Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia
New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has blasted the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration for plunging the country into huge debt despite the enormous resources available to it.
Dr Bawumia, an astute economist, insisted that the Mahama government had borrowed $37 billion out of which it could account for only $7 billion under its so-called massive infrastructural projects.
“What is clear to me (and confirms my long held suspicion) is that members of this government, handed the mandate to manage our destinies as a nation, do not read,” the NPP vice presidential candidate stated in reaction to a statement issued yesterday by government to counter his earlier analysis on the heavy debt burden inflicted on the country by the NDC administration.
So far, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, are running away from the current debt position of the country as at December 2015, as they claim that they are still doing reconciliation two months after the end of the year.
Both the Finance Minister and BoG Governor Kofi Wampah are relying on a September figure of GH¢92 billion. With government contracting GH¢6 billion in loans monthly through the capital market, it is believed that the total debt is currently hovering around GH¢110 billion – as government continues to borrow to service interest on debts.
Dr. Bawumia stated, “If you sum the cost of all the loan financed projects listed in the green book, including those with artistic impressions, it is less than $7 billion. Meanwhile, the government has borrowed the equivalent of $37 billion, so where is the rest of the money?”
Travesty Of Justice
“I will repeat again that it is in fact a travesty that Ghana before the discovery of oil was spending a higher proportion of its income on infrastructure investment than after the discovery of oil and the massive increase in the debt stock,” Dr. Bawumia insisted.
The renowned economist, at the National Financial Literacy and Investment Summit organised by the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, under the theme: “The Role of Financial Discipline and Investment in National Development,” last weekend exposed the NDC government’s propaganda while highlighting the massive mismanagement of the economy under President John Mahama.
However, a statement signed by Communications Minister Dr. Edward Omane Boamah yesterday chided Dr. Bawumia for his analysis, describing it as ‘false’ and ‘misleading.’
“It is instructive that after years of living in denial that these projects don’t exist, he has finally acknowledged their existence except that he wants to tread down the path of discrediting them for partisan gain,” the minister underscored in the statement.
The government said, “Dr. Bawumia’s latest untruths are only a last-gasp effort to create doubts about the unprecedented investments made in all spheres of our national life by President John Dramani Mahama’s Government. It is borne out of a morbid fear that the overwhelming evidence provided in the 210-page book, shatters the many unsustainable falsehoods churned out by him, the NPP and their allies about the performance of President Mahama.”
The NDC government also accused Dr. Bawumia of making claims without source and described it as “false and a desperate attempt to find basis for the flawed conclusions he churned out at the event.”
You don’t Read!
An unperturbed Dr. Bawumia hit back strongly yesterday, saying government officials, including ministers, do not read.
“Worse of all, as I said on 14th February, 2015, at a forum at the University for Development Studies, what is most unfortunate about this whole episode is the fact that the government doesn’t even seem to know how much it has borrowed.
“I have on several occasions tried to educate the government on what the true value of their borrowing is but try as I do, it is clear the government is committed to either not reading and understanding the extent of their reckless borrowing or is only following their usual path of deceit and propaganda.”
The NPP stalwart said, “Amazingly, after adding some GH¢20 billion to the debt stock in 2015 alone, the government still wants to insist that the value of borrowing they have done, in dollar terms, has actually decreased. This exposes the deception in the method the government is applying on our debt stock, in attempt to hide the real value of monies that have accrued to them.”
Dr. Bawumia also accused the government of lying in the release by Dr. Omane Boamah about capital expenditure during the NPP administration (2001-2008), saying “I doubt the Finance Ministry handed these figures to the Minister (Omane Boamah), but whatever be the case, it exposes the level of incompetent and deceitful governance we have today.
“All they have done is to repeat the same claims which have been discredited. For me, the people of Ghana remain the best judges on the issue of whether they have had their due from this government, considering the unprecedented resources and opportunities they have had since they won power.”
He articulated, “After having more than 10 times the resources of the NPP through unbridled borrowing, astronomic increases in tax rates and favourable external conditions (which they did nothing to precipitate), the people of Ghana will judge if such huge resources have been invested in their lives.
“I remain convinced that the people of Ghana will judge and judge well. This conviction is strengthened on a daily basis as I go round the country and interact with the people of Ghana.”
By William Yaw Owusu