JOHN MAHAMA, STOP THE ROSE TINTED LIES ABOUT YOUR POOR ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT; YOU ARE NOT THE ALTERNATIVE
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, welcome once again to the Headquarters of the New Patriotic Party.
Today we review some of the assertions made by former President Mahama, who spoke in a forum on the 6th September, 2021, organised by his former Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper, who shared the platform with him.
Former President John Mahama and Mr. Seth Terkper are on public record as being the worst duo to have ever been in charge of the Ghanaian economy at the same time. Yet in their public forum on the 6th September, 2021, the duo sought to create the impression they had the best of times running the Ghanaian economy. Unfortunately for them, the facts show otherwise.
Much as John Mahama seeks re-election on a campaign platform of ‘going back’ to the IMF, he attempts to confuse history by painting a rosy picture of his disastrous management of the Ghanaian economy between 2012 and 2016. Indeed, he put the economy in freefall after extremely reckless expenditure in excess of some GHS12 billion in pursuit of election victory in 2012.
His economy, under Seth Terkper, never recovered, leading to unheard of taxation measures on condoms and cutlasses.
This period of economic mismanagement was marked by rising inflation and downward growth, with growth declining steeply from 14% in 2011 to 3.9% in 2016. This steep decline was in normal ‘bust and boom’ times, according to John Mahama. The worst economic crisis former President Mahama ever faced was falling commodity prices, which according to his boom and bust analysis, is normal for every administration. Yet, he could not manage to keep the economy on an even keel.
One of the most barefaced assertions he makes in his remarks at the public event hosted by Seth Terkper is that, he inherited a bad economy. Of course, he did. From himself. Having ruined the economy he presided over as Vice President to the late President Mills, he stood before Parliament at his swearing in and proudly admitted running down the economy to the bone.
This was an economy that had been moved from HIPC, with substantial debt relief, grown from 3.7% in the year 2000 to over 8% at handover in 2008, including newly discovered oil in commercial quantities and a revamped cocoa sector.
Starting from September, 2012, however, he went into denial about ‘Dumsor” making constant excuses as economic activity plummeted downhill. Indeed, before a congregation of the Assemblies of God Church on December 15, 2013, he confessed to being “appropriately labelled” the “apostle of Dumsor”, acknowledging the new Ghanaian greeting of “Yema mo dumsor oo” with the response “Yaa Mahama”.
His solution to ‘dumsor’ was to saddle the nation with expensive unaffordable generation capacity. Capacity excesses that the Akufo-Addo administration has had to shoulder in the energy sector in order to bring the sector back to life.
FINANCIAL SECTOR CRISIS
Former President Mahama actively oversaw the worst crisis ever to hit our financial sector, negligence that has cost over GHS21 billions of public resources to correct. Meanwhile, he turned judgement debt payments into a cottage industry.
SIBTON SWITCH DEAL
Interestingly, the one deal John Mahama and the NDC are avoiding is the Sibton Switch deal. This gargantuan fraud is perhaps one of the most appalling ever to hit Ghana. In 2016, former President Mahama gave a contract for the MoMo infrastructure for $1.2 billion dollars. Thirty three times higher than the next most expensive bidder. The NPP Government cancelled the contract in 2017 and did a better job for $4.5 million. A savings of over $1billion. More than the $918 million the NDC took from the IMF for three years.
The whole government borrowed $918m dollars for three years but was willing to throw away your $1billion dollars on one company. One transaction. Sibton Switch tried to take $478million from Ghana in arbitration in London for no work done. They failed. That is the leadership of former Vice President and later President Mahama, who will take your money in broad daylight for no work done.
JOHN MAHAMA AND CORRUPTION
Most disrespectful to the Ghanaian voter, is his new found love for shouting corruption. And make no mistake, the let off of Phil Middlemiss by the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office (SFO) does not exonerate Intermediary Samuel Mahama or self-confessed Government Official One Mahama from the shame and legal process of the Airbus international bribery scandal. John Mahamas’ personal record on bribery and corruption is nothing to write home about.
President Akufo-Addo spent money on actual funding of the 2020 elections. Not on gimmicks. This is an election that John Mahama’s NDC moved heaven and earth to stop because they knew they would lose. For the first time ever in the 4th Republic, the NPP Akufo-Addo Government funded a full election from a new register to voting and results delivery. A feat the NDC cannot ever hope to rival.
Moreover, the Akufo-Addo administration has faced the worst ever international crisis in Covid-19, a scourge that has depreciated the worldwide economy and driven debt up generally. John Mahama’s lack of understanding of the Covid-19 economy is positively dangerous for Ghana because it badly skews his feeble attempts at analysis of our current economic situation. The IMF, to which he trumpets we should go to, has certified our economy as one of the fastest growing in terms of Covid-19 economic rebound.
He just does not get it. All economic modelling worldwide is premised on Covid-19 and the ability to preserve lives and then livelihoods, as President Akufo-Addo succinctly put it for the world to note and follow.
Mahama put together a Covid-19 advisory team. Covid-19 is not over yet. Where is the advisory team announced to applause and pageantry? Nowhere to be found. For the information of former President Mahama, Covid-19 is not only a matter of health. It has fundamentally become an economic imperative.
In that light, what would Mahama have done differently? What and where are his alternatives? Alternative financial plan and alternative Covid-19 management plan? He has no plan because he does not realise and accept that Covid-19 has a fundamental impact on the economy.
What is former President Mahama’s approach to securing vaccines? What is his alternative to keeping schools open, which he and his party criticised vehemently barely a year ago? What is the Mahama alternative to the measures in the cocoa sector that have yielded an all record cocoa bean output?
Indeed, what is John Mahama’s alternative to anything, apart from the IMF? If you are the alternative, then spell out your alternatives to the Ghanaian people now. He is asking for a dialogue on the economy. There are many fora available for such a dialogue but he needs to put forward his plan.
Anybody can and has the right to criticise. But we expect a man who has been Vice President, head of the NDC’s economic management team and subsequently President and insistently bidding to become President again, to offer tangible alternatives, capable of feasibility testing, instead of just criticising. What is your plan? What is your vision for growing Ghana?
At least we know that under John Mahamas’ economic management, the following were pertinent issues;
- Bank lending rates were 32%
- Inflation was at 15.4%
- Annual depreciation of the cedi was 18%
- Gross international reserves were less than three months import cover
- Agricultural output consistently declined
- There was a freeze on public sector recruitment
- We had high import duties
- No National ID system after eight years
- Difficulties in renewing National Health Insurance Membership
- Difficulties in obtaining passports
- Under Mahama, 5000 homes became 1000 with all the $200 million approved by Parliament spent
- You supervised the investment of Northern Development Fund monies in guinea fowls flying to Burkina Faso
- Only 4% of the population had tax identification numbers
- Training allowances were cancelled because of poor public finances
- The National Ambulance Service was limping
- Chalk could not be found in schools
- Under your watch, teachers who had worked for three years were being paid only three months’ salary
- Over GHS6 billion hole was uncovered in outstanding pension fund payments
- There was no professional development allowance for teachers
- The share of the District Assemblies Common Fund for persons with disabilities was stuck at 2%.
Perhaps former President Mahama has forgotten so soon his abysmal record reflecting incompetence, corruption and greed for power.
After eight elections, the Ghanaian electorate has become very sophisticated at reading between the lines. The half-truths and outright lies will fail to pass electoral scrutiny in 2024.
The NPP is urging former President Mahama to up his game as we continue with the serious business of resolving Ghanas’ development challenges with a focus on investing in people and a support environment for growth.
Thank you for your attention.