Cocaine cash’ masked an ailing economy under Kufuor – Fiifi Kwetey

Drug money that flowed freely in Ghana masked an extremely ailing economy under former President John Kufuor, Transport Minister Fiifi Kwetey has said at the governing National Democratic Congress’ Setting the Records Straight forum.

Comparing the health of the economy under the eight-year administration of Mr Kufuor and that of the Mills-Mahama administration, Mr Kwetey told journalists that NPP in eight years never had to contend with the “astronomical” public sector wage envelope that the NDC has had to handle.

He said while the NPP was dealing with an annual wage envelope of at most GHS2.5billion, the NDC “for some years now is having to find resources to take care of a staggering GHS10billion plus every year to take care of wages.”

“In fact, this year, we anticipate that the total compensation package is going to hit about GHS12 billion plus and NDC has still been able to manage that and still keeps the economy well in spite of these very huge challenges,” Mr Kwetey added.

According to him, despite the huge challenges, the NDC has “never throughout all these eight years, had to resort to using Eurobond money to pay salaries or to sell any national assets in a bid to stay afloat; no we have never had to resort to that.”

“There is unanimity that the economic outlook as we approach the eight years of the Mills-Mahama government is great. There is huge confidence and positive expectation because of the competence with which the Mahama-led government has navigated through the turbulent waters and brought the country on the cusp of a bright future.”

According to him, “growth expectations are high, currency stability has returned, inflation looks set to trend downwards to sustainable basis, fiscal deficit is increasingly more under control, domestic and foreign investor confidence is increasing more and more and our latest information is actually showing that even the credit rating agencies are about to do a positive revision of Ghana’s rating again because the future absolutely is looking very bright under the very competent leadership of John Mahama.”

Comparing that with the term of the NPP with Mr Kufuor as President, Mr Kwetey said in 2008 when the NPP was finishing its term, it had “lost control of the cedi, inflation had reached 18%, gross reserves barely enough to cover two months of imports, Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and Ghana Commercial Bank were on their knees, nonperforming loans in the banking sector was at an all-time high,” with a budget deficit of 15% and a budget overrun of 11% and a “massive” arrears of over GHS4 billion altogether painted the picture of an economy that was gravely ill, yet this was an economy where cocaine cash was flowing very freely.”

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