Economy will be robust 2017
-Mahama hails IMF reforms and declares
By Elvis DARKO, Accra
President John Dramani Mahama has said government targets single-digit inflation, deficit to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of below 3%, debt to GDP of below 60%, a stable currency and significantly lower interest rates by the time Ghana exits the current three-year International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme next year.
According to him, current positive outlook post 2016 unanimously predicted by International Financial Institutions is based on institutional and fiscal reforms by the government in the last three years.
He made these remarks at 2016 national campaign launch of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, held at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
The NDC has been in power for eight years, and President Dramani Mahama, who is seeking a second term in office, said his first term in office has been challenging for him.
According to him, shortly after his inauguration in 2013, he has been confronted with various challenges, including a prolonged electoral dispute, serious microeconomic challenges, crippling power crises, state of industrial arrest, market fires, and an adverse international environment.
Microeconomic instability, caused mainly by the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy, unsustainable and spiral subsidies and collapse of the price of commodities on the international market, all conspired to put a squeeze on the economy.
President Mahama said a crippling power crises affected growth, and this was caused by inadequate generating assets, reduced generation from hydro plants, and the nearly insolvency of power utility companies due to decades of legacy debts.
“Development partners withheld funds for more than two years while international credit market was not favourable.”
He recounted the above to give better appreciation of some of the unpopular decisions government had to take and how far government has addressed the challenges.
Touting his achievements in the last four years, he said government concentrated on five main areas.
President Mahama explained that access to clean drinking water, extension of electricity, improvement of health facilities, expansion of access and quality of education, and rehabilitation of road networks witnessed massive work, and went ahead to list some of the projects.
He mentioned efforts to resolve the power crises, stabilise the economy and improve socio-economic infrastructure.
According to him, “We have put the worst of the power crises behind us through fast track addition of 1,000 megawatts.
Touching on the results of 2016 West African Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (WSSCE) results, he said in the past three years Ghana swept the top three awards in the examinations, saying this year’s performance was an improvement.
Accuses NPP of discrediting EC
He accused the NPP of discrediting the Electoral Commission (EC) to set the grounds to challenge the results of the December polls when the party is defeated.
He said the EC has a proud history of delivering credible elections and has been used as facilitator to transfer Ghana’s experience to other countries.
President Mahama said political vigilante groups are illegal and that the Inspector General of Police has been authorised to deal firmly with any group of people who conduct themselves as such.
Intolerance in NPP
According to him, developments in the NPP threaten Ghana’s democracy, accusing the party of intolerance.
He said the party has become intolerant of dissenting opinions, and those who spoke against it have been dismissed while some have been threatened with physical harm.
Social media will not be banned
He promised the government is opposed to the banning of social media on Election Day.
EC and political stakeholders would agree on stable procedure for announcing the results of the elections, and that would be the only recognised channel for doing so.
He said the NDC is united and poised for victory in December.