VICE President John Dramani Mahama has stated that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) would effectively manage the economy to survive the global economic crisis.
He has therefore asked Ghanaians to be tolerant with the government to close the gap of the budget deficit it inherited from the opposition New Patriotic Party NPP government. “We have assembled a team that is quite competent, and we are sure that we are going to go through a period of adjustment for about a year or two,” he pointed out.
The Vice President made the statement when he appeared on 'Thank God it's Friday' show hosted by Mr. Kweku Sintim Missah (KSM) last Friday.
He said the government intends to, first of all, tackle the budget deficit it inherited from the previous government by cutting it down from 14.7% to at least 9.4%, as stated in the budget statement.
According to Mr. Mahama the reduction of the budget deficit would mark the beginning of better things to come.
Mr. Mahama, who is the immediate past Member of Parliament (MP) for Bole Bamboi in the Northern Region, also announced that the government would soon come out with identification numbers to rename all government vehicles, to prevent public officials from using them for their private businesses.
All these plans, according to him, are meant to support government to survive the global world economic crisis. He said the ruling NDC government cannot float Eurobonds to support the finances of the country, because, “The credit market is virtually closed to us, and if you look at Ghana's credit rating at the moment, it is not as good as it used to be, so it means that we have very little room for manoeuvre,” he emphasised.
“We will feel emasculated a bit this year, and part of next year, after that, people will definitely see that progress is being made. Besides, when oil revenue comes, it will come as a support base,” he told viewers.
He noted that there would also be transparency and accountability in the management of the economy. This, in his view, would be the beginning of the open government that the NDC promised Ghanaians.
“Transparency and consensus building with the people – That is the type of mentality that we are coming into government with.”
He insisted that contracts and business opportunities would be made transparent and available to all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliations.
He also told his viewers that his government would begin to work immediately on programmes that would not require legislations, and would speed up those that they have to legislate.
He said if farmers were adequately supported, they could produce to help the country to cut down imports. He disclosed that about $500 million worth of rice was being imported annually into the country, which in his view, was unacceptable, because the same amount could have been invested into agriculture to produce for the country's consumption and export.