Statement: Beyond vile criticism…Hon. Seth Terkper is on course towards economic recovery

In the face of short-term fiscal challenges, Hon. Seth Terkper the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, at the back of strong economic leadership/sound policies rightly on course towards economic recovery, stability and growth.

The fiscal and external vulnerabilities inherent in the Ghanaian economy are evidently reflected in the increasingly negative surge of key major economic indicators and growing tightness of external financing conditions. Further, stressing the internal socio-economic conditions in threatening not only to erode economic gains made but potentially seeking in undermining quality of life of the citizenry and harming the corporate competitiveness of Ghanaian companies/businesses.

In the midst of all these challenges with respect to short-term fiscal challenges, greater leadership has been shown by the NDC Government under the leadership of President John D. Mahama and ably supported by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Seth Terkper.

This leadership was greatly demonstrated by the President, John D. Mahama in admitting on the floor of Parliament of Ghana the immediate challenges facing the Ghanaian economy, whilst pointing to difficult but painful measures ahead which government intends taking in addressing the short-term challenges facing the Ghanaian economy.

These immediate measures government has announced through the Bank of Ghana, and further consolidated by tightly prioritizing government expenditure/businesses by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, including withdrawal of subsidy  regime, imposition of fiscal discipline, fighting corruption, minimizing financial leakage and wastage,  progressively value added tax regime and tax mobilization, reducing public sector wage bill and management of public sector employment ,to name but a few.

The fiscal challenges are not only responding positively to these measures showing little, but however significant signs of economic turnaround towards economic recovery, stability and growth once again. This steady progress being made though, is being undermined by ongoing extreme partisan politics, and its manifestation and positive effects on quality of life and on corporate Ghanaian businesses/enterprises will not be in denial any further. It is our hope that the future emerging figures/statistics reflecting the inevitable economic recovery would be acceptable by all.  

For the NDC Government/Party, it is instructive that during this challenging times national consensus seemly have been reached not only on figures/statistics emanating from our state institutions but also on the image and integrity of these institutions including, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Today, figures/statistics being churned out on the current state of the Ghanaian economy from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Bank of Ghana, Ghana Statistical Service including the World Bank and the IMF have formed the basis of analysis on which the health of the economy is being measured and its state variously described. We do not want this sudden change of attitude towards our state institutions to be lost on the good people of Ghana – particularly when their credibility, trustworthiness and professional competences not long ago became a subject matter of partisan criticism on charges of conspiracy with government to cook/manufacture favourable socio-economic figures/statistics in advancing the political course of the NDC Government/Party.

In the name of nation building we will not call for an apology in order to dignify the political misbehavior of those who committed this institutional crime of blackmail in pursuit of political power – particularly Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, Nana Akufo-Addo, and the NPP together with some Civil Society Groups. It is only refreshing that figures/statistics from these state institutions have not only been embraced but politically worshipped with insistent references made to and/or the sole basis on which the economic leadership of the NDC Government is being questioned.

At the back of strong economic policies and measures aimed at facilitating the ongoing economic recovery, the leadership of Reform for Youth Empowerment is calling on the leadership of the NDC Party to show greater support to Hon. Seth Terkper in leading the economic recovery effort as the President John Dramani Mahama, openly has done.

Hon. Seth Terkper, deserves more support in the face of the outcome of the National Economic Forum, the 22 points Communique to a large extent vindicates his economic leadership, policies capacity and competence. In addition, largely endorsing policy decisions government has already taken and are pursuing. The Senchi Consensus, if anything at all, legitimizes government’s economic policies/actions thus far and gives government   an added sense of urgency.

Furthermore, Hon. Seth Terkper must receive greater support from the NDC Party after DR. Mahamadu Bawumia / Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s lectures on the economy, failed in substance to deal with what (He) Hon. Seth Terkper is dealing with; Reducing the budget deficit without sacrificing and/or deferring the immediate development of the key sectors of the economy relating directly to the continuous improvement in the living and working conditions of Ghanaians – particularly the working class, the poor and the vulnerable. Mindful that development of these immediate key sectors can only be achieved largely at the back of continuous borrowing and/or direct foreign capital investment in the absence of internal/state investment capital.

In a developing economy like ours in dealing with issues of fiscal deficit it is not prudent to focus solely on reducing fiscal deficits at the expense of continuous economic investments  aimed at reducing poverty, increase in income and job creation. It is more profitable focusing on guaranteeing continuous economic investments at the back of reduced rate of borrowing. With our debt/GDP ratio in mind, Hon. Seth Terkper so far is guiding our continuous economic investment(s) in a manner consistent with a developing economy like ours whilst keeping an eye on issues of fiscal deficits.

