On a day he was named as senior minister pending his approval by Parliament, Yaw Osafo Maafo has said Ghana’s economic figures inherited from the previous government are not “encouraging.”
Mr Maafo told Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey Ghana is “heavily indebted but not poor.”
According to him, Ghana’s budget deficit is hovering at a worrying rate of 8% higher than the 5% expected under the IMF agreement.
Ghana is currently under a three year programme with the IMF as part of efforts to bring credibility and stability to Ghana’s economy.
As part of the program the country was expected to maintain a budget deficit of 5%, something Osafo Maafo said the previous government could not do.
What is worse, the Senior Minister who was Finance Minister in the erstwhile Kufuor administration said the debt to GDP is 72% a figure which can only be suffocating.
By IMF and World Bank standards when the debt to GDP is above the 70% threshold, the country is said to be Highly Indebted Poor Country.
While disputing the notion that Ghana is HIPC, he was quick to add that the country is heavily indebted.
“We are extremely, heavily indebted but not poor,” he said, adding, “the economy is fundamentally very strong. It is the management that has been a problem.”
“The economy is bleeding seriously,” he stated but said the government will put in place the necessary policies to address them.
The Senior Minister was one of 13 minister designates announced by the president in the first batch of ministerial nominees.
Another key Ministry is Finance and will have Mr Ken Ofori Atta playing that role if approved by Parliament.
The designate gave the clearest indication that the Nana Akufo-Addo led administration will honour the promise of removing the “nuisance taxes” imposed by the erstwhile government.
He told Elton John Brobbey, “my challenge is to take taxes off; find different revenue stream.”
Other ministerial nominees are Kan Dapaah for National Security, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh for Education, Gloria Akufo for Attorney General and Justice Ministry.