Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged Ghanaians to have confidence in the Akufo-Addo-led Administration to navigate the country positively through the present economic crises because the Government has a track-record of doing so.
He said the Government spent GHC62 billion in various social interventions to alleviate the plight of Ghanaians, describing it as “shock absorbers”.
He expressed optimism that with sound economic policies and programmes, the economy would bounce back stronger and better.
Dr Bawumia said this when he addressed hundreds of delegates of the National Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON) of the NPP’s Training and Orientation programme at the Pentecost Convention Centre, Gomoa-Fetteh, in the Central Region.
The event was on the theme: “Our Resolve, Our Determination to the Sustained Growth of the NPP”.
Dr Bawumia used the platform to address Ghanaians on the ‘State of the Economy’ and reminded Ghanaians that although times may be hard, the Akufo-Addo Administration inherited an even more dire situation but successfully moved the country onto a path of growth notwithstanding the banking sector clean up, until the whole world was blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In a frank lecture on Ghana’s economy from 1990 till date, Dr Bawumia gave the assurance that despite the present difficulties, government was working assiduously to restore the country onto the path of growth and accelerated development.
“Not long ago, we had felt similar despair. The fear of losing our lives to a pandemic and the near halt to our economy as we battled to survive each day,” he said.
“Some years ago, we were confronted by very dire economic circumstances. The joblessness of our youth, years of lights out that impacted adversely on businesses and jobs, the disappointment of dealing with a collapsed national health insurance system and inability to access healthcare, the bane of the cash and carry system, a nearly collapsed national ambulance system, freeze on public sector employment, an almost collapsed banking sector and so on.”
He said the economy was on the verge of collapse, which was saddled with a legacy of take or pay contracts, with annual excess capacity charges of close to one billion dollars.
“We were confronted with a banking crisis that starred at us with deadly stints. Not dealing decisively with the banking crisis would have meant disaster for the economy as the entire banking system would have collapsed.”
“In addition, not keeping up with the excess capacity payments would have meant throwing the country back into a new bout of dumsor.”
The Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo put in much effort to turn things around and elevate the standards of living of Ghanaians above what the situation used to be at the Government was formed in 2017.
“Together as a country, we proceeded to fix the economy. We made great gains and the records attest to this,” Dr Bawumia said.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted economies all over the world, government had stabilised the economy and achieved great strides, he said.
“The relatively strong performance of the economy, among other things, led to Ghana becoming the destination of choice for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in West Africa, according to the 2019 World Investment Report by UNCTAD.”
Dr Bawumia listed some social interventions like the lifting of the freeze on employment, doubling of the Capitation Grant, expansion of the LEAP and School Feeding programmes, free
water, subsidised electricity, and no public sector salary cuts or lay-offs, introduced by the Akufo-Addo Administration to cushion Ghanaians in the midst of the pandemic.
He called on Ghanaians to work hand in hand with the Government to address the present challenges.
In the midst of the current economic challenges Ghana was facing, Government was putting in place the key pillars for the economic transformation of the country, he said.
“We may not yet be where we want to be, and we may be buffeted by the winds of the pandemic and the war for yet a little while, but we have made a great start and, together, we shall finish what we started,” Dr Bawumia assured.
“We understand your desires for a bright and prosperous future. A future that would have the resilience to better withstand shocks of the nature we are currently experiencing.”
He expressed delight about the prospects of the nation and that brilliant minds were being nurtured to contribute towards that vision.
“We may not achieve everything we set out to achieve, but that must not stop us from trying”.
He said Ghanaians must celebrate their achievements, big or small, and not seek to tarnish or belittle them for the sake of politics.
“I look forward to all of you playing a role in making our nation great and strong,” the Vice President said.