You were part of cabinet decision to borrow $30.5bn in 6yrs, you can’t escape blame – Mahama jabs Bawumia

John Mahama (left) in a handshake with Dr Bawumia

Former President John Dramani Mahama has said that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s cabinet which Vice President Dr Mahamudud Bawumia was part of cabinet when the government decided to borrow $30.5 billion in six years but with nothing to show for.

He says no official of the government including Dr Bawumia can escape responsibility for the economic challenges.

“You know the situation that this economy is in. Now all those who contributed to the mess are trying to run away as if they were not part of it. People have begun saying they were not in charge, they were not listening to them and all that.

“All of them ‘de inside’, Jack Toronto and all his brothers, all of them are part of the mess we are going through. None of them can escape responsibility because they all sat in a cabinet together. Anytime they were going to borrow from the Eurobond market they approved it in the cabinet,” the NDC flagbearer said at a town hall meeting in Tamale on Thursday, February 8.

He added “In six years you borrowed $30.5 billion and you did nothing with it so today you can’t come and tell us you were not part of it. All of them are part of the messin’ when we find ourselves and Ghanains are going to send them packing for the hardships that they have inflicted on us, for the debt that they have swallowed us in. They miss go home and learning their lessons, NDC is coming back winning this election, we have the men and women that are going to restore this country’s economy and finances to healthy conditions.

Although he did not mention Dr Bawumia’s name, his comments come at a time that the head of the Economic Management Team (EMT) had said that the EMT does not have decision-making powers.

Dr Bawumia said they only advise the cabinet. As head of the EMT, he had been blamed for the economic challenges that Ghana is facing.

But delivering his address at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on Wedmesdsy Febraury 7, Dr Bawumia, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)., said “Thankfully, I was appointed as chair of the EMT, as a sub-committee to Cabinet we do not have decision-making powers but I am very proud of the quality of advice we have been providing over the years to Cainet. as vice president I was asked by the president to assist in solving the problems that were inhibiting the economy. my approach was to help formalize the economy through digitalization as stated in our 2016 manifesto.”

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia further said that the flak that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) received for supporting the government during the economic crisis was unnecessary.

He says the central bank was responsible enough to put the interest of Ghanaians ahead by deciding to support the government in dealing with the crisis.

It is recalled that the Minority in Parliament strongly criticized the Bank of Ghana, saying the central bank was not fit for purpose.

They bemoaned that the BoG was not able to undertake monetary policy without printing monies.

In its recent audited report, the Bank of Ghana announced that it had recorded GH¢60 billion in losses in its debt restructuring exercise.

Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Isaac Adongo said “All the monies in our banks that they forced them to save with the Bank of Ghana, which we call the Prudential Reserve, have gone to waste.

“All the monies that they have been borrowing from abroad in foreign currency to support the Cedi are gone and as a matter of fact, if you even take away government debt that they have incurred GH¢48 billion, you will still see that the Bank of Ghana has a hole of GH¢22 billion. What this means is that the Bank is not fit for purpose because it cannot undertake monetary policies without printing money because it doesn’t have money.”

But Bawumia said in his address that “The Bank of Ghana provided needed financing to the government at a critical moment. What the BoG did was very responsible in putting the interest iof the citizens first,” he said.

Dr Bawumia further stated that one cannot ignore the fact that the outbreak of the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukrain war devasted global economies including Ghana.

He recounted that notwithstanding the challenges that the Akufo-Addo administration inherited from the Mahama administration, they managed to stabilize the economy with all economic indicators pointing in the right direction.

However, he said, the pandemic and the war impacted negatively on these indicators.

“Notwithstanding the difficulties we inherited, we had to get on with …we have to among other things fix dimsor, National Health Insurance, clear the arrears, make education free and accessible

“Between 2017 and 2019, all the indicators, economic growth, industry growth, fiscal deficits, and exchange rate were all moving in the right direction.

“In 2020 and 2022 we experienced several challenges triggered by the pandemic which brought the world to a halt,” he said during his address at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on Wednesday, February 7.