Former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama

Former President John Mahama has called on government to accept that its mismanagement and not Covid-19 has led to the current economic crisis the country is facing.

According to him, government’s consumption expenditure and the desire to spend beyond the country’s means has plunged it into the current crisis.

He was speaking at NDC’s Professionals Forum lecture series on Monday on the topic “The State of Ghana’s Economy-The Scorecard.”

The 2020 NDC presidential candidate said the country’s debt has increased to “unstainable levels”, exposing Ghana to a high risk of debt default.

Mr Mahama stated that the country’s tax revenue is being used to pay for the debt, thus introducing new taxes.

“This has been the luckiest government under the Fourth Republic. They have benefitted from 60% of all the oil revenue accruing to Ghana since we began producing oil; they have had more than twice the total tax revenue available to us…They had access to over $200 million from the Stabilization Fund we set up and got Central Bank Financing of ¢10 billion.”

“All of this notwithstanding, they have the least to show in terms of tangible gains or capital investments. This government must accept that it is their mismanagement of the economy that have plunged us into the current crisis, not necessarily Covid-19,” Mr Mahama said at the University of Ghana on Monday.

The former President stated that Covid-19 has been conveniently cited by government as the reason for the economic hardships people of Ghana.

However, a comparison between economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, all of which were also affected by Covid-19, show otherwise.

Mr Mahama said, stating that the countries have been able to protect their citizens from the effects of Covid-19 using ways similar to that of government, but they avoided increasing their debts and deficits because of their prudent management ways. 

He said the increases in taxes and the “rampant” increments in prices of goods and services are primarily responsible for citizens’ plight.

“Covid-19 has become the convenient whipping boy and has been cited as the reason for the crisis we face now and the attendant economic hardships.

“Yes, Covid-19 affected the economy, and no one can dispute that. However, it is not the main reason we are in the current hole we find ourselves,” he stated.

The former President, who is not impressed by government’s approach towards tackling the hardships in the country, believes the Akufo-Addo-administration is taking the sentiments of the populace for granted.

The former President proposed that government explores more equitable ways of “comprehensively and making their [Ghanaians] lives more meaningful.”

“The problems of our country and the solutions to them cannot be reduced to a handful of fancy slogans,” he said at the University of Ghana on Monday.