Country’s economic woes due to “reckless” borrowing by Finance Minister – John Mahama

The former President Mr John Dramani Mahama has attributed the country’s current economic challenges to “reckless” borrowing by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta.

To this end, he has backed calls for the immediate dismissal of the Minister.

Additionally, he called for a moratorium on all non-concessional borrowing, canvassing bilateral partners for more concessional financing and grants and a stop to the Bank of Ghana’s financing of government above the five per cent threshold, especially through currency printing.

Speaking at a lecture on the economy in Accra yesterday, the former President said the failure of President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo to remove MrOfori-Atta from office was deepening the woes.

It was on the theme “Building the Ghana We Want.”

“To be clear, we’re in this mess because of an untouchable Finance Minister relying on his Databank workers and neglecting the advice of seasoned experts at the Finance Ministry. He has been left to run this economy into the ground.

We’re in this mess because of the so-called solid Economic Management Team, who over the last several years has been unable to call the President’s cousin (Ofori-Atta) to order when he embarked on a reckless borrowing spree,” Mr Mahama stated.

He said the actions of the government were the cause of the continuous depreciation of the Cedi and the other economic challenges plaguing the country.

The former President said it was incomprehensible that the President had allowed MrOfori-Atta to latch onto his position until the passage of the 2023 budget and the completion of Ghana’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I think this is untenable. Budget preparation and IMF negotiations are the results of teamwork. They are not the work of one individual.

I fail to see how the absence of the minister will affect the preparation of the budget and the negotiation with the International Monetary Fund. There surely must be persons with the requisite experience in the NPP to carry on this work,” Mr Mahama noted.

He urged Ghanaians to continue demands of the government to take decisions and measures which would save the country from total collapse.

As a first step in bringing the economy back on track, Mr Mahama further asked President Akufo-Addo to take hold of the Economic Management Team to help boost confidence in the economy.

“The president must not only replace the Minister of Finance, he must also reconstitute and take control of the Economic Management Team himself,” he said.

He further urged the government to consider measures such as a cut in the number of government appointees as a means of salvaging the economy.

The former President urged Parliament to pass legislations that would stop governments from using statutory fund as collateral for loans.

He said the wanton collateralisation of almost all statutory funds for the purpose of taking more loans had been unhelpful.

Mr Mahama called on government to leverage its competitive advantage in the energy sector to partner the private sector and mobilise the needed infrastructure and investment to export energy to other West African countries and save foreign exchange due to limited importation.


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