Can we trust the Finance Minister? NPP asks
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), is accusing the Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor of double standards in his public statements about the economy.
In a statement signed by its Policy Advisor, Kwaku Kwarteng, the NPP said while the Finance Minister signed a document that painted a rosy realistic picture about the economy inherited by the NDC government, he (Dr Duffuor) went to Parliament Tuesday and claimed the NPP left the economy in intensive care unit.
Below is the full statement issued by the NPP.
The double tongue of Ghana's Finance Minister
On the 26th of June 2009, that is six months after the NDC government assumed office, the Minister for Finance & Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffour signed the Memorandum for Economic & Financial Policies, 2009 – 2012, that outlined Ghana's policies for the period 2009 to 2012.
In the policy memorandum, he gave the following testimony about the economy his government had inherited from the NPP government:
“Real GDP growth increased steadily from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 7.3 percent in 2008. This growth was fostered by significant debt relief which provided the country with fiscal space to embark on critical infrastructure investments, particularly in the energy and road sectors, as well as targeted social spending, all under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS). The combination of higher output growth, declining inflation, and improved social spending under the GPRS framework contributed significantly to lower poverty levels. The national incidence of poverty declined from 39.5 percent in 1998/99 to 28.5 percent in 2005/06. At this rate, Ghana is poised to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving extreme poverty ahead of 2015.”
On education and health, Dr Kwabena Duffour stated the following:
“In the education sector, gross enrolment ratios have increased. A major initiative for improved enrolment ratios was the abolition of mandatory school fees for basic education and the introduction of capitation grants in the 2005–06 academic year.”
“In the health sector, there have been progressive improvements in the delivery of a number of important outputs. Most notable are: increase in life expectancy from 55 years in 2003 to 57.9 in 2006; the introduction of a pre-paid National Health Insurance Scheme in 2004; and the introduction of free maternal care for expectant mothers. These, together, have put healthcare within the reach of the poor and vulnerable groups.”
These are a few examples of Dr Duffour assessment of the economy and the state of the nation the NDC government inherited in January 2009. The information formed the basis for the government's economic policies from 2009 to 2012.
Strangely, just yesterday, the 7th of December 2010, the same Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour made the following statements about the economy they inherited in 2008 on the floor of Parliament:
“Madam Speaker, they [the NPP government] left the economy of this country in the intensive care unit. We have to take almost two years to bring this economy back and we have brought it back, we are now a very strong economy,”
Which testimony is the truth? This double tongue of Ghana's Finance Minister is dishonest and unfortunate. It creates the impression, not just at home but internationally that Ghana's state managers cannot be trusted.
If the government is having difficulties dealing with the challenges facing us as a country, let them be honest about it so that collectively we can find solutions. This double tongue will do this country no good.