Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Media, and dear People of Ghana! Good
morning, and thank you for honouring our invitation to attend this press
On 8th March 2023, the President of the Republic of Ghana delivered a
Message on the State of the Nation (SONA) under Article 67 of the 1992
Constitution as a symbol and practical demonstration of accountability, and with
the utmost respect to the people of Ghana.
The President, in his delivery, addressed critical issues of concern to all
Ghanaians. The focus of the SONA was on the economic situation of our
country and how quickly we are stabilising the economy and working our way
back to the period of rapid economic growth.
The SONA provided an honest assessment of our country’s situation and sought
the support of Ghanaians in addressing the challenges facing our country with
hope and confidence.
Then, on 20th March 2023, the opposition National Democratic Congress
(NDC), as usual, produced a distorted account of the President’s state of the
nation address in an attempt to ride on the emotions of Ghanaians for their
political gain. Activities leading to the NDC’s UPSA press conference were
dramatised as though the NDC had something unprecedented to present. It was
an anticlimax because, in the end, nothing new was said except the same old
exaggeration and deliberate misrepresentation of facts.
The statement read by the NDC Chairman, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, was far
from a document seeking to discuss the state of our country. There was no
serious analysis of the economy, no assessment of sectoral developments, and
no attempt to propose solutions to the current economic challenges.
Ordinarily, we would refrain from responding to the NDC on the SONA.
However, given the extent of misinformation contained in their statement, we
owe a duty to Ghanaians to straighten the distortions designed to incite
disaffection rather than to inform Ghanaians.
My clarification of the NDC’s statement will focus mainly on the economy and
comments on the other matters to do with the misinformation about the size of
the government and the subject of corruption.
The Economy
First, let me thank the good people of Ghana for supporting the government as
we work together to resolve this historic economic crisis that has disrupted the
global economy and impacted Ghana.
Ghana’s economy was the toast of the world until Covid-19. Before 2020,
Ghana was hailed among the fastest-growing economies in the world. But
COVID-19 disrupted the growth momentum of our economy and later the
Russia-Ukraine War. As a result of these factors, Ghana’s economy, which was
among the fastest-growing economies in the world, started to decelerate in
2020, and the government has committed everything in its toolkit to regenerate
Ladies and gentlemen, the ravaging impact of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine
War on the global economy are visible all around us. But somehow, the NDC
has refused to acknowledge or admit this fact to continue misinforming
Ghanaians that this government has mismanaged the economy.
So, the NDC’s press conference was merely a repetition of their denial of the
impact of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War on the economy. The NDC
hopes that by consistently propagating this blatant misinformation, it will get
enough Ghanaians to come to believe it.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I am concerned about this deliberate
misinformation campaign by the NDC to deny the impact of Covid-19 and the
Russia-Ukraine War on Ghana’s economy. This is because, over time, by
hearing this lie repeatedly, it begins to resemble the truth for the consumption or
acceptance of the general public.
The media is targeted exempted from this misinformation campaign because
you too are feeling the pinch of the hardships in the country. Our pensioners
were recently demonstrating against the inevitable Domestic Debt Exchange
Programme, and many others are concerned about increasing taxes. These real
bread-and-butter issues that make it difficult for anyone to believe it is not the
government’s fault that we are going through these hard times. This is the
opportunity the NDC seeks to exploit, to weaponise the hardships caused by
these external factors to make the government unpopular.
The plain truth is that this government has managed the economy diligently and
well. The hardships we are experiencing in Ghana are being experienced
everywhere because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War.
Workers in some of the world’s biggest economies are demanding salary
increases due to historic global inflation. It is happening in—the United
Kingdom, France and Germany. In the United Kingdom, I was told a couple of
weeks ago that they had to ration vegetables and cooking oil. Can you imagine
rationing pepper in Ghana?
The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, confirmed the impact
of Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War on the United States economy and
how difficult the effort to rebuild has been.
Kenya, one of the most dynamic economies in East Africa, has recently run out
of U.S. dollars. Most fuel and oil importers claim they cannot import the
product because they do not have foreign currency. This has led to widespread
fuel shortages in major towns and cities, especially in Nairobi.
