FORMER Western Regional Minister, Joseph Boahen Aidoo has expressed strong views that the economy of Ghana was restored by the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the last eight years of its control of the country's economy; “Our party was able to rescue Ghana's ailing economy which it inherited from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2000,” he said.
According to Mr. Aidoo, the economy at the time was in shambles and on a slippery path of near collapse until the Government came in to rescue the situation. But for the prudent economic policies that were put in place by the NPP administration immediately it assumed power, Ghana 's financial sector and all areas of the economy could have come to ground to a standstill, because they were facing serious challenges.
Speaking on Good News FM, a local radio station in Takoradi, last weekend, during a review of the 2009 budget, he said as at the time the NDC was leaving office, inflation rate in Ghana was galloping as it was in Zimbabwe.
Therefore, Mr. Aidoo, a former Geography lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and currently a Member of Parliament for Amenfi East, said since Ghana's economy, particularly her inflation rate was racing like that of Zimbabwe, when her inflation rate stood at 48%, with Ghana's inflation around 41%, his prognosis would not be far from the truth, when he stated that the two countries would have by now been in the same situation if the NDC had continued to be in office after the 2000 election.
Apart from the high inflation rate, he said the growth rate of the country at the time was not the best, since it was constantly fluctuating from 3.4 to 3.7. However, as the NPP took over power, he said they managed to grow the economy of the country from 3.7% that it inherited to 4.5% which was further grown to 5.3% and subsequently to 6.5%.
He said though the country's growth target as envisaged by the NPP was around 7%, it could only manage to reach 6.2% in 2008, even when the world's economy was in recession with the infamous credit crunch hitting many developed and underdeveloped countries globally.
Despite these challenges that confronted the administration, he said the NPP also managed to hand over to the NDC a much stronger economy that was resilient to external pressures. Continuing, Mr. Aidoo noted that inflation as at 2008 when the NPP was leaving office was around 18.2%, which in his view was far better than the inflation the latter inherited from the former in 2000.
The country's reserves he said also grew significantly under the NPP as against the slight growth that Ghana experienced under the erstwhile NDC government. Instead of 253 million dollars inherited from the NDC by the NPP, he said when they were leaving office they had expanded the economy, growing the country's reserves to about 2.3 billion dollars. An achievement that he believes would complement the performance of the current administration.
Meanwhile, the Western regional Youth Organizer of the NDC, Mr. Solomon Yaw Nkansah who was also a panel on the programme dubbed “Npanyin Ehyea'', stood on his grounds, disagreeing entirely with the views expressed by the legislator.
According to him, the former NDC government handed over a strong economy to the NPP government. He said most of the infrastructure that the NPP inherited was as a result of the prudent economic management of the NDC.
He mentioned hospitals, roads and schools that were constructed by the NDC regime and challenged the former Minister to also mention visible infrastructure development that could match the NDC's achievements. To this end, he rubbished the figures being presented by the Minister, saying “you don't know NPP members, they can present any figure just to confuse you”
Known in private life as Solo, the Youth Organizer also debated with the Minister on the nature of the roads in the western region and blamed the NPP for its failure to maintain the feeder roads in the region, a system he said the NDC had adopted to help farmers to ply on the good roads in transporting their farm products from the farming communities to the towns and cities for accessible and ready markets.
This stance of Solo did not go down well with the former Minister who rather accused the former NDC government of its failure to tar the feeder roads in the region. The two men, however, mentioned the number of roads that their parties rehabilitated, constructed and maintained during their tenure of office.