Former President and flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama says the much hyped economy by the governing New Patriotic Party has failed the test of time as it is currently in shambles a month after the Coronavirus outbreak.
According to him, the economy is currently in Intensive Care following the ravaging impact of COVID-19.
The former President made this claim on Facebook live on Thursday, April 23, 2020, dubbed “John Mahama in a Digital Conversation.”
The former President in answering a question from a viewer about how he intends to revive the economy should he be elected as President in the 2020 general elections said the economy is struggling because it was built on propaganda.
“In reflecting on this question, this is one of the issues that we have continuously talked about that it is always necessary that when you are building an economy to have enough buffers and create fiscal space so that when you are faced with a shock or adversity, you are easily able to overcome it”.
“Unfortunately, this government has used a lot of propaganda saying the economy has been the best that we have ever had since independence. Unfortunately, just one month of coronavirus the economy is in ICU. If we didn’t run to the IMF for the one billion rapid credit facilities, it is possible that in the next month probably salaries would not have been paid and so our economy is on ventilators, and it needs thinking to rescue it from the ICU,” Mahama said.
Already, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said the pandemic would cost Ghana’s economy some GHS9.5 billion cedis.
Parliament recently approved the spending of GHS1.2 billion from the Contingency Fund, to mitigate the impact of the and pandemic, whereas the IMF has approved a credit facility of $1 billion dollars for the country to fight the pandemic and revive the economy through support to businesses.
Government has set aside a GHS600 million cedis loan package to revive struggling SMEs and has also offered some tax relief to health workers for three months, aside a 50% salary bonuses for frontline health workers.
There is also free water for three months for all Ghanaians, as well as 50 percent reduction in electricity bills for all consumers, and free electricity for lifeline consumers.
Despite all these interventions, the country’s debt of GHS218 billion remains to be paid.
Lifting partial lockdown
Government had to lift the Coronavirus induced partial lock-down after three weeks with the explanation that it had carried out ample tests and established the spread of the disease in Ghana.
The partial lock-down saw the government proving free food for vulnerable Ghanaians as well as free transport for health workers. Many believe the financial burden on government was largely the reason for the suspension of the lock-down.