When called upon by the National Assembly’s Finance Committee on 10th
March 2023 to explain the situation, the Kenyan Treasury Principal Secretary,
Dr Chris Kiptoo, said: “that the Kenyan shilling was weakening against the U.S.
dollar at a very fast rate because of external shock factors such as the Covid-19
pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War.”
In his press conference, you would recall that the NDC Chairman was touting
and holding Ivory Coast as a standard Ghana should aspire to become. The
NDC deliberately misrepresented the economic situation in Ivory Coast by
suggesting all in well with our western neighbours. In actuality, the Ivory Coast
they were advertising was negotiating at the time with the IMF to obtain $2.6
billion in a blended Extended Credit Facility.
Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to quote from the IMF’s release after its staff
concluded a mission to Ivory Coast on 15th March 2023.
“The Ivorian authorities and IMF staf have reached a broad agreement
on the authorities’ economic reform program that an IMF financial
arrangement could support.
The authorities are advancing their agenda for deeper economic
transformation under the 2021-25 National Development Plan. They have
taken measures to strengthen macroeconomic stability and reverse
widening fiscal and external imbalances as the economy has been hit
hard by the triple shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, global financial
tightening, and adverse spillovers from Russia’s War in Ukraine.”
As it turned out, the NDC as a party are not just incompetent managers of
Ghana’s economy but also incompetent researchers. They should have known
about this Ivory Coast-IMF negotiated deal just five days prior to their press
Please share this link with Chairman Asiedu Nketiah or his communicators to
read about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War on
the Ivorian economy, as it has had on Ghana’s.
f-staf -concludes-mission
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s spend a few minutes examining the performance of
the NDC and NPP governments between 2013-2019 before Covid-19 and the
War. Before Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War, the NPP government
recorded an impressive 7 percent average GDP growth for three fiscal years
(2017-2019). Had Covid-19 not happened, Ghana’s economy would have
continued to grow into 2020, and the story of Ghana’s economy today would not
be one of hardship but of growth and prosperity.
The NDC-Mahama administration performed poorly. Between 2013 to 2016, the
NDC returned a mournful 3.9 percent average growth. GDP declined
consistently over that period (2013-2016). Somehow, those who could not
manage Ghana’s economy in a relatively stable global economic environment
suddenly claim they have a magic wand to turn the fortunes of Ghana around in
this volatile global economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NPP took office in 2017 and turned around the
mismanaged and collapsed economy inherited from the NDC. The Industrial
sector grew from 4.3 percent in 2016 to 15.6 percent in 2017. The Services
sector increased from 2.8 percent in 2016 to 3.4 percent in 2017, and the
agriculture sector also grew from a dismal 2.7 percent in 2016 to 6.2 percent in
Let me remind you that the abysmal performance of the NDC in the Real sector
was against the NDC inheriting a booming economy from the Kufuor-led NPP
administration, which gifted the NDC oil discovery in commercial quantities.
After inheriting a booming economy, Ex-President Mahama and NDC left their
successor, President Nana Addo, a collapsed economy in 2016. Ladies and
gentlemen, sɛ wei nyɛ abrɔ a, na ɛyɛ deɛn?
We managed the Cedi better before the pandemic and the War. The NPP
managed the Cedi, with an average depreciation of 6.8% from 2017 to 2021,
compared to the NDC’s record of 18% average depreciation from 2013 to 2016.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are not particularly happy about the level of inflation
today. It has affected our economy badly, but the truth is that it is a global
problem. In February 2023, the United Kingdom’s inflation was 10.4 percent, up
from the usual average of 2.7 percent since 1989. In Nigeria, inflation jumped
from 11.4 percent in 2019 to 21.8 percent in January 2023. That is almost a 50
percent rise in inflation. The World Economic Outlook report, released on 11th
October 2022, forecasted global inflation to rise from 4.7 percent in 2021 to 8.8
percent in 2022. That represents about a 50 percent upwards jump in global
Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, the Nana Addo-NPP administration has
managed all aspects of the economy better than the NDC would have in this
situation. Ghanaians would have been worse off.
Comparing the time the NDC went to the IMF for support in August 2014,
Ghana had only seven days’ worth of imports in net foreign exchange reserves,
equivalent to $400 million. However, when the NPP sought the support of the
IMF in July last year, Ghana’s international reserves stood at $7.6 billion,
covering 3.4 months of import cover.
One of the central claims of the NDC’s false state of the nation address is that
this government has over-borrowed. This is not true, but the NDC keeps
repeating it.
