised to move Ghana “from taxation
to production.”

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“In effect, none of these has been achieved. Instead, Ghanaians have been subjected to excruciating hardships and deprivation resulting directly from the mismanagement of the economy by a government that lacks the humility to accept responsibility, and the capacity to
appropriately diagnose the root causes of the challenges that have brought us here.

“Rather, they constantly seek to impose on us, their version of the economic reality – denying that food prices have gone up; insisting that the business climate is favourable; virulently protesting the evidence that their investments in meaningful capital expenditure is insignificant; and ignoring glaring evidence of unprecedented levels of corruption and breaches of internationally acclaimed standards of social justice.”

He added “This government contests even the most basic and glaring set of facts. This should never have been the case for a government that has been fortunate to receive far more resources in the last five years than almost all governments before them under the fourth republic, put together. At the last reckoning, over GH¢ 500 billion had been available to them through taxes, grants, borrowing and other sources of revenue. No government in our recent history has been that fortunate. Despite this fortune, today, the Ghanaian economy ranks among the worst managed in the world.

“It is characterized by unsustainable public debt due to an unprecedented fiscal deficit, comparatively high and still rising inflation, a rapidly depreciating currency, spiraling cost of doing business, ever rising cost of living, high levels of corruption, abuse of civil and human liberties, and a general loss of investor confidence. Simply put, our country is on the verge of bankruptcy.

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“In spite of the firm promise to reduce borrowing, this government has increased our public debt to almost GH¢ 380 billion as of the end of the first quarter of 2022. This is more than three times the debt of all governments since the days of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah up to January 2017.

“A direct consequence of this astronomical borrowing is that our debt service obligation per annum has increased by 500% from GH¢10 billion in 2016 to about GH¢50 billion now. We are at great risk of defaulting on our debt repayments unless something drastic is done.
To be clear, despite the heavy politicisation of debt by the current administration while in opposition, the real problem we face is not just because of the daunting large size of the debt value. Rather it is the stark reality that these huge levels of borrowing have not gone into
infrastructure and capital investment but have been applied, largely, to consumption, and in some cases even misapplied.

“This heavy borrowing has not been met by a commensurate and significant improvement in the size of the economy to ease repayment of the debt in future. My brothers and sisters, an important and yet very disturbing variable, often ignored in our national discourse about the debt situation, is the corresponding ballooning of government indebtedness to local businesses and other statutory bodies including SOEs.

“These issues must occupy an important space within national discourse because our estimation is that government’s liabilities to local businesses and other stakeholders exceed GHC30 billion. Arising directly from the excessive borrowing to fund consumption related expenditure is the harsh truth that, more than half of what government collects in taxes is used to service debt with the remainder going almost exclusively into public sector wages.

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“This has created self-inflicted rigidities that leave very little space for investment in other important areas of the economy.

“The effect of this, is that government is unable to meet its spending obligations in the most critical sectors of the economy on which the livelihoods of millions of our people depend.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana