President Akufo-Addo’s State of Nation message didn’t reflect true state of economy - Minority reacts
The Minority in Parliament has said the President’s message on the State of the Nation did not reflect the true state of the economy.
It said the address overlooked the widespread despair and disenchantment among Ghanaians who were going through unbearable hardships.
Reacting to the President’s message in Parliament Wednesday, the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, said the economy was in its worst shape in decades, as the nation had become “bankrupt and insolvent”.
“We are currently unable to repay our debt, as Ghana has officially defaulted in the repayment of its debt since January 2022, yet, Mr President, you have failed to cut down the size of government and public expenditure,” he said.
“Ghana is witnessing hyperinflation largely because, Mr President, your government allowed the Bank of Ghana to print GH¢50 billion in 2022 and another GH¢4 billion in the first quarter of 2023,” he added.
He said inflation was currently rising, the monetary rate was at 28 per cent, while the cedi depreciated by 20 per cent in January 2022, with unemployment at a record level.
The Minority Leader said currently the lending rate was 40 per cent and the economy was in tatters, largely because “your government inflicted this hardship on us”.
“Mr President, this is your scorecard and this is the true state of our nation,” Dr Forson said.
The Minority Chief Whip, Governs Kwame Agbodza, said the President should have taken advantage of the occasion to tell Parliament and Ghanaians the specific steps he was taking to cut back on frivolous expenditures.
“I am shocked and disappointed in the President for attempting once again to clear wrongdoers in his government. Everybody knows about a DCE in the Northern Region who has admitted that she and her party people were given an amount of money from the COVID-19 fund.
“We expect independent investigations into this, but once again the President took the wind out of our sail by pretending that he had cleared all those wrongdoings already,” he said.
By failing to speak about corruption, the Adaklu MP said, the President had chosen to endorse the wrongs “his people are doing.”
The MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, wondered why the President kept blaming the poor state of the economy on COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.
He said the two developments affected almost every country across the world and wondered why it was only Ghana that had been declared bankrupt and insolvent.
“I am appalled that the President refused to take responsibility or blame, which does not give us assurance that he can solve the problem. It means that he will continue doing the same thing which has brought us where we are,” he said.
Mr Ablakwa also said he was appalled by the President’s penchant to clear persons who had been cited for financial malfeasance.
He was surprised that President Akufo-Addo could tell Parliament that COVID-19 funds had not been mismanaged when there was a damning Auditor-General’s report on how the funds were mismanaged.
“The President’s own Attorney-General tried to stop the publication of the Auditor-General’s report, which has roundly been condemned by civil society and all of us.
“The Auditor-General’s report is replete with findings of corruption, diversion, misappropriation, misapplication and abuse of COVID-19 funds,” he said.
Mr Ablakwa opined that there was no report that could be more credible than the Auditor-General’s report in relation to how public funds had been utilised.
“We put more credibility on what the Auditor-General’s report says than what the President says, so I am disappointed in what the President has done today.
“The President, in such a prejudicial manner, even before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament looks at the findings of the Auditor-General, is busy clearing everybody,” he said.
Mr Ablakwa, who is the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed worry at the President’s “swipe at the diplomatic community” when he accused them of meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
“Cleary, this is an indirect attack on the German Ambassador. What the Ambassador was simply saying was that ‘you have come to us for debt cancellation and we will go to our taxpayers to approve those funds for you; but you must also show that you are doing your homework by reducing the size of your government’.
“You are going to them for support and talk to the Chinese and their counterparts in the comity of nations and yet you do not want them to advise you, as you want to continue to do the wrong things,” he said.