The NDC likes to promote this misinformation by computing our debt stock
using nominal figures because it hides their unprecedented rate of debt
accumulation. The best way to compute our debt to see which government has
borrowed more, is by using the rate accumulation.
Former President Kufuor inherited a debt stock of approximately GHs5.4 billion
in 2001 and added about 81 percent. The NDC inherited a debt stock of GHs 9.7
billion in 2009; by 2016, they increased it to GHs 122 billion. That represents
819 percent growth in the debt stock. The NPP government, which the NDC
characterises as having over-borrowed, has added just about 304 percent to the
debt stock. The 304 percent of the total accumulated debt under this government
includes the cost of the banking sector cleanup, energy sector debt payment and
Covid-19 debt.
Official data from the Ministry of Finance shows that the nominal debt stock
increased by 50% from 2013 to 2014 under Ex-President John Mahama. For
example, if Ghana owed GHS 80 billion in 2013, the John Mahama
administration added 40 billion cedis, making it GHS 120 billion in 2014 alone.
Ladies and gentlemen, yes, Ghana has a debt challenge, but it is inaccurate for
the NDC to suggest that this government has over-borrowed. This
misinformation was captured on page 4 of the NDC’s press statement. The
borrowing narrative the NDC keeps propagating is a product of a misleading
computation of Ghana’s debt designed to misinform and mischaracterize the
record of this government. Now, they have recruited their Chairman to sing this
deceitful chorus.
Ladies and gentlemen, every adult knows, and young people who might not
know ought to learn and know that in our personal lives, in the lives of our
families, in the running of our businesses and enterprises, and while managing
the affairs of any country, difficulties are inevitable; challenges will sometimes
occur. However, true and bold leadership lies in confronting and solving
problems when they arise. We had Covid-19, and we fixed it. If we had listened
to the advice of the NDC’s supposed Covid-19 Advisory Team, our children and
students would not have gone to school until maybe two years later. They said
the children would die; not a single student was killed by Covid-19.
Similarly, we are finding solutions to our current economic difficulties. We shall
fix the economy. We have done it before in 2001 and 2017; we will fix the
economy again. We did what needed to be done to save lives; now we are
tackling the economy, and with the kind support of our hard working citizens,
we shall fix this one too.
Now, let me clarify and set the record straight on these other issues being
disingenuously propagated by our friends who always struggle with the fact.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the government has addressed the call to reduce its size.
Indeed, between this government’s first and second terms, the number of
Ministers and Deputy Ministers has been significantly reduced from 126 to 86.
This is because we are a listening Government. Additionally, the government
has taken a difficult path by implementing further cost-cutting measures,
including the following:
a. A 30% cut of the salaries of the President, Vice President,
Ministers and Heads of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
b. A discretionary 20% cut to central government spending has
been implemented.
c. A 50% cut in fuel coupon allocation for all political appointees
and heads of government institutions to ensure efficient use of
energy resources.
d. Suspension of the purchase of imported vehicles for 2022 to
reduce total vehicle purchases for the year.
e. Suspension of all foreign travels except pre-approved statutory
travels or critical travels.
f. Moratorium on the establishment of new public sector
g. A ban on using V8s or its equivalent, except for cross-country
h. Meetings and workshops should be held within the official
environment or government facilities.
i. Government-sponsored external training and Staff
Development activities at the Office of the President, Ministries,
and SOEs have been put on hold.
j. A freeze on tax waivers for foreign companies while tax
exemptions for companies in the free zone will be reviewed,
including mining and oil and gas companies.
k. No Ministry, Department or Agency, including SOEs, is
permitted to use public funds to purchase and distribute hampers.
l. There shall be no printing of diaries, notepads, calendars, and
other promotional merchandise by MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs.
m. A moratorium on bonus payment for SOEs that record losses in
the year for which the bonus applies.
n. All non-critical projects that can wait for a year have been
o. Expunged “ghost” names from Payroll through periodic payroll
audits and the link of the Ghana Card to the Payroll.
p. Address off-budget expenditures by making sure all government
expenditures go through GIFMIS.
q. Enforce commitment control within the various ministries, i.e.,
eliminate unauthorised expenditure, as well as ensure that MDAs
do not sign contracts without an approved budget.
r. Establish inter-sectoral working groups to address cross-cutting
issues; review contracts and ensure standard reporting among
Ladies and gentlemen, the preceding measures are among the decisive steps the
government is taking to ensure fiscal discipline. The point I intend to make from
the expenditure control measures outlined above is that the party and
government took the feedback on the size of government seriously, considerably
reduced the numbers from the first term, and are working diligently to control
the expenditure as shown above.
