Minority paints gloomy picture in ‘State of Nation Address’

Osei Kyei Mensah BonsuThe Minority Caucus in Parliament yesterday presented its version of the state of the nation with a call on Ghanaians to rise up, work hard, and save themselves from the havoc the Mahama-led administration has caused.

“The ship of the state is rudderless and it is for all of us patriotic Ghanaians to salvage the situation for ourselves, our children and our children’s children,” the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said at a nwes conference in Parliament.

He said although the President painted a rosy picture, he presented his message against the backdrop of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for a $1 billion bail out and noted that the bail out had become necessary basically because of the fiscal indiscipline that the NDC government had exhibited.

“The background of the President’s message is a nation steeped in reckless over expenditure, a cholera-infested environment, deplorable living conditions, drivers and passengers disagreeing on fares, high utility charges, a rising inflation, a weakening currency and unprecedented corruption unfolding before our eyes,” he said.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the resort to IMF bail out would require the government to remove all subsidies on utilities and petroleum products and introduce new taxes to absorb losses in revenues to government.

In the meantime, he said GETFund, District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) were all in arrears.

“As I speak, there is a raging dispute between Ministry of Finance and NHIA in respect of how much monies the former has released to the NHIA to pay service providers in 2013.  Road contractors have not been paid for years and months”.

“The message was delivered at a time when the interest on debt servicing today is bigger than the total debt stock in 2008. The nation has become restless and yet the President paints a very rosy picture,” he said.

Touching on GDP, the Minority Leader, making reference to a publication in The Ghanaian Times’ January 21, 2015 edition, said when the President recently met some industrialists in Berlin, Germany, he told them that the country’s economy would register a GDP growth rate of 5% for 2015 compared with 7.1%  in 2014.

“The President’s statement was a palpable falsehood because the 2014 GDP growth is given as 6.9% by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) whereas the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Bank of Ghana (BoG) collaboratively state it as 4.6% with a non-oil sector growth of 3.8%,” he said and added that the difference between the figures of GSS and MoF clearly pointed to the unco-ordinated nature of the management of the country’s economy under President Mahama.

On exchange rate, he said the government projected that the cedi would depreciate slightly to GH¢2.35 to US$1 by December 2014 and noted that “on February 25, 2014 when the President delivered his sessional message the exchange rate was GH¢2.20 to US$1.00.  By the first quarter of 2014, the cedi had depreciated by 17.6%.  At the end of August 2014, the cedi had depreciated by 75% since December 2013 and was selling at GH¢3.85 to $1”.

He indicated that as at December 2014 the cedi had made some recovery from GH¢3.85 to US$1 to GH¢3.20 courtesy of proceeds from the Eurobond issue and the syndicated loan for cocoa and added that even that represented a depreciation of over 64% from the December 2013

By Yaw Kyei

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