Minority, Majority in tango over economic

Mr.-Haruna-Iddrisu-Minister-for-Employment-and-Labour-RelationsThe National Democratic Congress lawmaker for the Bolgatanga Central Constituency in the Upper East Region, Isaac Adongo, has faulted the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia for what he said is the decline in the economic growth of the country.

 

He has thus urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to change Dr Bawumia as the head of the Economic Management Team if that is not a constitutional requirement.

 

According to the first-time Member of Parliament, the Vice President is failing the President in the management of the economy leading to economic hardship in the country.

 

By convention, since 1993, Vice Presidents have chaired the Economic Management Team.

 

Total economic growth minus oil, Isaac Adongo said dropped to 4.8 per cent in 2017 from five per cent in 2016 and asked “how can the President be celebrating this incompetence?”

 

Making a comparison between the economy under Dr Bawumia and then Vice President John Mahama between 2009 and 2012 when he took his turn during the debate of the the State-of-the-Nation address, Isaac Adongo said Mr Mahama, who is not an economist, posts stronger macro and micro economic indicators than Dr Bawumia.

 

He said in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the economy without oil grew by 7.6, 8.6 and 8.6 percentage points respectively as compared to the “paltry” 4.8 per cent recorded in 2017.

 

Relying on figures from the Summary Economic and Financial Data from the Bank of Ghana, Mr Adongo said “when an economy is managed properly, it shows in the strength of the financial sector.”

 

According to him the liquidity of the banking sector in 2016 ended at 22 per cent, a figure he said had dropped to 16.7 per cent in 2017, private sector growth declining from 14.4 per cent under the previous government in 2016 to 12.8 in 2017, total asset of banks growing by 30.4 per cent in 2016 but dropped to 12.8 per cent with total advances in the system increasing by 18.3 per cent in 2016 only to drop to 5.9 per cent in 2017.

 

“Mr Speaker, total capital adequacy of our banks in 2016 stood at 18 per cent but our banks have become so vulnerable that their adequacy is only 15 per cent today. Again non performing loans that they claimed they were going to address stood at 17.8 per cent at the end of 2016 but today, under this incompetent government, it has increased to 22.9 per cent.

 

“If the Vice President heading the Economic Management Team is not a constitutional imperative, he should be reshuffled immediately from heading the team to save Ghana from this incompetence and mediocrity,” he said to loud cheers from members on his side.

 

But Okaikoi Central Member, Patrick Yaw Boamah thinks otherwise saying the erstwhile NDC administration left the economy in a “big mess” and was yet to fulfil the promises it made to Ghanaians, a thing he said President Akufo-Addo was doing.

 

He said the past government kept the tier two pension fund at the Central Bank for six years without attracting any interest denying the “poor pensioner the right  interest rate that would enable him enjoy his pension…..it took the wise decision by the Chairman of the Economic Management Team, Dr Bawumia, to ensure that funds were released.”

 

Alluding to the President’s claim that the Ghana Stock Exchange was the best performing stock in the world for the month of January 2018, Mr Boamah said this was because funds were released and trading on the stock market became very busy and attracted high interest rates.

 

He cited the intention by JP Morgan Chase, an American multinational banking and financial services holding company headquartered in New York City and the entry of Exxon Mobil, an American multinational oil and gas corporation, into the Ghanaian oil and gas space as a result of the “confidence that this government has introduced into the country.”

 

On job creation, Mr Boamah said apart from the 100,000 youth expected to be hired under the National Builders Corps, 9,000 people have been engaged under the Community Protection module of the National Youth Employment Authority in 2017, with 3,000 more expected to be engaged this year.

 

By introducing the Ghana Post GPS system, 400 people have been employed, 1,200 engaged under the Agric Extension Programme, 600 under the Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and 230 project assistants taken on board.

 

He said with Ghana doing better on ease of doing business index “these interventions will help reduce the unemployment rate caused by the National Democratic Congress. This government is taking steps to ensure that all the economic indicators are pointing to the right direction.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

 

 

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