Former President John Mahama has accused the Akufo-Addo government of trying to use COVID-19 as an excuse to mask its monumental incompetence and reckless handling of the economy.
He made the accusation while giving a lecture at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra to mark the end of his “Thank You Tour” of the 16 regions of the country.
“The government has attempted to conceal its appalling incompetence and recklessness in the management of the economy with the Covid-19 pandemic while the pandemic poses a global challenge to the global economy including ours. It is quite clear in our case, that it was the desire to win elections at all cost that got the government to engage in unbudgeted consumption expenditure to create an artificial feel-good factor before election 2020. It is this overspending that led to the very large deficit that has undermined the economy,” John Mahama said.
Then former President pointed out that other African countries also suffered the onslaught from COVID-19 but none of them is blaming COVID-19 for the kind of incompetence the Akufo-Addo government has exhibited.
All international rating agencies have rated Ghana poor with international lenders increasingly becoming hesitant about lending to Ghana.
Experts have predicted Ghana will soon have to return to the IMF for a bailout.
The Akufo-Addo government has also been regarded as the most corrupt in the history of Ghana’s fourth republic with the President’s cousin who is Finance Minister, engaging his private company, Data Bank as so-called bond market expert. This is believed to inspire Ken Ofori-Atta’s penchant for borrowing because anytime he borrows his company gets paid for virtually no work done.
Former President Mahama pointed out that the blame on COVID-19 is bogus because other African countries similarly hit by COVID do not have debt to GDP ratio that is spiraling out of control.
“Data from our neighbors and other comparative countries in sub-Saharan Africa who were also ravaged by the Covid -19 clearly shows that almost all of them kept their economies within manageable limits and have not been through the economic crisis that Ghana finds itself in today. Covid-19 did not affect us any more extraordinarily than it did to Cote D’ Ivoire yet their budget deficit for 2020 was 5.9 percent and their debt to GDP ratio stands at 49 percent. Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Niger and others have deficits below 7 percent while their debt to GDP is nowhere near the 80 percent that Ghana has recorded,” he said.
John Mahama argued that the country experienced red flags of a poor economy even before Covid-19 took over the country.
“The undeniable effects of Covid-19 notwithstanding, it is evident from the above, that the government placed its inordinate desire to win elections above prudent economic management and that is why Ghanaians are going through much suffering now. Long before Covid-19 struck, red flags had emerged, signaling mismanagement of the economy, we drew attention to this, but no corrective action was taken,” he noted.
This, according to John Mahama has led to a total loss of confidence by the international market in the Ghanaian economy.