- John Mahama has outlined some measures the president can implement to improve Ghana's economic challenges
- The 2020 presidential candidate of the NDC said the president can cut down expenditure and suspend some non-essential projects
- John Mahama made the suggestions when he spoke at a forum on Thursday dubbed "Building The Ghana We Want"
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Former president John Mahama has proffered some ideas that president Nana Akufo-Addo can implement to stem the current economic crisis.
Speaking at a forum on the economic challenges on Thursday, October 27, 2022, the former president said the situation could be dire if Akufo-Addo ignored sound counsel like he did prior to the IMF bailout negotiations.
The 2020 flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) spoke on "Building The Ghana We Want".
"We have already put out an eleven-point proposal that could have arrested the decline before we got to this critical point. Many of those proposals outlined in my ‘Ghana at the Crossroads’ speech are still relevant and can be implemented, even if belatedly, to help address the problems we face.
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"Many months after government reluctantly requested for an IMF programme, it has failed to coordinate and communicate any credible Home-Grown Plan for consideration by the Fund and the Ghanaian people," he said.
He noted that his ideas to Akufo-Addo and his team of economic managers must implement immediately and would help to reduce the public debt, debt service obligations and create fiscal space.
"The biggest problem with our economy today is the huge size of our public debt, estimated to be around GH¢ 522 billion by close of this year. This must immediately be tackled and stopped from growing further," he said.
How Mahama Wants Akufo-Addo To Reduce Size Of Public Debt
To a manageable public debt John Mahama wants Nana Akufo-Addo and his government to:
1) Place an immediate moratorium on all non-concessional borrowing.
2) Actively canvass Ghana's bilateral partners for more concessional financing and grants.
3) Immediately stop to Central Bank financing of government above the 5% threshold.
"The current printing of money to finance Government’s deficit is further fueling inflation," he said.
4) John Mahama also wants the government must stop collateralising statutory funds for the purpose of taking on more loans.
"The wanton collateralisation has been unhelpful," he stressed.
5) He also wants Nana Akufo-Addo to begin amending the enabling legislations of some state-owned enterprises like the Ghana Cocoa Board to prohibit them from engaging in non-core, quasi-fiscal functions.
"COCOBOD is currently reeling under a debt of about GH¢ 14 billion and is severely distressed, putting further strain on government finances. The astronomical debt has so crippled COCOBOD and made it impossible for them to pay bills due the licensed buying companies and their suppliers.
"This debt overhang has affected the Produce Buying Company, which is currently unable to pay the salaries of its workers. Indeed, similar liabilities within other state-owned enterprises amount to a staggering GHS 30 billion and is impacting the public debt," he said.
6) John Mahama also urged Akufo-Addo to immediately do something about the rampant increases in cost of fuel.
"The biggest sources of suffering and difficulty for Ghanaians today is the cost of fuel which has skyrocketed to the highest levels in our history due to the rapidly falling cedi and is affecting everything else on the market. Something needs to be done about it," he stressed.
What Mahama Wants Akufo-Addo To Do To Reduce Waste In Government
On how the Akufo-Addo government can cut cost, reduce waste, and spend wisely, the former president offered the following advice:
1. Size of government must be reduced
"A big contributor to the excessive public expenditure is the sheer size of government. President Akufo-Addo has been particularly irresponsible in keeping a needlessly large government," he jabbed the president.
2. Cut out the excessive secretariats and agencies
"There are also too many agencies created overnight without any functional necessity that must be scrapped or merged for efficiency to ensure savings to the public purse.," he said.
3. Cut the huge budget for the office of the president
Mr Mahama noted that the budget of the Office of Government Machinery has ballooned over the last six years from a little over GH¢700 million to GH¢ 3.1 billion in 2022.
"Expenditure rationalization, to be successful, must first start in the President’s office. Substantial savings of GH¢ 1 billion or more can be made by slashing the budget of the Office of Government Machinery."
4. Check waste and corruption
He said Akufo-Addo needs to introduce stricter public financial management guidelines and regulations.
"A tougher sanctions regime must be introduced to check the haemorrhage of over GH¢ 17 billion yearly. This must be rigorously enforced to curtail the appalling waste and corruption the Auditor General unearths every year," he said.
5. Suspended non-essential projects
John Dramani Mahama wants all non-essential and projects such as the 116 million Euro new Accra International Conference Centre and construction of new embassy buildings for new missions abroad must be suspended for now.
"The public funding of the national cathedral, particularly at this time, must stop." he counselled.
Akufo-Addo Could Have Saved Ghana From Economic Crisis If He Had Listened To Wise Counsel – Ato Forson
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh reported in related story that NDC spokesperson on finance Cassiel Ato Forson has said had Nana Akufo-Addo listened to the party, NGO and civil society the current economic crisis would have been prevented.
He said Ghana is likely to plunge further into a deeper crisis in the coming days unless robust economic decisions are taken by managers of the economy.
Speaking at a forum on Ghana's economic challenges on Thursday evening, he said evidence points to the fact that Ghana has become insolvent.
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