The Minority in Parliament has dismissed the assertion by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta that Ghana’s economy is recovering.
According to the caucus’ leader and MP for Ajumako/Enyan/ Esiam, Dr Casiel Ato Baah Forson, the economic hardship imposed on Ghanaians as a result of bad government policies has rather worsened the condition of Ghanaians.
Mr Ofori-Atta, presenting the Mid- Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government in Parliament, Accra, yesterday, said government was making modest gains in turning around the economy after experiencing severe economic hardship in 2022.
“Mr Speaker, we have turned the corner and, more importantly, we are determined to continue down that path. Soon, we expect the measures taken to result in economic activity greater than anything experienced in the history of the Fourth Republic. Our plans and programmes should soon lead to a sustained increase in domestic production, including manufacturing and farming, replacing many of the products that we are used to importing.
“As I have indicated, we have made significant progress on restoring macroeconomic stability and the narrative is changing. The economy is showing signs of recovery. The exchange rate has stabilised, inflation has softened, and interest rates have declined since December 2022,” Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament.
But, addressing journalists after the minister’s presentation, Dr Forson said things look gloomy than the minister portrayed.
“The minister is not even close to the corner. What he has successfully done is that he has deepened the (economic) woes of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“This is because the minister has revised economic growth from 2.8 of GDP to 1.5. This clearly shows that the economy is contracting and declining and obviously, this will affect jobs and welfare of the ordinary Ghanaian,” Dr Forson stated.
He wondered if the new growth target would be attained because looking at developments in the economy, “if care is not taken, we will struggle to see economic growth at above one per cent.”
Dr Forson said though the minister promised not to borrow from the domestic market, he has reneged on his promise and borrowed GH¢5.5 billion without parliamentary approval.
“As if that is not enough, he indicated that he will borrow another GH¢41.3 billion before the year ends. No wonder inflation is still high and the central bank increasing its policy rate. No wonder lending rate is still going up. I won’t be surprised that at the end of the year, inflation will not make any headway,” Dr Forson said.
He noted that Ghana had the opportunity to reduce its lending rate to below 15 per cent, but due to activities of government, particularly the over borrowing and over expenditure, Ghana’s lending and market rates are still going high.
On the relative stability of the local currency, Dr Forson said it is not as a result of any superior economic intervention, but was because the country has defaulted in servicing its external debts.
“We should have serviced approximately GH¢11 billion, but because we have defaulted in servicing our debt owed Eurobond lenders, we have made some savings and that is supporting our balance of payment and not because he has turned the corner,” the Minority Leader said.
He forecasted a free-fall of the Ghana cedi when Ghana starts servicing its debt.