The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has dismissed Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s assertions that the country is on the path to overcoming its economic challenges.
Speaking at the 9th Ghana CEO Network Business Cocktail, the former President insisted that the current state of the economy suggests otherwise.
The Finance Minister in November expressed optimism, asserting that the nation’s economy is gradually resuscitating adding that the government has established a robust foundation for the future prosperity of the Ghanaian economy.
However, addressing an audience of business leaders and professionals, Mr Mahama expressed concerns over the lingering economic difficulties faced by many businesses.
According to him, the country’s economy is in tatters leaving many Ghanaians in abject poverty.
“Many businesses still bear the brunt of the economic meltdown. This is because, contrary to the Finance Minister’s assertion, we have not turned any corner, and 2024 will be a very challenging year,” he said on Thursday.
The former President highlighted various issues, including business closures, laid-off workers, delayed international funding, and the consequences of the country’s debt default.
The flagbearer accused the government of causing an economic catastrophe through poorly executed policies, emphasising the impact on major infrastructure projects, the energy sector, and the overall business environment.
“As I speak, the second tranche of the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility, due on November 1, has still not been received because of a delay by our external creditors to sign off on our debt restructuring programme. Of course, the consequences of our debt default have also started manifesting.
“Major infrastructure projects have stopped because lenders have cut funding as a direct fallout from our debt default. Independent Power Producers continue to threaten power cuts due to mounting debts affecting their operations…Ghanaians face grave uncertainty if more of them follow suit,” he stated.
Speaking about the just-approved budget, Mr Mahama criticised the introduction of new taxes in the 2024 budget.
He said this new development coupled with high-interest rates would burden Ghanaian businesses and hinder their competitiveness.
He called for a change in the status quo, asserting that the economic crisis is self-inflicted by the current government.
“As flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, I have put forth several proposals to ensure that the economy is returned to a stable footing, and that economic activity is expanded for job creation and growth,” Mahama stated.
He pledged to enforce fiscal discipline, cut government expenditure, and streamline agencies to enhance efficiency.
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