Mr Speaker, I am saying whether progressively or retrogressively. Here, the effect is the same. This is because they all pointed to the year 2015. So who is deceiving who?
Mr Speaker, we should all be helped to identify characters of untruth from characters of truthfulness.
Mr Speaker, the preamble of the President's Address, which states the four thematic areas of the NDC 2012 Manifesto and which were captured in the introductory of the 2013 Message by the President and these are:
one, putting people first;
two, strong and resilient economy;
three, expanding infrastructure; and
four, transparent and accountable governance.
Let me first speak to the economy. Mr Speaker, Hon Colleagues have spoken earlier and alluded to some aspects of this. The President stated on page 9 of his Message and with your permission I beg to quote him:
“…our economic fundamentals remain sound and our mid-term prospects are good”.
The statement means that our
economic fundamentals have for long been sound. He said that they remain sound, so for a long time they have been very sound. Just five minutes later, the same President came to state, indeed, lament and I beg to quote him:
“The basic structure of our economy has not changed from colonial times. The Gold Coast was designed by the colonial master to be exporters of raw materials and importers of finished goods”.
And then, another quote:
“This is the basic structure of our economy”.
He added. Following after that on page 11, the President further wails and I quote again:
“… a fundamental problem of our economy is that we do not make what we consume”.
Mr Speaker, the statements are obviously contradictory. Mr Speaker, the evidence of the true state of the economy can be found in everyday lives, in the markets, in the streets, in the industries. The cost of doing business has shot up and so unemployment in both formal and informal sectors have become widespread.
The high cost of living is exacting its toll on all of us and it is no wonder that the public sector workers are demanding
pay rise from Government. Standard of living is falling, life is becoming unbearable and our people are getting poorer. Public financing is out of control and the economy is simply in trouble.
Mr Speaker, what are the causes of the sharp decline in the economic circum- stances of our people?
The first is the huge public debt. This Administration, in 2009, inherited a total public debt of US$8 billion. That is captured in paragraph 94 of the 2009 Budget Statement; the equivalent of GH¢9.5 billion at the beginning of 2009. Within five years, this debt has escalated, and what did the President himself allude to?
Mr Speaker, it is sad to observe that over 55 per cent of the debt was borrowed locally, and what this means is that, Government has been competing with the private sector for money domestically. This causes interest rates to rise, thereby making it harder for domestic business to go and create jobs. The effect is that, our youth are roaming the streets without employment. It is sad to relate that it is the youth, who are today unemployed, who would be called on to pay this debt sometime in future.
What is there to show for all these moneys being borrowed? Not much, except dubious payments to Woyome, Isofoton, Construction Pioneers, Waterville and other such people. That is the true state of the economy which Ghanaians need to know.
Since 2009, this Government has resorted to sheer propaganda to struggle to portray that they are better managers of the economy.
The GDP growth points in another direction, for since 2009, the non-oil sector growth has never matched the growth rates recorded in 2008 that was 8.4 per cent. Since 2009 -- five years running--and they call themselves better managers of the economy.
Mr Speaker, in 2013, by the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) standards, economic growth in countries that are non-oil producing in the West African Region averaged 6.7 per cent, and the countries are the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ghana's non-oil sector grew by 5.8 per cent and that is captured in page 11, paragraph 28 of the 2014 Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker, of the ten primary and secondary criteria of economic growth established for countries in the West African Monetary Zone, Ghana placed last in the league of countries such as the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. We are the only country that attained three out of the ten criteria. Indeed, by December 2013, we had even slipped on the exchange rate stability, which meant that we attained only two at the end of December 2013.
Mr Speaker, even possibly, with real interest rates, we slipped. It thus means that, by the close of 2013, we achieved just one out of ten.
It is the worst performance by this country in 20 years. That is the true state of the economy.
Mr Speaker, instead of addressing the real causes, the President is telling Ghanaians the country has caught the bug -- and I beg to quote him:
“of the 2007 world financial crisis and the recent tapering policy announced by the United States Federal Reserve”.