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Opinions of Monday, 21 September 2015

Columnist: Daily Guide

Twice HIPC, triply disappointed

Eventually we have returned to the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status. Even as we inched towards this dreaded status, vile propaganda sought to dispel the apprehension.

As for Dr Mahamudu Bawumia whose prediction that we were getting close to the unenviable status, he has been vindicated as we take another place in the comity of HIPC nations.

We have gotten to this status through a reckless and uncaring management of the economy by a group of Ghanaians who appear uncaring about the negative effects of their policies. They would go ahead to do as they wish, regardless of good counsel.

At the height of the borrowing sprees of the government – a situation compelling a public outcry – the response from the president was not encouraging to those who were ready to occasionally proffer alternative suggestions.

The implication of the situation we find ourselves in now can best be explained by economists. Suffice it to point out though that we are deeply enmeshed in debt, the like of which is beyond comparison in our post-independence financial history.

When we were told by the executive that we had the capacity to borrow more in an apparent obscene response to the raging public outcry about the level of our national debt, the bafflement was deafening.

We might never hear what they have to say as the inevitable takes place. One thing is certain though: all of us as Ghanaians will bear the consequences of the seeming apathetic management of the economy.

The chickens have indeed come home to roost, haven’t they? We are paying the price of stubbornness. Now what will the finance minister tell us regarding the new status and the circumstances which facilitated it?

Twice HIPC is not a pleasant experience; and in the face of development partners, it does not present us in good light.

Doing propaganda with economic variables would soon expose those behind the lies, Bawumia cautioned against the obsession by government and its agents. That did not sink in and they seemed to relish the game they were playing with offensive gusto.

If we have the capacity to borrow we should have same ability to pay back. If we may ask, ‘What have we used the record borrowing to do about the lot of the country when we still suffer infrastructure deficit among several drawbacks?’

Talking about inflated cost of projects will earn you a tag, the removal of which is virtually an impossibility in a country where opportunities are largely the preserve of supporters of the ruling party.

Unfortunately when the price of the mismanagement of the economy dawns, it does not discriminate. With investor confidence at its lowest ebb given the crisis that has hit justice administration in the country, we are in one of our worst post-independence moments as a nation.

As we await a statement or response from government – which may never come – all we can do is hold our heads in disappointment and pray for succour from heaven because our representatives at the helm have failed us.