It has been revealed that the capita debt of the country before the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government left office in 2008 was GH¢431 but it has skyrocketed to GH¢4,436 – meaning every Ghanaian owes GH¢4,436- because of the penchant of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to borrow which increased Ghana’s debt stock from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢122 billion in eight years.
This disclosure was made in parliament yesterday when the curtain was brought down on the debate on the president’s State of the Nation address by Members of Parliament (MPs).
The first fiscal statement of President Akufo-Addo’s government is set to take the centre stage in parliament when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presents the much-touted budget this morning.
The budget is expected to address the challenges of the economy as espoused by the president in his State of the Nation address.
There is high expectation regarding the restoration of students’ allowances and the way forward to permanently resolve the power crisis, also known as dumsor.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, rounding off the debate on the president’s address, accused the immediate-past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of gross mismanagement of the economy, creating unprecedented hardships for Ghanaians.
He said former President John Dramani Mahama had been claiming that Ghana’s economy under him was fundamentally strong, but when the NPP government took over, it had been discovered that the economy was fundamentally weak.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the former president’s actions were a deliberate plan to mask the reality on the ground.
According to him, the net international reserve of the country is less than three weeks currently.
He said the economy under former President Kufuor – without oil revenue – performed better than an oil economy presided over by former Presidents John Atta Mills and John Mahama.
He noted that interest payment on the huge debt left by the NDC government was crippling the economy.
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu pointed out that the NDC government in 2016 used GH¢11 billion to pay for interests on loans – which was more than the budgets of the Ministries of Roads and Highways, Food and Agriculture, Fisheries and Acquaculture, Works and Housing, Trade and Industry and Transport put together for that year.
He said if the NDC government had made conscious efforts to complete all the power projects initiated by the previous NPP government, Ghanaians would not have been experiencing dumsor.
The majority leader indicated that for inexplicable reasons, the NDC government decided not to continue with most of the projects in the energy sector which were started by the NPP administration and rather decided to go for “dubious” Karpower and Ameri power plants to augment Ghana’s power and promised that those two power deals would be investigated by this government.
The minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said it was paradoxical for President Akufo-Addo to claim that there was no money left by the previous government and still make a litany of promises to be fulfilled by his government, including the free senior high school education.
He said when in opposition the NPP was constantly accusing the NDC government of failing to manage the energy crisis well, pointing out that now under NPP, dumsor has assumed unprecedented proportion and that if care was not taken, dumsor under NPP would be ‘presor, presor.’
He, however, welcomed the proposal by President Akufo-Addo to appoint a special prosecutor to deal with corruption.
The MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr Dominic Ayine said the Special Prosecutor Office is being created to witch-hunt members of the immediate-past NDC government.
“Mr Speaker, in our situation where I am very certain, and we on this side can predict with almost mathematical certainty that the Office of the Special Prosecutor will be aiming at prosecuting former ministers and appointees of the former government,” Dr Ayine said.