Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has deflated claim by President John Dramani Mahama that the presidential election petition in 2013 affected the government and created problems for the economy.
In recent months, whenever they are confronted with the issues of their incompetence and economic decline, President Mahama and some of his appointees have been suggesting that one of the reasons for their poor performance in government is the election petition which lasted for eight months in 2013.
However, data provided by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia when delivering the lecture titled, “The State of the Ghanaian Economy – A Foundation of Concrete or Straw,” in Accra last week, indicated that 2013 was actually the best performance year of the Mahama administration.
Dr. Bawumia took time to expose the fallacy in the excuse being bandied about by the president.
“Another excuse that has recently been proffered by President Mahama for the miserable performance of the economy under his watch is the 2013 Supreme Court election petition which he claims slowed down the economy. The problem with this desperate argument is that it is contradicted by the evidence,” he charged.
Using a table which compares various economic indicators from 2012 to 2015, Dr. Bawumia factually proved that, indeed, the Mahama administration had to be thankful as 2013 was a far better year in his rule.
“Contrary to the claims by the president, except for the fiscal deficit, on virtually every single indicator such as GDP growth, inflation, exchange rate, exports, Eurobond interest rates, debt/GDP ratio, etc. the performance of the economy in 2013 was better than in 2014 and 2015.
“The president's argument therefore does not hold water and the election petition cannot be blamed. Indeed, the Mahama government had the best Eurobond rate of 7.875 in 2013 and that shows that investors and the international community had relatively more confidence in the Ghanaian economy in 2013 than the years after; how the 2013 petition is a cause of the failure of the government is as explainable as the dwarfs causing the depreciation of the cedi,” he noted.
In the area of GDP growth, the 2013 growth rate of 7.3% was far better than the abysmal 4.0% and 3.9% recorded in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and proves that if anything at all, the government has been clueless in growing the economy after 2013.
He said the end of 2013 inflation rate of 13.5% had been far better than the 17.0% and 17.7% rates recorded in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
According to Dr. Bawumia, the Debt to GDP figures showed that at the end of 2013, Ghana had not crossed the 60% Debt to GDP mark as the year ended with a 57.7% Debt to GDP mark.
He said the threshold was crossed in 2014 when the Debt to GDP rose significantly to 67.1% and was worsened in 2015 when Ghana even crossed the 70% mark, with the country recording a Debt to GDP figure of 72% at the end of 2015.
He said the 91-day Treasury Bill Rate confirmed that the 18.8% rate of 2013 had been the best since Mr. Mahama took office in 2012 and said while the rate was 22.9% in 2012, it was 25% in 2014 and 23% in 2015; all much higher than the 2013 rate.
Dr. Bawumia said while the cedi depreciated by only GH¢0.3 in 2013 to GH¢ 2.2, the cedi depreciated by as much as GH¢1.0 in 2014 to end the year at GH¢3.2 and further depreciated by GH¢0.6 in 2015 to end the year at GH¢ 3.8 – even hitting GH¢4.0 at a point.
On the issue of value of exports, Dr. Bawumia, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said data showed that Ghana had the highest level of exports in 2013 than in any other year under President Mahama.
“From $13.54 billion exports in 2012, exports rose to $13.75 billion in 2013 and rather fell to $13.22 billion in 2014 and fell even sharply to $10.36 billion in 2015,” he revealed.
To cement his point that the 2013 petition had nothing to do with the abysmal performance of the government, Dr. Bawumia referred to the president's own confessions in 2013 when the latter claimed that 2013 had been a good year in which he had laid a solid foundation for the country's economic takeoff.
“What is even more interesting is that at the time of the petition hearing, the president told the country that it had no effect on his work,” the NPP vice presidential president recounted.
“In December 2013, after a meeting with the Council of State at Aburi in the Eastern Region, President Mahama stated that his government would 'transit from first to second gear in 2014 after using this year to lay a very solid foundation for the economy' so he is telling us that he used the year of the election petition to lay a very solid foundation for the economy and today he wants us to believe that what he said was not true,” Dr. Bawumia said.
President Mahama granted interviews on a number of media platforms, including 'Thank God It's Friday' on Metro TV and BBC, saying that the election petition was not affecting him.
Speaking on a BBC 'Newsday' programme in May 2013, President Mahama said he was the least perturbed by the court case. “Why should it worry me?” he asked.
The host of the programme, Farayi Mungazi, had wanted to know if the court case really was not impacting negatively on the running of his administration.
“I wouldn't be in France if it was something that was distracting me from doing the work that I have to do,” he replied.
A DAILY GUIDE Report