Again, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia / Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s lectures failed to deal with and/or quantify short-term/medium-term cost to our development for the attainment of a lower middle income economy at the back of the donor community withdrawal and/or cutdown of their financial support (of concessionary loans) by 50/above percent. The impact of 50/above percent of concessionary loan(s) to our short-term/medium-term development efforts, in terms of a financial gap created in our finances cannot be over emphasized. In addition, its bearing on the current short-term fiscal deficits challenges.

Hon. Seth Terkper is left with the responsibility to deal with it. The quantification of these development costs and it’s readily impact on the economy is relevant more so, when the lower middle income status was attained largely at the back of foreign capital investment and ownership of the Ghanaian economy. This leaves Ghana, to seeking for alternative but expensive development capital on the global financial market.

On revenue losses to the economy. Between 2012 and 2013 the Ghanaian economy lost over US$ 1.5 billion due to continuous fall in prices on the International Market of our major primary export commodities. The huge financing gap created in our finances cannot be overlooked. Hon. Seth Terkper, unlike others with a luxury of economic lectures is dealing with the effect(s) of the export revenue losses (over US$ 1.5 billion) on the economy. It pays as a critic to ignore it for political expediency.

Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and Prof. Kwesi Botchwey, within the context of our short-term fiscal challenges did offer nothing in terms of solutions or proposals in dealing with the export revenue losses to the economy due to fall in prices on the international market of our major primary export commodities. It is not enough to say, the Ghanaian economy is in crisis, when you have little or nothing to offer on the specifics. How do we deal with the external manipulation influencing/determining prices on the international market of Ghana’s major primary export commodities? Or the manipulative imposition of restrictions on our value added goods?

Criticism or lectures ongoing with supporting figures/statistics merely pointing to crisis or challenges in the economy without evidences of solutions and proposals and/or devoid of addressing the fundamental issues of our continuous development within the context of managing/reducing the fiscal deficit are insufficient and bogus. Or failing to strike the balancing effects of reducing the fiscal deficits without guaranteeing immediate investment(s) in developing key sectors of our economy – without backing borrowing to do so in the absence of internal state capital investment(s) is a smack of intellectual dishonesty.

Regarding, Ghana’s public indebtedness and continuous borrowing – In spite of the Finance Ministry’s position and clarity on our debt portfolio – that self-financing projects loan(s) must not be confused with and/or loosely added to the mainstream social loans which debt servicing is dependent on taxes. Not to mention medium-term/long-term contracted loans with maturity dates of repayment not yet anywhere due. This single important position which positively influences our position to borrow to continue to invest and grow our developing economy in reducing poverty, increase income and job creation is greatly lost on the critics of the NDC Government.

The critics of this administration, in the name of political expediency in defiance are adding everything and anything to form their own political perception of Ghana’s immediate total public debt stock – heightening Ghana’s debt/GDP ratio in order to highlight a false sense of national debt crisis. We want to be emphatic, that the NDC Government under President John D. Mahama, will borrow and continue to borrow in the national interest.

In the face of open arrogance, lack of humility and extreme partisanship — the political leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have failed to be responsible in approaching the current short-term fiscal challenges facing the Ghanaian economy in the national interest. It is good they are reminded once again of their failed and bankrupt economic legacy under Kufour’s corrupt administration. Given the opportunity the NPP’s government under the leadership of former President, John Agyekum Kufour – at the back of debt cancellation/debt relief left Ghanaians poor, underpowered and the benefits of the economy in the hands of foreign ownership and some few political class/elites – busily resorted to cheaply selling state assets, building unwanted K.V.I.P’s instead of setting up industries to reduce poverty, increase income and job creation.

It is this bankrupt legacy coupled with broken internal leadership/discipline, lack of renewed character in the NPP that have largely denied the NPP’s Party electoral victories and seemly kept them in a befitting opposition for a long time to come.

LONG LIVE GHANA!! For the NDC Party sadly, instead of the NPP’s bankrupt political/economic legacy and current state of weak political leadership/organization to urge us to change course in providing supportive leadership for our NDC Government to succeed. The national leadership of the Party has become complacent and unsupportive of government’s tough economic policies/decisions in the face of short-term challenges.

In the face of lost opportunities in declaring Ghana as a Highly Indebted Poor Country(HIPC) after years of benefiting from debt cancellation/debt relief by the erstwhile Kufour’s corrupt administration. The rank and file of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wishes to assure the leader of our Party President, John D. Mahama of our unwavering support for any decision that the NDC Government will further reach in addressing the current short-term economic challenges including economic bailout from the World Bank (WB), China and/or from Great Russia. Government should feel comfortable and they have our support already


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