In Ghana, the tough economic conditions, skyrocketing of prices of goods, government’s decision to touch the heritage fund, government calling on citizens and organizations to contribute towards the covid-19 fight, government’s decision to go to the IMF for bailout, government’s announcement that the economy is likely to grow at 2% instead of the projected 7% have exposed the true health of the Ghanaian economy, government’s manipulation of economic figures, and the weaknesses of depending on outmoded economic model for statistical economic growth.
Contrary to what the President preaches about the economy and his government’s economic policies, the economy under this administration is based on elitism and preserving economic privileges, advantages and profits for cronies and expatriate ventures and deceiving local entrepreneurs and the citizenry with well cooked lies. Its economic model is exploitative and thrives on profiteering. Now we face a situation where the vast majority of Ghanaians cannot stand a stay home order by the President for just a day. The industrial sector has been taken over by expatriate friends of the administration and vast majority of profit are whisked abroad rather than being reinvested in the country. Tax exemptions are being granted to friends and family members who are enjoying limitless privileges and contributing nothing in return. The Ghanaian population is largely the informal work force or members of the informal sector of the economy who pay taxes to government but find themselves unable to abide by this simple social distance directive by the President as they are unable to save.
You cannot achieve real and sustainable economic growth if your economy is largely owned by foreigners. The economy should largely be owned by Ghanaians who in permanent revolving circle are inclined to always reinvest in their own country’s economy.
I am told some influenced members of the Association of Ghana Industries have commended government for declaring a Ghc 1 billion stimulus package for small and medium scale enterprises to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. That is the bane of this country. The unprincipled stance some leaders of associations, civil society organizations, religious leaders, intellectuals, journalists, experts in various fields and traditional leaders take on sensitive national issues. It’s becoming clear that the economy which was touted by the president and his propagandists is chronically ill and unprepared for future shocks and has become evidently clear that the dawning realisation that our government cannot be relied upon to do the right thing or sensible thing, whatever that may turn out to be, has serious long-term implications for our democracy, well being, and the principle of democratic consent. To restore his grip, the President has resorted to making of promises and giving vague hope to the citizenry, intrusive social controls, surveillance, restriction of movement and censorship. His knee-jerk reaction in pulling up the down bridge and blaming his predecessor is not unique.
The Akufo-Addo government’s favourite game is hide and seek. Hide unemployment figure, hide the truth about the banking sector, hide real GDP figures, hide poverty behind the wall, hide agric figures, and now hiding information about the covid-19 pandemic. If a disease is to be treated, you have to accept it is there in the first place. But this government does not accept its failures. All it does is, paying millions of the taxpayers money to its favourite rating agencies to churn out fake growth figures. We live in times where: GDP is measured in tons, citizens right in volts, nationalism in decibels, poverty in height and length of the wall. This is Akufo-Addo’s new Ghana.
Happening in the country currently, suggests that the economy is working only for those in power and their cronies. Many Ghanaians feel insecure. The IMF’s recent report on the economy exposed some of these hidden nightmares including, manipulation of our debt figures. International investors have been alarmed by the events as there are already fears that the government has not been forthcoming with the true state of the economy.
The economy which was described as very resilient and booming, is on its knees begging for support from the very citizens government lied to.