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Gov’t Has Turned Economy Around – Oppong-Nkrumah

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Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, says the Akufo-Addo administration has succeeded in turning the economy around over the last 11 months.

Contributing to a debate on the 2018 budget statement, he cited increased revenue generation, a slowdown in the rate of debt accumulation and rise in GDP figures as the evidence that the economy is doing better today than under the previous government.

“In our law courts, we will say Res Ipsa Loquitur. Ghana’s economy has turned around. Our energies ought not to be spent denying this. Let us spend our energies embracing this turnaround, consolidating it and now building inclusive, job filled growth poles on it,” the MP for Ofoase Ayirebi told the house.

Below is the full statement

Mr Speaker, on November 15, 2017 the Finance Minister presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government for the year ending December 31, 2018. This he did in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution. Following the reading of the Budget Statement which was themed “Putting Ghana Back to Work”, several debates have come up on the floor of parliament between the sitting administration and the main opposition party.

Mr Speaker, Thank you for the opportunity given me to contribute to the debate on the 2018 Economic and Financial Policies of the Government of Ghana. As Ghana’s democracy deepens, it is my hope that our development policy debates will focus less on disputing our national data or twisting same around to represent absurd positions. Instead, I pray for the day when our debates will focus on how to build on what we have achieved in the last budget and not how to wish the successes away with propaganda.

That is why Mr Speaker, I will be using my time to point out 5 empirical facts that show what we have accomplished as a nation in this 1st year of the Akufo-Addo administration. And I will tell this house, particularly my friends on the other side, not to yield to temptation to wish away what we have collectively achieved as a nation.

1) First is the issue of GDP and Non-oil GDP growth

Mr Speaker, Ghana in the year 2011 recorded a GDP growth of 14% of which the President of the day, H.E. the late John Evans Attah Mills of the NDC described as “unprecedented”. In built of that 14% growth was oil which was discovered under the tenure of HE John Agyekum Kufuor. Nonetheless, our friends from the opposition side were happy to count it as part of their GDP growth achievements. Today, we are being told by the same NDC that oil included in GDP should be discounted for no reason.

Mr Speaker the NPP government targeted a non-oil GDP growth of 4.6% by the end of the 2017 fiscal year based on the economy that we inherited. Non-oil GDP growth has gone up by 4.0% from January to September this year and is estimated to hit 4.8% by year-end. That is the mark of a government that is investing heavily in non-oil sectors as well in getting the growth that we desire. We are targeting a non-oil GDP growth of 5.4% in 2018 and about 6.8% GDP growth with oil.

Our friends from the opposition have again made the argument that if indeed we have stabilised the economy, then the Fiscal Stabilisation Levy should be removed. Mr Speaker Economic stability is not an event but an exercise that must be maintained over a period and so even if the NPP government has managed to stabilize the economy, it is important to build buffers that would ensure that in the medium to long-term, this stability is maintained. That is why the Fiscal Stabilisation Levy has been maintained.

2. The challenge of a debt overhang inherited at the beginning of 2017

Mr Speaker the NPP when in opposition always warned against reckless borrowing. Huge annual deficits in the period preceding our assumption of office led to an annual debt accumulation at a rate of 36% year on year. This left us with a debt overhang calculated at 73% of GDP as at December 2016. The Akufo-Addo administration has used a number of tactics in its first year to reduce the debt overhang and created fiscal space for investment in the growth-enhancing initiatives.

Servicing of debts & arrears

We have paid about GH₵9.7 billion in interest payment through September this year in order to ensure that part of the debt that we inherited will begin to break down. The NDC which has been making the argument that we have not done much had paid only GH₵7.9 billion at this same period last year. We have paid about GH₵760 million in net arrears clearance compared to GH₵641 million paid by the NDC same period last year.

Slowing down the rate of debt accumulation

Mr Speaker, this Akufo-Addo government has been cautious of the rate at which it accumulates debts and for that matter reckless borrowing has been avoided.

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