The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, says notwithstanding global factors which have hit countries across the world including Ghana in the past four years, the NPP Government, under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, has unmatched record of achievements innthe 4th Republic.
Addressing the NPP’s International Women’s Conference in London on Saturday June 10, 2023, Dr. Bawumia admitted the challenging economic situation of the country, and the government’s inability to achieve everything it set out to do, but he also referred to the debilitating impacts global and domestic factors have had on the Ghanaian economy, and the “monumental” achievements of the Government in solving many problems it inherited, regardless.
“As those of you in the UK and other European countries are keenly aware, in the last couple of years the whole world has been hit mainly by two major external forces and Ghana has been no exception,” Dr. Bawumia said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic affected global supply chains and the response put a burden on public finances. The war between Russia and Ukraine hit fertilizer and grain prices, among others, and increased the prices of commodities back home. Inflation, exchange rate depreciation and debt levels globally hit a 40 year high as countries scrambled to cope with the impact on lives and livelihoods. In Ghana, inflation increased from 12.9% in December 2021 to 54% by December 2022 with an attendant depreciation of the Ghana cedi by 30% in 2022,” he added.
Dr. Bawumia continued by also delivering some insights into domestic factors, which he said, habe also contributed significantly to shocking the economy back home, which had recovered under the NPP and was growing steadily prior to covid-19.
“These crises (COVID and Russia-Ukraine) came at a time when we were yet to fully recover from some major challenges we inherited. In particular, we inherited excess energy capacity payments resulting from power purchase agreements entered into by the previous government. I said last year, and the World Bank has also recently pointed out the reckless nature and the catastrophic implications of these contracts. Under these PPAs we have been required to pay some $1 billion annually for power we did not consume over the last six years.”
“The combined effects of these phenomena blighted an economy that grew at an average rate of about 7% between 2017-2019. Our debt became unsustainable, and the government had to undertake a domestic debt restructuring and seek IMF support to stabilize our economy.”
Dr. Bawumia added that these developments have been latched on by the NPP’s political opponents in an attempt to play down the achievements of the Akufo-Addo Government, but he said, the government’s record in solving problems it inherited from the NDC, inspite of the challenges, is incontrovertible and unmatched in the 4th Republic.
The Vice President noted that, to fully appreciate the achievements and solutions the NPP government has offered, it is important for all to recollect challenges of the country the NPP inherited from the NDC in 2017.
Among the numerous problems, which the Vice President said the NPP inherited from the NDC and have addressed are: high rate of unemployment, dumsor for 4 years, a virtually collapsed national health insurance system, a nearly collapsed national ambulance system, a freeze on public sector employment, an almost collapsed banking sector, massive annual increases in utility bills, poor economic indicators, low agricultural growth, low industry growth, cancellation of teacher and nursing training allowances, as well as a huge burden of paying $1billion dollars annually for a take-or-pay excess energy capacity deal negotiated by the Mahama-led NDC and bequeathed to the Akufo-Addo government.
After listing the challenges inherited, Dr. Bawumia presented a tall list of solutions the government has provided and a list of programmes, projects, policies and other general achievements of the the NPP Government in every sector to the excitement of the audience.
On unemployment, Dr. Bawumia said the government halted the freeze on employment by the NDC to enable it employ young Ghanaians, adding that the government has created over 2.1m jobs so far since 2017 both in the public and government-private sectors.
He also provided data on other progressive intitiatives in education to boost the government’s flagship Free SHS and TVET policy, including construction of classroom blocks across the country, as well as achievements in the health sector including provision of ambulances nationwide, improving the NHIS, establishing a drone medical delivery service to remote areas and the ongoing construction of the Agenda 111 district and regional, among other.
Dr. Bawumia also spoke extensively on better growth in agriculture, massive improvement in industrilisation with the establishment of over 100 factories under 1D1F, improved security, solution to dumsor and expansion of electricity to rural communities in the emergy sector.
On digitalisation Dr. Bawumia provided a comprehensive list of achievements and numerous generational problems digitization is addressing, including the digital national identity system, the national digital property address system, mobile money interoperability which has significantly boosted financial inclusion, as well as digitisation of several government services, including at the ports, registrar general, passports, drivers license, motor insurance, payment of electricity and water bills, and many more.
“We have not had it all rosy and delivered everything that we set out to do from our day of initiation into office. But the setbacks notwithstanding, we have produced a solid track record of achievements,” Dr. Bawumia noted.