The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged Ghanaians to have confidence in the Akufo-Addo administration to navigate the nation positively through the present economic storms because, fundamentally, the NPP has a trackrecord of doing so.
Addressing thousands of attendees at a training and orientation programme for the Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON) on Thursday, 7th April 2022 Dr Bawumia reminded Ghanaians that although times may be hard now, the Akufo-Addo administration inherited an even more dire situation and successfully moved the country onto a path of growth until the whole world was blindsided by the Covid 19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and locally, the banking sector clean up.
In a brutally-frank lecture on Ghana’s economy from 1990 till date, Dr Bawumia assured that despite the present difficulties, Government is working assiduously to restore the country on the path of growth and accelerated development shifted off course by the three almost concurrent challenges.
“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. Some years ago also we had been 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 health care, the bane of the cash and carry system, a nearly collapsed national ambulance system, freeze on public sector employment, and almost collapsed banking sector and so on.
He continued: “The economy was on the verge of collapse and a legacy of taking or pay contracts saddled our economy with annual excess capacity charges of close to $1 billion. … 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 the Ghanaian people above what the situation used to be at the time this government was formed in 2017. Taking over from then meant we had to do our best also to make things work and better.
“Together as a country, we proceeded to fix the economy. We made great gains and the records attest to this. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic which has impacted all economies in the world, we stabilized the economy and achieved great strides.
“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,” he reminded Ghanaians.
Enumerating a list of social interventions introduced by the Akufo-Addo administration to cushion Ghanaians before and in the midst of the pandemic, including lifting the freeze on employment, doubling the Capitation Grant, expansion of the LEAP and School Feeding programmes, free water, subsidized electricity, and no public sector salary cuts or lay-offs, Dr Bawumia called on Ghanaians to work hand in hand with Government to address the present challenges.
“In the midst of the current economic challenges we face, we are putting in place the key pillars for the economic transformation of Ghana. 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 had a special message for Ghanaian youth.
“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. I am excited about the prospects of the nation we are building and the brilliant minds being nurtured who are contributing to this vision.
“We may not achieve everything we set out to achieve, but that must not stop us from trying. We must celebrate our 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.”