Therefore, it is not true that the government has ignored calls to reduce its size.
Instead, the government has been listening to Ghanaians, establishing a more
robust control mechanism to manage expenditure while maintaining a dynamic
team of ministers and appointees to deliver on its mandate.
Ladies and gentlemen, The NDC has been promoting the view that this
government has appointed people to needless positions and is paying them for
doing nothing. It must be stated on record that many of the workers at the
Presidency are public sector employees. Today, out of the 995 workers at the
Presidency, 658 (66%) are public sector employees.
As a matter of fact, the NDC Government had more presidential staffers than
this administration. While we have 44 presidential staffers and 1 Minister of
State at the Presidency, the Mahama-NDC Administration had 61 presidential
staffers, 6 Ministers of State and the 3 “wise men.”
Under President Mahama, the NDC appointed people to all kinds of roles,
a. Valuer
b. Brand Executive Officer
c. Administrative Manager
d. Citizenship Development Officer
e. Personal Assistant
f. Research and Monitoring Officer
g. Research Assistant
h. Officer Manager
i. Senior Executive Assistant
j. Executive Assistant/Officer
k. Senior Administrative Liaison Officer
l. Corporate/Stakeholder relations Manager
I can cite more, but that would be pointless because every President has a
constitutional duty to create the relevant offices and portfolios to deliver his or
her vision and development for the good people of Ghana.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NPP-led government has demonstrated its utmost
commitment to fighting corruption.
You would recall that an NPP administration led by former President John
Agyekum Kufuor passed the Public Procurement Act (Act 663) and the
Whistleblowers Act (Act 720) to cure corruption in the public sector. The
passage of these laws to regulate procurement in the public space has saved the
economy billions of cedis from going into private pockets. Before the enactment
of these acts by the Kufuor Administration, the PNDC/NDC had been in power
for nineteen years but did nothing about the naked corruption in public
Consistent with the NPP’s anti-corruption regulatory history established under
former President Kufuor, President Akufo-Addo, established the Office of
Special Prosecutor (OSP) by an Act of Parliament and has empowered the
Special Prosecutor to fight corruption proactively. In addition, the historic Right
To Information (RTI) Act has been passed. The Akufo-Addo administration
continues to demonstrate support for anti-corruption agencies such as the
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Auditor
General’s Department to protect the public purse.
Ladies and gentlemen, the NDC is a party that talks about corruption but not a
party that fights corruption. If the fight against corruption has been a challenge
for any group of people in Ghana, it is the NDC. They are the only political
party in this Fourth Republic whose appointees or officials have been convicted
and sentenced for corruption-related offences. Do you remember—create loot
and share? That is the NDC’s record,
The media may recall how the NDC vilified former President Kufuor and his
appointees, claiming they were corrupt. But, when the NDC won in 2008 and
formed a government in 2009 until 2016, they could not convict a single
appointee of the Kufuor Administration. This is a fact.
Today, the NDC is again talking about corruption and labelling President
Akufo-Addo and his appointees as corrupt. I appeal humbly to Ghanaians to
ignore and regard the NDC’s shouts and name-calling as a ploy to create the
impression of widespread corruption and to align itself undeservedly with
public disapproval of the act of corruption.
I call on the rank and file of the NPP to arise and mobilise behind our
government to defeat the onslaught of the NDC propaganda. This means that all
of us in the NPP, from polling stations upward, must become canvassers and
communicators to help disabuse the minds of our fellow Ghanaians from the
misinformation that the NDC is feeding the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me end by passing this piece of advice through you to
the NDC. As a political party, the NDC has a sacred responsibility to be honest
and upfront with Ghanaians in all things. The NDC must desist from the habit
and strategy of deceit in its quest for power. Such methods are often short-term
but have long-term ramifications for democracy, public confidence, and, not
least, the global perception and embrace of our dear country, Ghana.
Thank you for coming, and God bless you all.

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