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Opinions of Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman

Mahama government has mismanaged our economy

At the end of 2011, our country was the fastest growing economy in the world mainly from Cocoa, Mining and Oil. The economy grew over 14% but what do we have today? The country under president Mahama’s NDC Government is struggling to achieve economic growth rate of even 3.5% as I write. Infact the economy grew 3.4% at the end of 2015.


We are where we are today due to economic mismanagement by Mahama and his Government. There is huge public outcry due to excessive taxation. The government cannot afford to run people-centered programmes because the coffers are empty. All policies are geared towards milking the people to the last atom of their strength through taxation just to fund the ostentatious life style of the most corrupt regime. We are also in an election year and therefore government needs money for vote buying to retain power through the ballot box.


The abuse of our economy started, when President Mahama made it a point to throw caution to the wind and spent over GH¢ 8.7 billion budget deficit just to win an election in 2012. The abuse continued with the prioritization of payment of over GH¢600 million to friends, cronies, party faithful and supporters as judgment debt. The problem of dumsor was made political and was not seen as serious economic threat to our country and therefore lackadaisical approached was adopted in arresting it. Dumsor has plagued our economy for over 4years under this Mahama government of NDC. In addition to this mismanagement and indiscipline, no serious investment was made in our agricultural sector, the main stay of our country, because the government over relied on proceeds from oil.


What is more, corruption has been institutionalized and rationalized under this government which had jettisoned the checks and balances systems such as the procurement law. Remember Smarttys Bus Branding deal for example. Again, the managers of our economy and its finances are bankrupt of ideas on the effects of interrelationship among inflation, interest rates and exchange rates. They therefore, out of incompetence, could not initiates policies to arrest the declining fortunes of our national currency, the cedi. This coupled with dumsor had culminated to the collapse of many businesses in our country.


To compound the problem, the government has resorted borrowing. Excessive borrowing with total disregard to the effect of the debt servicing implication on the economy is part of economy mismanagement. Today, we have to spend more than six times our total oil revenue just to service our debt stock which spans over GHc100 billion. This is absolutely not prudent.


On top of the economic mismanagement, the government thought it could run to IMF for cheap redress which has rather compounded the suffering of our people because IMF is not a Father Christmas.


We should learn from experience that in our case, IMF would surely demand structural changes in the form of austerity measures that create poverty. We should have known that to qualify for loans we must be prepared to give up our national sovereignty and independence. IMF austerity measures includes social spending cuts, wages frozen, public sector slash all of which will not auger well for our economy. The IMF austerity measures have also led the high utility tariffs, high taxes, high cost of credits and high cost of living in addition to mass unemployment and hence poverty.

With hind sight experience, IMF’S prescriptions to redress mismanaged economies have always resulted to wealth for few elite and poverty for the mass majority of the population. The Britton Wood Institution takes pride in stability of the economies and not the general good of the poor masses in the society. Instead of rooting out corruption and incompetence, IMF turns a blind eye to them and continues to give loans to our corrupt leaders who continue to steal from us and send the money back to our colonial masters whom they turn borrow money from.


Where is the policing role of the IMF concerning the stock of our public debt? Mahama government continues to borrow as if there is no tomorrow. Since IMF is not a solution to the economy mismanagement problems, the only way is to show this corrupt and incompetent regime the exit through the ballot box come November 07, 2016. ‘Wo Ma Chake Mi’.