General News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson has lambasted President Akufo-Addo for painting a glum picture of Ghana’s economy.
In his maiden State of the Nation Address, Akufo-Addo gave a damning report on the country’s economy.
In the address which lasted for about an hour, the president said “the reality of the state of Ghana’s public finances today are quite stark.”
He said as the beginning of 2009, the country’s total debt stock stood at GHc9.5 billion but by the end of 2016 the debt ballooned to GHc122 billion.
In percentage, he said the country’s debt stock stands at 74% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) “after all the previous denials to the contrary” by the previous administration.
“In fact, 92% of Ghana’s total debt stock was incurred in the last eight years under the previous government. The interest costs on this debt has also increased and will amount to estimated GHc14.1billion in 2017,” Akufo-Addo said.
Reacting to the address, Mr. Forson who is also a ranking member on the Finance of Parliament said the president was not being honest to Ghanaians, accusing him of being selective with his economic indicators.
“The President [Akufo-Addo] clearly picked and chose the economic indicators that suits him for the purposes of politics and those ones that signal positive outlook he chose to ignore it,”Mr. Forson told Starr News’ Bernard Nasara Saibu after the president’s Address on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
He said the indicators the president made reference to in his sessional address lack credibility saying: “He [Akufo-Addo] cannot be emphatic—in fact the growth numbers he is mentioning today [Tuesday] are projections but he spoke like it is the final growth numbers and made the pronouncement that it is the worst in the history of this country. It cannot be the case.”
He said he was worried with the president’s level of hypocrisy.
Adding his voice to the discussion, the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Asiedu Nketia, said the president’s address was nothing but a rehash of campaign promises he made to Ghanaians during electioneering.
“Akufo-Addo is just repeating his campaign promises. I won’t blame him because he has nothing to say for now, he is just settling in. So for me, the address amounted to a repetition and recycling of the same old things. He is not relying on factual information to make those claims,” he said.