15th July 2024

Director of Communications for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Richard Ahiagbah has stated that the Akufo-Addo government is on course to restore the country’s economic stability and growth that existed before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the press at the party headquarters in Aslym Down, Accra, today Wednesday 22 February 2023, Richard Ahiagbah, said the government’s Post Covid-19 Program for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) is a solid blueprint that is ushering the country out of the economic setback the people of Ghana have had to endure the last 12months.

*NDC’s poor record*

Before he outlined the recovery plans of the Akufo-Addo administration, Mr. Ahiagbah, took a swipe at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for what he says is a deliberate effort on the part of the opposition party to “misled many Ghanaians to think that [the Akufo-Addo government] has mismanaged the economy since assuming office”.

“This claim by the NDC however is not supported by the hard economic data and the reality around the world. In all these, the NDC has not provided any credible alternative solution(s). They are talking a lot but not about solutions. It is blame, mischaracterization, and denial of obvious global economic realities” Richard Ahiagbah said.

Supporting his argument on the “poor performance” of the NDC when they were in office between 2013 and 2016, Ahiagbah said, “on the larger economy which is measured in terms of GDP the NDC, supervised a perpetual decline from 2013 to 2016”.

“In 2013, GDP was 7.3%; in 2014 it was 4%; in 2015 it was 3.9% and in 2016 it was 3.7%. In terms of percentage changes in the GPD, the economy deteriorated by 45.2% in 2014 compared to 2013 growth. Similarly, the economy decreased by 2.5% in 2015 and 5.12% in 2016.

“In the Real Sector, which includes Agriculture, Industry, and Service, the NDC’s performance was even worst. From 2013, real sector growth plummeted significantly across all sectors. In 2014 all the sectors grew at a negative rate using 2013 performance as a base” Mr. Ahiagbah said.

“Let me remind you that this poor performance was against the NDC inheriting an economy that had discovered oil in commercial quantities and began production in 2010; which shot Ghana’s GDP to 14% in 2011. All that growth momentum was vanquished by the NDC, led by Ex-President Mahama” he added.

*NPP’s outstanding performance*

Comparing the NDC’s performance with the NPP’s time in office before the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the NPP’s director of communications noted that available data shows that the “NPP turned around the contracting economy it inherited from the NDC in 2017 to date”.

“On GDP, 2017 GDP grew at 8.1 percent compared to 3.7 percent in 2016, 2018 GDP grew by 6.3%, 2019 GDP grew by 6.5% and 2020 GDP grew by 0.5%. In the real rector, the industry recorded its highest growth of 16.7% in 2017, with Agriculture at 8.4%, and the Services sectors at 4.3%.

“Industry grew from a mournful negative 0.5% in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017 and Services grew from 2.8% in 2016 to an appreciable 4.3% in 2017,” Ahiagbah said.

“The Agric sector also grew from a dismal 2.7% in 2016 to 8.4% in 2017. Friends from the media, this data we just reviewed imply that the vulnerable in our society, the poor, indeed, the vast majority of Ghanaians fared much better under NPP in 2017. Data is sacred” he added.

*Recovery plan*

As part of the recovery plan, Mr. Ahiagbah said “Government has introduced the Post Covid-19 Program for Economic Growth (PC-PEG) to among others establish a sustainable macro-fiscal path, restore debt sustainability and macro-economic stability underpinned by key structural reform and social protection”.

According to Richard Ahiagbah, “the PC-PEG will address the economic challenges of this country through fiscal consolidation, get treatment, and structural reform” and that “Government through the Central Bank has responded with a raft of monetary policy measures, including the bi-weekly FX forward auction, and the BDC forex auction which has helped subdue the pressure on the spot FX market”.

“To complement the monetary policies which have been activated, the Government has subsequently announced Expenditure-led measures including a 30% cut in discretionary expenditures, a moratorium on the new creation of government units, a freeze on government travels, 30 percent cut in salaries of the executive and political appointees, among others,” Ahiagbah said.

“Other policies such as the implementation of the Gold for Oil (G4O) program, implementation of the COVID-19 Alleviation & Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES) Program, to inject some Ghc100 billion into the economy” [are all part of the larger strategy of the government to the country’s economic stability] Ahiagbah added.

“Government’s transformative agenda to digitalize the economy [which is aimed at formalizing] the Ghanaian economy & improve its administrative systems & global competitiveness, the banking sector reforms which has introduced a tighter regulatory & supervisory framework in the sector are all part of the steps government is taking to revive the economy.

“Through these innovative measures, the government is demonstrating its resolve to build back the economy quickly and restore fiscal rectitude. Government’s commitment to these measures is a clear assurance that we are on the right track and capable of causing a turnaround of the economy with the resolute support of all Ghanaians” Richard Ahiagbah further stated.

*Way Forward for Economy*

In his press statement, the NPP’s director of communications identified several thematic areas that the government is paying attention to tackle the prevailing economic challenges.

Mr. Ahiagbah noted that in 2022, the government introduced a raft of fiscal and monetary measures to rein in expenditures and improve revenue mobilization, including a cut in discretionary spending, a cut in the salaries of the executives, a freeze on foreign travel, among others”.

“The 2023 budget indicates the government’s desire to continue fiscal consolidation efforts and reduce the fiscal deficit in line with the pending IMF Programme. The government expects to record one of the lowest deficits this year, much lower than the GH¢64.0 billion announced in the 2023 budget” Ahiagbah said.

“Expenditure measures, the debt treatment program, and structural reforms, among others, are all measures that the Akufo-Addo administration has embarked on to ensure that the economy is stabilized and subsequently made to grow as was the case before the COVID-19 pandemic” Ahiagbah added.

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