One would have thought that Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, while touting the achievements of his government at a town hall meeting in Kumasi yesterday would also let Ghanaians know how the government has dealt with corruption and the fight against illegal mining but that never happened.
Interestingly, among the over 300 manifesto promises Dr Bawumia claimed his party made to Ghanaians in the run-up to the 2016 election and had achieved 78 per cent in three years, fighting corrupting and illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey, were key on the agenda of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
Why the vice president failed to address some alleged corrupt scandals including the latest missing excavators that had hit his government and the re-emergence of galamsey was something a cross-section of Ghanaians who spoke to Today did not understand.
Their concern was that a party which came to power on the back of incorruptibility campaign should have been more aggressive in the fight against corruption .
But instead Dr Bawumia as usual, they said, chose to sing praises for his party, ignoring what they termed as a ‘canker’ on the economy.
“Bawumia has been singing praises for his government since the NPP assumed the reins of government and many of us don’t have a problem with that. What he failed to address are the many alleged corrupt cases and the galamsey issues, which are issues I’m worried about,” a taxi driver at Lapaz in Accra, said.
According to the taxi driver, the NPP’s continuous failure to tackle corruption could affect the party’s electoral fortunes in the December 7, 2020 poll.
Dr Bawumia during his presentation yesterday said, the combination of prudent macro and micro-economic policies and programmes implemented by the government over the last three years had strengthened the economy.
He claimed that the change in the country’s fortunes had been acknowledged by the international bodies.
Using a combination of graphs, tables and text, Dr Bawumia further claimed that the Akufo-Addo administration had largely delivered on its manifesto promises, especially on the economy.
“The data shows that Ghana’s macro-economic fundamentals are strong. Indeed, the strength of Ghana’s fundamentals was confirmed recently by Moody’s Ratings which changed Ghana’s sovereign ratings from B3 with a stable outlook to B3 with a positive outlook. This is unprecedented for an election year,” Vice President Bawumia pointed out.
“Standards and Poors also upgraded Ghana’s sovereign credit rating from B- to B with a stable outlook last year. This was the first upgrade by S&P for Ghana in 10 years. This is a strong affirmation of the positive assessment by the international financial markets of Ghana’s economic fundamentals.
“Just last week, Ghana successfully issued the longest-dated Eurobond ever issued by a Sub-Saharan African country with investors placing $15 billion of orders for Ghana’s 41 year Eurobond. The 7 year Bond issued has attracted the lowest coupon rates ever for Ghana at 6.375% compared with the 9.25% Ghana had to pay for a similar Eurobond issue in 2016. This is a massive show of confidence in the Ghanaian economy by investors,” he said.
Throwing more light on the economic performance of the three-year-old government, Vice President Bawumia continued, “for the first time in a decade, Ghana recorded primary balance surpluses (that is our tax revenues exceeded all government spending—excluding debt service payments) for three years in a row (2017-2019).
“Inflation has dropped steadily from a high of 15.4 per cent at the end of 2016 to 7.9 per cent at the end of December 2019, about the lowest we have seen since 1992.
“For the first time in over two decades, the trade balance (the difference between what we export and what we import) recorded a surplus in 2017, a larger surplus in 2018, and an even larger surplus in 2019.
“Even the cedi exchange rate under the NPP (2017-2019) is twice as stable as it was under NDC (2013-2016) – Average depreciation of 18% compared to 8.7%)”.
Story: Atta KWAKU BOADI