Govt won’t be forced to make sloppy economic decisions — Bawumia

BY: Samuel Duodu
Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia speaking at the fourth National Policy Summit in Tamale
Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia speaking at the fourth National Policy Summit in Tamale

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that the government will not allow itself to be pushed into taking economic decisions that are not in the interest of Ghanaians.

He said the economic decisions and policies taken so far by the Akufo-Addo adminstration were geared towards improving the well-being of Ghanaians and not to score cheap political points as the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) wanted Ghanaians to believe.

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The NPP government, he said, would continue to come up with social intervention policies that would make the ordinary Ghanaian feel the impact of the economic gains made so far in their lives.

National Policy Summit

The Vice-President made the statement when he opened the fourth National Policy Summit in Tamale yesterday.


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It has the theme: “Assessing Government’s Flagship Programmes”.

The two-day summit is a platform for explaining government policies, plans and programmes to the citizenry and to also get a feedback from them.

It is also to promote accountability, transparency and public access to information.

Areas being discussed at the summit include the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (One-constituency, one million dollar policy), free Senior High School – The Double-Track System/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); One-village, One-dam; One-district, One-factory and the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Social intervention policies

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Dr Bawumia said the NDC that claimed to be a social democratic party while in office could not introduce any social intervention policy that could be compared to the NPP government’s under former President John Agyekum Kufuor and now President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

He recalled that it was during former President Kufuor’s regime that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was introduced, which the NDC said was not sustainable but continued with it when it was in government.

Dr Bawumia said typical of the NDC, now it was the free SHS policy and the Double-Track System being implemented by President Akufo-Addo’s government that they were attacking.

The Vice-President said Ghanaians saw the eight-year administration of the NDC, which was full of taxation and economic decline, hence the decision to change it and bring in the NPP government under President Akufo-Addo to change the management of the economy from the focus of taxation to production.

He added that the various flagship policies and social intervention programmes of the government were to protect the vulnerable and the excluded in society.

Economy

Dr Bawumia said the economic records and indicators available had shown that the NPP was a better manager of the economy than its predecessor, the NDC, adding that the recent rating by Standard and Poor from B- under the NDC to B under the NPP was a clear indication that the NPP government under President Akufo-Addo was a better manager of the economy.

“The NPP under former President Kufuor left office with Ghana’s rating at B+, and after eight years of NDC’s economic management, our rating changed from B+ to B to B-. This is after eight years.

“After only 20 months of the NPP government under President Akufo-Addo, we have been upgraded from B- to B and we shall work to get B+,” he said.

Petroleum price

The Vice-President said the NPP government abolished the excise duty on petroleum, reduced the special import petroleum tax from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent, stressing that it was important to note that petroleum taxes, as a percentage of total price build-up of petroleum prices, had been reduced from 40 per cent in March 2017 to 26 per cent to date.

“We have, unfortunately, been hit by a global rise in oil prices,” he said.

The Minister of Information-designate, Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, in his opening remarks, said the national policy summit, which is a major flagship programme of the Ministry of Information, was a public-private initiative with the UMB Bank and it was to engage with citizens and receive a feedback from them.

He said some of the feedback from the summit would be included in the preparation of the 2019 budget of the government.

Kpembewura Bismark Dari, the Paramount Chief of the Kpembe Traditional Area, who chaired the opening ceremony, commended the government for coming up with the various flagship policies and programmes for the betterment of all Ghanaians.