Ghana may dip into the Sri Lanka situation before December – Haruna Iddrisu predicts

Minority leader and Tamale South Member of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has berated President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his appointees over management of the economy.

Speaking to veteran journalist Kwesi Pratt Jnr in an interview on Pan African TV, he posited that the economy has grossly been mismanaged by ‘incompetent’ people placed at the helm of affairs.

The situation he lamented has forced many to reel under economic pressures while the government has also resorted to ‘irresponsible, reckless borrowing.’

He mentioned for instance that President Akufo-Addo’s promise to protect the public purse during his inauguration in 2017 has not seen the light of day.

The legislator premised his remark on the number of ministers the president appointed in his first term, referencing the infamous terminology of an ‘elephant size government’.

He feared that given how the economy and the country at large was being managed, the situation may degenerate into scenes that were witnessed in South Asian country, Sri Lanka, months back.

Haruna Iddrisu made the comment while making a case for a cap to be placed on the number of ministers a president can appoint.

“When you hear President Nana Addo Dankwa say that he will protect the public purse and come and appoint an elephant-sized government, that’s incongruous. I mean you cannot reconcile that and then you see him spend profligately on travel when other heads of states will be on business class and either first class, you want to fly with the comfort of a private jet that adds to the cost.

“What is now catching up with them is that they didn’t keep faith with the Ghanaian electorate. At the time the NDC and President Mahama explained that they will not be able to pay allowances, it will affect the compensation budget, to be able to recruit more to the public service….there are those who think we need a downsizing of the Ghanaian public sector.

“I have read Professor Wood’s book and he is very articulate that our public sector is too large. 700,000 workers but how do you downsize it when you are not even providing an enabling environment for the private sector. What is happening today in Ghana and Kwesi, I am afraid Ghana may dip into a Sri Lankan situation even before the end of December,” he said in the October 1 interview.

Sri Lanka dominated the news following days of massive protests by citizens over an economic downturn.

The situation culminated in the protesters storming deposed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence in July.

Amidst the upheaval, Rajapaksa resigned and fled the country to Maldives, BBC reported.

At present, Sri Lanka’s consumer inflation according to official data showed surged to an annual record 69.8% in September.

Ghana’s economy has also in recent times faced a downturn with economists pointing to inflation rates, hike in petroleum products, and increased cost of living.

The worsening economic situation has compelled government to initiate contact with the International Monetary Fund for a programme owing to downgrades of the economy by rating agencies which prevented it from accessing the international capital market.