Minority Caucus warns of tougher times ahead

Osei_Kyei_Mensah_BonsuThe Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Caucus in Parliament has urged Ghanaians to brace themselves up for tougher economic hardships this year.

According to the Minority, there would be no relief to the suffering of Ghanaians this year, due to the economic mess created by the NDC government in the past six years.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra yesterday, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP Suame), said the nation had experienced a decline in real GDP growth, increased inflation and cost of living, double digit fiscal deficits, massive increase in the public debt stock, exchange rate depreciation, rising corruption, and youth unemployment, among others.

“After six years in office, Ghanaians are now being asked to pay dearly for the economic mismanagement and corruption of this NDC government which has resulted in economic decline and high debt levels, taking Ghana again towards debt unsustainability,” he said.

The Minority Leader said that “In a bid to raise revenue to cover the mess they have created, the NDC government resorted to taxing everything in sight”.

He said the 2015 budget demonstrated very little appreciation of the problems Ghanaian workers and businesses were going through at the moment.

He explained that real GDP growth had declined from 15 per cent in 2011 with the onset of oil production to a projected 3.9 per cent in 2015, including oil, and noted that the budget had projected non-oil growth of 2.7 per cent in 2015.

“The facts are as revealing as they are disturbing.  The government is claiming that the economy is recovering,” he said, adding, “If indeed the economy is recovering as indicated by this government and we have turned the curve, what will be explaining the further decline in growth in a year that claims to be focused on sealing up the bright prospects of the economy? What sort of recovery sees real GDP growth decline from a purported 6.9 per cent in 2014 to 3.9 in 2014?”

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the decline in real GDP, manifested in all the sectors of the economy, and wondered how the government intended to rake in revenues to support infrastructural development and meet its statutory obligations in the midst of the deep decline in economic activity.

“Something is not quite right with the real GDP numbers. They lack credibility. How can an economy which went through so much turmoil in 2014 with a colossal 75 per cent depreciation and massive load shedding register real GDP growth of 6.9 per cent only to decline sharply to 3.9 per cent, when the government claims the economy is transforming or recovering? Is the recovery in reverse gear? Our view is that the 6.9 per cent real GDP growth reported by the Ghana Statistical Service needs to be re-examined,” he said.

The Minority Leader urged the government to come public and explain the sharp decline in real GDP growth in 2015 because if the real GDP numbers for 2014 were overstated, it would have implications for the 2015 projections and policies.

He said the NDC government inherited an economy that was growing at 8.4 per cent without oil and added that having become an oil producer, the government had superintended over a precipitous decline in real GDP growth from 14 per cent in 2011 to 3.9 per cent in 2015.

“Slow growth means higher unemployment, high prices, and declining revenues. In this respect, the NDC administration has woefully failed Ghanaians and one is deeply worried about the depth to which the economy is sinking,” he said.

Mr. Kyei Mensah-Bonsu also spoke on a wide range of issues including the country’s debt sustainability, petroleum taxes, and the IMF’s programme and related issues.

By Yaw Kyei

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