“Ghanaians Deserve Better”
5/4/2012 4:30:48 PM -
The vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Mahamudu Bawumia, says the people of Ghana deserve far better than the current hardship they are suffering under the Mills-Mahama led National Democratic Congress government.
Delivering the 5th Ferdinand Ayim Lectures Wednesday, Dr Bawumia outlined the various economic opportunities which, according to him, had placed the government in favourable stead to improve the conditions of the ordinary Ghanaian.
He explained that the global economy was recovering from the financial crisis which hit it in 2007 and 2008, adding that Ghana had been particularly lucky in the past few years, with prices of commodities like gold and cocoa having increased substantially.
Dr Bawumia indicated that the discovery of Oil by the previous Kufuor-led NPP administration and its subsequent production had boosted Ghana's economic growth, stressing that oil prices had risen by 13% since 2009, an indication that Ghana as an exporter is reaping more from the oil.
Gold prices, he also stated, are around the highest in history, having increased from US$652/fine ounce (between 2005 and 2008) to US$1240/fine ounce between 2009 and 2011.
The former resident representative of the African Development Bank in Zimbabwe also mentioned the price of cocoa, which is also at an all-time high, increasing from GBP1032/tonne between 2005 and 2008 to GBP1987/tonne between 2009 and 2011. This represents an increase of some 93% in three years.
With these improvements, as well as the unprecedented borrowing witnessed in the last three years, Dr Bawumia insisted: 'Ghanaians should as a matter of right expect a much better Ghana.'
The NPP running mate, however, pointed out that Ghanaians were rather seeing unprecedented increases in their hardships and suffering despite these favourable factors.
He mentioned the decline in the various sectors of the economy since 2009, including agriculture which had declined steadily from 7.4% in 2008 to 0.8% in 2011. Crop production, he stated, had registered a growth of less than 2.0% in the last two years while the fisheries sub-sector has seen a decline from 17.4%in 2008 to -8.7% in 2011.
Dr Bawumia also took on the much touted single digit inflation figures. He cited the prices of various basic commodities which had all seen triple digit percentage increases since 2008 and wondered why the single digit inflation was not reflecting on the ground.
The former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana bemoaned the state of the social safety nets which he said was weakening. He cited the National Health Insurance Scheme which is in a state of disrepair and on the verge of collapse.
Dr Bawumia again cited the case of education which has seen a fall in standards, quality and pass levels in the last four years. He mentioned the high dropout rate at the Junior High level, the rising dropout rate in some parts of the country like the North and also the infrastructure deficit especially at the tertiary level.
On corruption, Dr Bawumia touched on the overpricing of supplies in the education and health sectors and infrastructure, as well as judgment debts paid for no work done, adding: 'Government is not getting value for money and is paying monies for no work done.'
He explained: 'When monies are paid for no work done, as is the case of some judgment debts, it creates a liquidity overhang (i.e. too much money relative to output), which finds its way into prices and ultimately results in the depreciation of the cedi.'