The Running Mate to Nana Akufo-Addo for the 2012 General Elections, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has asserted that Ghanaians deserve better than is being experienced today.
Dr. Bawumia, delivering the 5th Ferdinand Ayim Lectures on Wednesday, outlined the various economic opportunities which he according to him have placed this government in favourable stead to improve the conditions of the ordinary Ghanaian.
The Vice-Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party stated that the global economy was recovering from the financial crisis which hit it in 2007 and 2008. He pointed out that Ghana had particularly been lucky in the past few years as prices of commodities like gold and cocoa had increased substantially.
He indicated that the discovery of Oil by the Kufuor led NPP administration and its subsequent production has boosted Ghana’s economic growth. Again, oil prices for which Ghana is now an exporter, has risen by 13% since 2009 meaning Ghana as an exporter is reaping more from the oil.
Gold prices, he also stated, are around the highest in history having increased from US$652/fine ounce (between 2005 and 2008) to US$1240/fine ounce between 2009 and 2011. An increase of 90%!
The former resident representative of the African Development Bank in Zimbabwe also mentioned the price of cocoa, which are also at an all-time high; increasing from GBP1032/tonne between 2005 and 2008 to GBP1987/tonne between 2009 and 2011. An increase of some 93% in three years.
With these improvements, as well as the unprecedented borrowing witnessed in the last three years, Dr. Bawumia noted that “Ghanaians should as a matter of right expect a much better Ghana”
The NPP running mate, however, pointed out that Ghanaians were rather seeing unprecedented increases in their hardships and suffering despite these favourable factors.
He mentioned the decline in the various sectors of the economy since 2009 including agriculture which had declined steadily from 7.4% in 2008 to 0.8% in 2011. Crop production, he stated, had registered a growth of less than 2.0% in the last two years while the fisheries sub-sector has seen a decline from 17.4%in 2008 to -8.7% in 2011.
Dr. Bawumia also took on the much touted single digit inflation figures. He cited the prices of various basic commodities which had all seen triple digit percentage increases since 2008 and wondered why the single digit inflation was not reflecting on the ground.
The former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana bemoaned the state of the social safety nets which he said was weakening. He cited the National Health Insurance Scheme which he said was in a state of disrepair and on the verge of collapse.
Dr. Bawumia again cited the case of education which has seen a fall in standards, quality and pass levels in the last four years. He mentioned the high dropout rate at the Junior High level, the rising dropout rate in some parts of the country like the North and also the infrastructure deficit especially at the tertiary level.
On corruption, Dr. Bawumia touched on the overpricing of supplies in education, health and infrastructure as well as judgment debts paid for no work done; saying, “Government is not getting value for money and is paying monies for no work done
“When monies are paid for no work done, as is the case of some judgment debts, it creates a liquidity overhang (i.e. too much money relative to output), which finds its way into prices and ultimately results in the depreciation of the cedi”, he continued.
The Vice-Presidential aspirant of the NPP also cited the huge judgment debt payments and said that such payments are costly in terms of work the monies could have done. He noted that some of the judgment debt payments could have for example been used to set up two fully capitalized Banks to support small and medium scale enterprises which could have boosted the economy and provided support for the creation of many jobs.
The Lecture was chaired by former President John Agyekum Kufuor and had in attendance, the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party and many eminent NPP personalities.