Some of us have always held unadulterated conviction that governance is a serious business, and as such, it requires a forward-thinking, serious, and committed candidate to bring about the needed progress.
Nevertheless, this has not always been the case in Ghana’s democratic dispensation. We have more often than not been relying on lousy economic managers whose main preoccupation is to amass wealth to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians.
Trust me, anybody who holds an isolated thinker’s view that the ecumenically diffused coronavirus and Russia/Ukraine conflict have nothing to do with Ghana’s economic challenges is being economical with the truth.
The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration, before the insidious coronavirus, made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which declined to a single digit and within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five percent, over six percent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).
Take, for instance, the then-director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Cristine Lagarde observed that the Ghanaian economy, before the unspeakable coronavirus, was in a better place than it was in the previous years under the John Dramani Mahama administration.
That being said, despite the absence of a pernicious coronavirus or Ukraine/Russia impasse during the Mahama administration, Ghanaians became fed up with the extremely harsh conditions amid corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, MASLOC, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others).
If Mahama is not taking Ghanaians for granted, how on earth would he consider returning to the presidency given the dreadful errors in judgment during his tenure in office?
Let us be honest, it is quite erroneous for anybody to assert somewhat anecdotally that Ghana’s economy under Mahama (3.4% growth and 15.4% inflation) was better than the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia record before the insidious coronavirus (8.6% growth and 7.5% inflation).
Where was the sound economic foundation when the Mahama administration wilfully
dragged 14% economic growth in 2011 to 3.4% by December 2016 in the absence of the deadly coronavirus.
How can Mahama and cohort claim excellence in economic management when single-digit inflation took a flight to 15.4% by December 2016 in the absence of the Russia/Ukraine war?
How can Mahama audaciously claim a solid economic foundation when the agricultural sector grew in negative figures consistently in the absence of the armyworm invasion?
Where was the favourable economic foundation when the industry sector grew appallingly over the years?
How can Mahama proudly beat his chest and claim ownership of a solid economic foundation when the GDP shrunk from GH47 billion in 2011 to GHC40 billion by December 2016?
Where was the sound economic management when the erstwhile Mahama administration
spent profligately thereby raising Ghana’s debt from $9.5 billion in 2009 to a staggering $122.4 billion by December 2016 in the absence of the globally diffused coronavirus or Russia/Ukraine conflict?
Where was the solid economic foundation when former President Mahama unabashedly
claimed that his administration had edaciously consumed all the meat on the bone?
The fact of the matter is that the late Mills left a sound economic growth of 14% and Mahama reversed it to 3.4%, the late Mills left the agricultural growth of 7.4% and Mahama dragged it to 2.5%, the late Mills single-digit inflation was reversed to 15.4%, GDP of GHC47 billion shrunk to GH40 billion by Mahama.
It was, therefore, not quite surprising when the unhappy 56.5 % of the electorates voted Mahama out in 2016 and 51.2% voted against him in 2020.
Ghana’s economic growth, just before the inexpressible coronavirus, stood at around 8.6% from 3.4% in December 2016.
Interestingly, in the first two years of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration, the industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture at 8.4 percent and services at 4.3 percent.
Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector’s growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.
However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication at 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work at 14.4 percent.
The Industry sector, the highest-growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017. The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.
The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.
The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GSS, 2018).
In Mahama’s time in office, the previously single-digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically.
Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated
3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and
ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Besides, the Mahama administration nauseatingly dragged the economic growth from
around 14% in 2011 to around 3.4% as of December 2016.
In addition, the high inflation rate remained elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.4% as of October 2016).
Ex-President Mahama, regrettably, did not work his socks off to improve the socio-economic living standards of Ghanaians.
Take, for example, former President Kufuor worked studiously and quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering GH28 billion in 2008, and the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to GH47 billion by 2011.
But Mahama disappointingly dragged the GDP to an incredible GHC40 billion as of December 2016.
Former President Mahama and his NDC administration failed to end the dumsor, failed to implement the one-time NHIS premium, jobs were not readily available for the jobless, the economy sunk deeper and deeper into the mire, they reneged on their promise to keep ‘lean’ government, Ghanaians became poorer and poorer, sleazes and corruption escalated to immeasurable proportions, endless borrowings amongst others.
DISCLAIMER: Independentghana.com will not be liable for any inaccuracies contained in this article. The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author’s, and do not reflect those of The Independent Ghana