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27.01.2024 Letter

Letters: Franklin Cudjoe on Economic Records of Ghana's Leading Political Parties

By Franklin Cudjoe- IMANI
Letters: Franklin Cudjoe on Economic Records of Ghana's Leading Political Parties
27.01.2024 LISTEN

Dear Paul,
You know l'm a huge fan of your Good Evening Ghana program. I enjoyed tonight's show, and we exchanged notes on your intro on how South Africa freed itself from the dehumanising apartheid government.

However, I couldn't help but try to straighten the twisted narrative about the dexterity of the NPP government in managing economic and government affairs in the last 8 years.

You pitched your narrative against the NDC’s candidate, JM's caution, for all to be measured in their demands of his potential government in 2025.

l think you should cut JM some slack when he says labour should hasten slowly in making demands in 2025 should he be president given the understandably precarious nature of our finances- with a debt iceberg necessitating a debt exchange program, whose reach is far more pernicious to the state's finances and personal savings (e.g. stressful near pick-pocketing of our investments through bad haircuts) than what the NDC left us in 2016.

Besides, all the things you mentioned Nana Addo did from 2017 to 2018 were mostly the results of NDC’s investments plus lMF funds and policy discipline. it was no master stroke of the NPP that it inherited/achieved a 7% growth in 2017 from 3.4% in 2016. I would even add some of the growth in 2018 was largely owed in part to NDC’s investments- if for nothing at all the NDC ended dumsor in 2016 and made investment in sound policy management of energy resources e.g. ESLA Act 2015 and the Cash Waterfall Mechanism.

The reason we were in such calamitous mess from 2021 until we ran to the IMF in an ambulance against the government's will, was due to excessive abuse of procurement-inspired and highly inflated projects without clear value addition to the economy, save perhaps free SHS from 2018 to 2020. (E.g. IPEP, EC's inflated procurement of unnecessary biometric machines, fake and costly telecom revenue assurance systems). For a period of time, nearly 85% of projects procured were not going through the government's own GIFMIS system.

Of course the premature 2019 exit from the 2015 IMF program based on unrealistic promises of fiscal discipline, a million barrels of oil, an integrated aluminum industry and an accountable and a reformed public sector.( the only real work the Senior Minister's office ever did was to edit the public sector reform paper handed over to the government by the NDC- and yet that office until it was scrapped was the source of waste which when challenged by the then Auditor General, would lead to his autocratic removal from office).

Only 4 out of 11 structural benchmarks the government committed to in the IMF program were attained by the time it exited the program--and then covid-19 exposed the vaunted hollowness of the hitherto solid economy touted.

The office of government machinery, for instance, became the hub for waste on a vast number of non-essential staff and projects. Imagine that even in 2024 when the government struggled to convince our creditors to extend repayment of our odious debt in order to get just $600m from the IMF the office of Government Machinery has seen its budget ballooned by 100%.

The 2024 budget is dishing out uneconomic tax exemptions of 12.5bn Cedis to what many see as politically favoured companies with no real value addition to the economy, while aiming to raise 11bn Cedis in taxes. And oh about that, we have lost count of the taxes and levies this government has imposed on businesses and households.

Yesterday l listened to a Deloitte Ghana sponsored program,"2024 Tax and Regulatory Outlook" to make sense of taxes and regulations in 2024, and the expert speakers were even worried and confused sometimes on the far-reaching wreck-happy impact of these octopus-like taxes on businesses and households.

Certainly, these can’t move us "from taxation to production"!

Any political party that takes over the reins of government in 2025.has quite a ride to take us through and yet should it be any other apart from the NPP, it would unfortunately inherit the humongous debt this government has cleverly postponed to 2026 and onwards with punitive sanctions if a government fails to honour obligations due.

And yes, all of this should tame politicians in this silly season of elections not to make high octane spinning promises they can't keep. IMANI will, as we have always done since 2008 through our IMANIFESTO project, make sure we don't entertain such!

Franklin Cudjoe
Lolobi-Kumasi (SALL in Hell)
January 25, 2024

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