General News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is having a tough time implementing the litany of promises he made to Ghanaians ahead of last year’s elections, hence his resort to the blame game during his delivery of the State of the Nation Address in parliament, George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, has said.
President Akufo-Addo, while reading the address, said among other things: “Ghana’s debt stock now stands at 74% of GDP, after all the previous denials to the contrary,” adding: “As of the beginning of 2009, Ghana’s total debt stock was GHS9.5 billion. By the end of 2016, the debt had ballooned to GHS122 billion.”
He said the interest costs on this debt had also increased and would amount to an estimated GHS14.1 billion in 2017.
“In fact, 92% of Ghana’s total debt stock was incurred in the last eight years under the previous government,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo said total projected expenditure for 2016 was GHS43.9 billion (26% of GDP) but actual expenditure amounted to GHS50.3 billion (30.2% of GDP).
“It appears, from what we are finding out, that some GHS7billion of arrears and outstanding payments circumvented the public financial management system,” while “the total revenue target for our country was GHS37.9 billion (22.7% of GDP) but the actual revenue came in at GHS33.2 billion (19.9% of GDP),” the president added.
But Mr Ricketts-Hagan, who is also Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, told the media after the president’s address: “You can come up with some policies to win an election but opposition is for talking and government is for doing.
“When you talk the talk, and you get elected you must walk the talk. And at the moment the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo is having serious challenges in making sure that some of the programmes that they talked about are executed.
“You cannot just come and make such statements thinking that that will actually give you a way to get out of what you have promised that you will do. It is time for Nana Akufo-Addo’s government to do the things that they promised the Ghanaian people which is in their manifesto that has been documented, it is time to do the walking and stop the talking.”