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Opinions of Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Columnist: Agyapong, Felix Kwasi Owusu

NDC Government’s Economic Faux Pa

(By: Hon. Felix Kwasi Owusu Agyapong (Former Majority Leader)

The public Statement of the 2nd Budget Reading by NDC Government’s Financial Statement has starkly exposed the NDC’s inept stance at handling the state of affairs of the economy. It is conspicuously clear that the NDC has really failed prior to the expiration of their mandate in 2012. Their very pronouncement made in the 2010 Government Financial Statement re-affirms the general premonition that the NDC cannot provide and engineer the right, germane economic policies that would put Ghana on a higher pedestal of economic development.

It is preposterous and absurd that a Government, reading its 2nd Financial Statement would still resort to the blame game, whilst glossing over their inability at extricating Ghanaians from the woods of the so called mis-management they profess was bequeathed to them by the NPP.

The NDC’s tacit admission that the economy is of sound footing after the NPP handover in their subtle letter to the Brettonwoods institutions is very different from their criticism that the NPP government run down the economy. The deliberate inconsistency from the two texts clearly shows the foggy nature of NDC’s VISION for the country.

It is extremely sad that for the first time since 2001, Ghana has experienced a negative change in the GDP and the NDC with their penchant of setting records has defied economic paradigm and reversed the growth trend. The NDC failed to deliver their projected targets in the 2009 financial year.

Though the NDC projected a 5.3% GDP growth rate as against the prevailing 7.3% inherited, they however managed only a 4.7%GDP growth. They also missed all their revenue targets. At the services sector out of the projected 6.6 per cent, they only managed 4.6. Also all payments including statutory and discretionary achieved only 29.6 out of the projected 33.2This is very much in stark contrast with the consistent growth trends chalked by the NPP.

The NPP government during its tenure grew the economy from a lackluster 3.7% growth rate through consistent positive change to an enviable all time record of 7.3%. This feat, therefore, poses a great challenge to the NDC Government. Failure for the NDC to rival this par- excellence performance of economic feat by the NPP Government has resulted to the defeatist stance taken by the NDC to run down the economic legacy of the NPP Government. The NPP legacy has become a toast and beacon of the world economic order and a case study of emerging economies of the world.

It is weird that in the 21st century, the NDC government is still driving on the wheels of propaganda which is not based on sound rationale scientific economic thought but sheer self stimulation of ego and pride which is not edifying enough. One would expect that the NDC will rather channel their energy towards ingenious sound policies that will reverse the so called distressed economic trend and not allow their lieutenants to sap their energies in developing theories laden with lies to extricate themselves from the ignominy of non-performance. I throw a challenge to the NDC Government to retool and re-augment the economy and bring it back to the trajectory of sound footing which the NPP Government jealously guarded.

There NDC government has laid credence to the old Akan Adage “egywa bebaa, na efiri anopa” which literally means “any prospective bumper, bullish market day has prospects in the morning”. The NDC government’s failure to meet most of the macroeconomic indicators should unequivocally signal that the NDC’s stutter portends doom for Ghana’s quest at re-tooling the economy back to normal and situate itself among the comity of emerging economies of the world.

Is it not paradoxical for the NDC to incessantly criticize NPP for contracting a number of loans which was not for their intended projects and productive ventures? Yet the core of their energy base projections in the 2010 budget was premised on the so called mismanaged loan facilities NPP took. For instance page 95, paragraph 307 of the 2010 budget talks about a Suppliers credit facility by China International Water and Electric Corporation.

This loan facility was contracted under the NPP government which the NDC by their conduct has surreptitiously slipped into the 2010 budget for the extension of electricity supply to about 800 selected communities in the country. Is this not a useful and productive loan? The NDC must therefore devise mechanisms at solving the problems of the nation rather than play the blame game, which their very letter to the IMF/World Bank in June soliciting for more handouts really praised the economy the NPP bequeathed to them.

I can make a prediction of much certainty that Ghana would not see any profound ingenious economic policy capable of changing the fortunes of the down trodden. It must be put on record that the NDC is adopting this snail paced economic development paradigm because they are incapable of changing the fortunes of the downtrodden. Moreover prolonging the blame game economic thought into 2011-2012 would allow them to buy some time so they can cash in on the prospects and dividends of the oil discovery for which the NPP laid sound Oil Policies.

The NPP Government developed a very transparent oil policy where there would a separate fund/account for the oil discovery. I therefore challenge the NDC to be transparent in oil discovery which when harnessed properly would usher Ghana into different phase of Ghana economic development.