Former Deputy Information Minister and a spokesman for former President John Mahama, Felix Kwakye Ofosu says no objective assessment of the poor economic performance of the current administration would exonerate any of its members from failure, not least Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Chairman of the Economic Management Team.

In a scathing critique of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration's economic performance, Kwakye Ofosu vehemently rejected any attempt to single out Dr. Bawumia for praise amidst what he said is the government's abysmal track record, asserting that the position is flawed.

“The notion that one person can be extricated from the government and be forgiven whereas the entire government is punished is completely flawed,” Kwakye Ofosu, who is aspiring to be elected MP for Abura Asebu Kwamankese in the Central region, said.

Felix Kwakye Ofosu
Felix Kwakye Ofosu

He likened such attempts to a ‘hot extraction’ in the military, indicating a desperate move to salvage Bawumia's reputation as the 2024 general elections loom.

Responding to assertions by consultant Mr. Kofi Bentil, who is also a member of think tank IMANI Africa, that Bawumia is more credible than Mahama and should be given a hearing, Kwakye Ofosu dismantled Bentil's justifications, labelling them as deeply flawed and nonsensical.

“Mr. Bentil says the entire Akufo-Addo government has been rubbish but Bawumia is a saint so we should vote for him. That is what Mr. Bentil is telling us, but I’ve told you, fundamentally, when the electorate go to vote, they vote on the basis of the performance of the government they gave the mandate to so anybody who emerged from the NPP was going to suffer what Bawumia will suffer, even if they were not in government.”

Kwakye Ofosu criticised Bentil's arguments and highlighted instances of what he deemed as illogical reasoning.

“Look, in terms of raw performance, Bawumia is a joke compared to Mahama and I will prove it to you. They go about saying that oh, in the first term of the Akufo-Addo administration, and I heard Bentil say it, that Bawumia was listened to on the economy. When you pointed out the praise that Akufo-Addo and Osafo Maafo were lavishing on him, in the first term Bawumia was listened to so they did well. So in the second term he was not listened to, that is what Bentil is saying.

“So in effect Bentil is saying that in the second term, the president immediately became crazy, so the things that worked for him, the very man who advised him to succeed, he decided to ignore him. Again, that claim, with the greatest respect to everybody, does not make sense. Akufo-Addo wants to fail so badly, he wants to go down as the worst president in Ghana’s history, so he has someone who he himself describes as a brilliant and strong economist but he won’t listen to him so that he fails.

“Look, Bentil may not know, that every problem we have encountered since 2021 stemmed from the decisions they made between 2017 and 2020, especially in 2020, the election year. It was the unbridled expenditure, the colossal budget deficit they left because of a desire to win elections, the misuse of public funds, that is what plunged us into the hole that we have not recovered from. In fact in the last three years, they have barely done anything to impact the economy beyond wanting to put up solutions to the problems that have arisen because of the problems that they created.”

Furthermore, Kwakye Ofosu challenged the assertion that Mahama failed as president, emphasising that Bawumia's lack of presidency does not absolve him of accountability.

He argued that Bawumia's economic performance paled in comparison to Mahama's, citing statistics on GDP growth, inflation rates, and debt management.

“Pound for pound, Mahama was better, because Mahama has occupied the same position that Bawumia occupies now,” said Kwakye Ofosu, who proceeded to highlight Mahama's achievements in economic growth and stability during his tenure, contrasting them with the current administration's failures.

“In the first term of the NDC, and people forget that we also had a first term. Why, as for first term analysis it should be restricted to the NPP? We had a first term, Samson, the growth rate that Nana Akomea, Bentil and co make noise about, the highest the NPP achieved in their first term was 8%. That is equivalent to the third highest that the NDC achieved. The third highest, in 2010, 8%. In 2014, President Mahama as head of the Economic Management Team recorded 14.4% growth. His non-oil growth was above 7%. In 2012 he achieved 9.2%. So President Mahama’s third best growth is Bawumia’s highest.

“Inflation, he kept it at single digit for 33 months. By the end of Mahama’s first term, the dollar exchanged at two cedis, to the dollar. Our debt was 35 billion, our debt to GDP ratio was under 50%, it was around 40%, interest rates were at 15%. All the indicators that the NPP posted by 2020 were worse than this thing that I have outlined to you.

“People must stop this prejudice they hold against the NDC, and I urge you in the media to do justice by the people of Ghana by carrying out more scrutiny. What people do in this country is that they see truth and they peddle lies, why, because we are NDC, our achievements should be rubbished in favour of a palpable failure. A man who talked big. Samson, was it not Bawumia who told everybody in 2016, that they would move away from taxation to production? What did he mean by that? That there would be less taxation, and greater production, is that not so? He comes to power and they heap 40 taxes on us, starting from 2017, and we are told we should applaud it and that he has not been president so we should vote for him?”

Kwakye Ofosu further criticised the government for its unfulfilled promises and detrimental policies, highlighting what he said was the significant increase in debt under Bawumia's watch, alongside a depreciation of the currency.

“Was it not Bawumia who told us, in fact check page 13 of their 2016 manifesto, and Bawumia himself on public fora, in fact there is a picture of him, where he has put a table on a screen analysing our debt. He said our debt of 120 billion (cedis) was inexcusable. He comes into power, he racks up 600 billion (cedis) in debt and we are told that we should applaud him. The debt to GDP ratio, it reached 104% under Bawumia. Our debt, President Mahama, in all the years that he was defaulted, even when he was  vice president, as head of the Economic Management Team, he never defaulted on our debt, under this government, they have defaulted on debt.

“When you drew Bentil’s attention to the calamitous fall in the currency, look, in November 2022, it reached 17 cedis, the only reason why it came down to where it is now is because this government unilaterally refused or decided that they will not pay our external debt. Why, if every government of Ghana came and was not servicing debt, do you know how stable our currency would be? So even when you were not servicing debt, your currency was worse than Mahama’s when he was servicing debt.”

Kwakye Ofosu urged the media and the public to scrutinise the government's performance objectively, rather than perpetuating biases. He called for a fair assessment of the NDC's achievements and criticized attempts to downplay Mahama's successes in favour of a failing administration.

NB: Mr. Bentil had served notice his endorsement of Dr. Bawumia was in his personal capacity and should not be linked with his relations with IMANI Africa. He was also not speaking on behalf of IMANI.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.