President Nana Akufo-Addo has minced no words in stressing that President John Mahama’s undisciplined management of the economy has put his government in a very tight corner.
He told Parliament at his first State of the Nation Address Tuesday, that his government has only 0.4 percent of public revenue to finance a slew of campaign promises and programmes.
The 99.6 percent of revenue, he said, is spent on only three items – wages, statutory payments and a greater concern – interest payments on loans that has left government with a GH¢122bn debt.
In the face of this reality, “anything else the government will have to do, will have to be financed by borrowing or aid” Nana Akufo-Addo expressed dismay.
President Nana Akufo-Addo who was determined to push through his message irrespective of heckling from MPs told Parliament “Mr. Speaker whatever be the case, i will have my say” and traced the problem of Ghana’s economy to the 2012 general elections.
According to him, the election year mismanagement as seen in the 2012 budget deficit of 12.1 percent created the need to invite the IMF in June 2014.
The Mills government of which John Mahama was Vice-President had set a 2012 target of 6.7 percent budget deficit, thus the government overshot the target almost 100 percent. It had planned to spend GH¢4.7 billion but ended up spending GH¢8.7 billion.
Fast forward to 2016 general elections, President John Mahama promised that the “reckless public expenditure that characterised the 2012 election year will not be repeated”, Akufo-Addo continue an economic narrative.
Akufo-Addo while expressing reservations about ‘boring you with figures’ nonetheless, stated that although the Mahama government targeted GH¢43.bn expenditure in the election year, it ended up spending GH¢50.3billion.
In effect, former President John Mahama broke his promise not to over-run the budget, the President said.
He repeated his government’s claim that GH¢7billion in arrears were hidden from the financial administration systems. He suggested this is one of the “few additional unpleasant surprises”, the government has found.
‘The full facts have not been put forward” he accused the previous government and said his government has begun auditing the arrears.
While over-running its expenditures, the Mahama government only managed to raise GH¢33.2billion out of the planned GH¢79 billion.
He said the failed to meet its deficit target is another evidence that “virtually all the targets under IMF program had been missed”, he said.
“It gives me no pleasure to say our worst fears have been confirmed” Akufo-Addo intoned.
He told the MPs that it is “nothing new and dramatic to state that the economy of this country is in a very bad state”. In reply to disapproving jeering NDC MPs, Akufo-Addo said, “you know it”.
He repeated a campaign jab at the Mahama administration that it got 10 times more revenue that all the past governments combined and also left more debt than every government combined.
Keeping to the script fed the media that SONA 2017 will contain harrowing revelations but high hopes, the President turned his attention to problem-solving.
“I was not elected by the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian people to complain. I was elected to get things done” he said.