Business General

Economy under Mahama was ‘living for today’ – Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in the 2020 budget statement and economic policy indicated that the country has chalked very significant financial success in the 2019 year.

According to him, in spite of the challenges which subdued the economy of Ghana, the country has come alive again due to the competent management of the economy under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

Addressing Parliament in the budget statement and economic policy, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta recounted that “we have won some painful but necessary battle for God and country” as the Akufo-Addo government has quietly, but incontestably achieved significant structural changes for the economy.

He maintained that the economic management team in the Akufo-Addo government has stabilized greatly the macroeconomic turbulence that was a regular feature in the management of the national economy in the previous administration.

“We have delivered on our flagship programs . . . the gains made so far are significant,” he stated.

He, however, alluded to the fact that the first-year budget he presented in Parliament showed a bad economy, suffocating under a mist weight of debts, arrears, very high cost of living, high youth unemployment and worst growth rate since 1994.

He stressed that, “growth in Agriculture was declining, industry growth was in the negative, the interest rate was high, the banking system was comatose, unemployment was rising and businesses and households were working mainly to pay off their utility bills”.

“The poor state of the public finances, weak policy implementation and lack of policy credibility, clarity and consistency resulted in Ghana requesting IMF bailout in August 2014. The economic module being practiced at that time was a simple and examined formula of tax and spend without a focus on production,” he reiterated.

He insisted that the previous government resorted to some draconian fiscal measures; notably the increased in the tax burden and on many items and activities, including condoms, cutlasses as well as ‘kayayie’, as well as freeze was imposed on the public sector from employing people.

“There were cuts to a number of arrears of spending most notably were cut to research advances for lecturers and nursing and teacher training allowances; yet, the government then was awarding billions of Cedis worth of contracts without knowing about how to pay for them. It was a case of living for today and leaving tomorrow for itself,” Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament.

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