The Minority in Parliament has slammed the State of the Nation Address (SONA), delivered by President Akufo-Addo, for lacking inspiration and woefully failing to offer hope to suffering Ghanaians.
According to them, the SONA was a far cry from the realities that Ghanaians have been forced to live with since the NPP assumed office.
“As usual he was high on flowery rhetoric but short on the substance that speaks to the aspirations and lived experiences of our people”.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader speaking at a press conference in Parliament stated that the Minority was compelled to straighten the record and present the true State of the Nation in order to jolt the President and his NPP administration into reality and to compel them to fashion out urgent appropriate responses to the needs of Ghanaians.
He said the President’s statement sought to paint a rosy picture of the Ghanaian economy. “He recounted a number of macro-economic indices such as the growth rate and inflation, which he says, are pointing in the right direction and shows that the economy is on the right track”.
He said the President rather predictably failed to give a proper account of the trajectory of these indices and the history behind them as this would have revealed the fact that they are not attributable to any exceptional economic management strategy by his government, but rather the product of hard work put in by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
Mr Iddrisu also stated that as far back as the middle of 2016, several international financial institutions had projected that Ghana’s economy was going to grow by over seven percent and close to nine percent in 2018.
He said the World Bank, IMF, the Economist Intelligence Unit among others all indicated that additional production of oil from the TEN and SANKOFA fields starting from the last quarter of 2016 was going to result in high growth rates in 2017 and 2018.
This was also going to be achieved on the back of the fiscal consolidation measures adopted by the Mahama administration under the Extended Credit Facility of the IMF to correct the slippages of previous years.
He said the attribution of the growth rate of 2017 and projections for 2018 to the economic management of the NPP is therefore misleading and paints an inaccurate picture of the true situation.
“Needless to say this growth has not been accompanied by commensurate job creation-a reason why up to a million youth in Ghana are unemployed” he added.
Mr Iddrisu also stated that regarding the public debt situation, the President last year pegged the total public debt at GH$122.3 billion yet failed yesterday to give a corresponding figure for this year.
He said the Minority is certain that the President conveniently neglected to provide information on the country’s total debt as at end year 2017 because the figures would badly expose his pre-election propaganda about the subject.
He said official figures put out by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana peg the public debt at GH$140 billion as of November, 2017. Additional borrowing between that period and now, coupled with the Energy Sector Bond of GH$4.7 billion which the IMF and World Bank classifies as public debt means that this would balloon to about GH$150 billion, representing an increase of about GH$30 billion over the January, 2017 figure or73 per cent of GDP.
Mr Iddrisu further stated that in the lead up to the 2016 elections, President Akufo-Addo and Dr Mahamudu Bawumia promised the youth of this country that an NPP administration would deliver jobs.
He said sadly, one year on, the President could not indicate how many jobs were created since the NPP government assumed office.
He said the true state of affairs in Ghana today is that the country’s young men and women face a grim future, and unfortunately, the attitude of President Akufo-Addo’s government gives neither assurance nor hope to inspire the possibility of a decent future for the youth.