Caucus for Democratic Governance, Ghana (CDG-GH), assessing the President`s State of the Nation`s address on Tuesday in Parliament, could hardly find something new. The same old flowery speach and promises, that does not see the light of day.
Thinking he was lecturing SHS students, the President, who could have retired in 2020, bust out with shameless confidence, lashing out figures and statistics that do not reflect the reality. Indeed he turned a blind eye to the day to day convoy of trucks carrying imported tomatoes from Burkina Faso, and postulated : our Agric sector is so good, that we export to neighbouring countries. Apparently he had forgotten the high prices of tomatoes, maize (and so kenkey); the rocketing price of fuel; the high cost of transportation and the massive unemployment that has crippled the country are all related to struggling Agric sector. To exonerate himself and maintain his confidence, he credited these reverses and high prices to COVID-19 instead of his poor management.
With vanity in confidence, he praised the significant strides made in the economy, fueled by borrowing from the banks; a process that leads to crowding in the financial space – to the detriment of business. He also laid much emphasis on the low policy rate achieved, for which he shamefully claimed credit; forgetting that the fall of the policy rate started in 2016 as a result of IMF interventions. Indeed, he refused to talk about the high lending rate (27%) which is collapsing manufacturing industries, businesses and trading sector.
The President was silent on the very high national debt of 275 billion ghc (155 billion of which he had borrowed in his first term. The short fall in the economy as I write is 37 million. The national revenue has reduced by 20%; and we have to use part of borrowed money to pay our foreign loans. It is high time we realized that promises are not realities. They are meant to throw dust into our eyes. Just as the President failed to build the badly needed 135 SHS during the free SHS crises ; just as he failed to build the promised 88 hospitals during COVID-19; he will in much the same way not be able to produce the helicopters (which the Police has not received) and the 102 Agro processing industries and the many other promises he made to Ghanaians.
An economy that goes on its knees within three months of COVID-19, from a projected growth of 5% to a hopeless growth level of 0.9% (even as I write) is a weak economy, not worth the trust. I even doubt if we will be able to sustain the free SHS in spite of our three new oil wells.
Dr E.K. Hayford
Executive Director, CDG-GH