The Minority in Parliament has registered its disappointment in what it described as the attempt by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to downplay the performance of its predecessor.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) at a press conference in Accra Wednesday said their contribution to the economic development of Ghana cannot be ignored by any individual.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu who read the statement in Parliament noted how the NDC in 2011 steered the country to achieve a record 14.4 percent economic growth rate, highest in the history of Ghana.
“We have contributed to the growth of the economy before so you must appreciate what the global dynamics meant on the growth of the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told the nation Tuesday when he delivered his first State of the Nation Address that his position on Ghana’s economy during the December 7, 2016 elections has not changed.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during his delivery of his first State of Nation Address
“I say nothing new or dramatic, when I tell this Honourable House that the economy of our country is in a bad way.”
He spilled out data about the economy that is everything but encouraging.
He accused former President John Mahama-led government of failing to live up to a fiscal discipline target set out in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement signed in 2012.
“Total projected expenditure for 2016 was GH¢43.9 billion (26% of GDP), but actual expenditure amounted to GH¢50.3 billion (30.2% of GDP). The full facts of the situation have not been put before the Ghanaian people,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He also said Ghana’s economic growth has declined “dramatically” despite the huge financial resources at the disposal of the previous government.
“Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2016 (including oil) is estimated at 3.6 percent. This is the lowest GDP growth in about 23 years,” he said.
Former President John Mahama delivering his last State of the Nation Address
Another statistic that has confounded the NDC MPs is the one the President gave about the country’s debt stock.
“As at the beginning of 2009, Ghana’s total debt stock was GH¢9.5 billion. By the end of 2016, the debt stock had ballooned to GH¢122 billion. Ghana’s debt stock now stands at 74% of GDP, after all the previous denials to the contrary.”
He was forthright that his predecessor accumulated more debt in the last eight years than all other governments put together since independence.
“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 have also increased and will amount to an estimated GH¢14.1 billion in 2017.”
But the Minority said the figures put out by the President should have been christened provisional considering they are not coming from the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS).
“The President failed to acknowledge the high growth projection for this year  by the IMF and the World Bank and a host of other international bodies based on the gains made by the immediate past administration,” Mr Iddrisu said.
He said despite the grim picture President Akufo-Addo painted about the economy, they are upbeat that GSS statistics for 2017 would vindicate them.
The NDC MPs also accused the President of shifting the “goal post” with regard to the IMF programme which he had said had not yielded much for the government.
“He is now talking about renegotiating and extending the three year external credit agreement [with the IMF],” Mr Iddrisu said, adding this is in line with their beliefs.
“We believe that it is only expenditure prioritisation and commitment to fiscal consolidation that can get the economy on the right path,” he added.