The National Communications officer of the opposition National democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, has described President Nana Akufo-Addo the worse head of state Ghana has ever had since independence.
He argued that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has rather unleashed nuisance taxes onto Ghanaians, leading to the rise in cost of living and slowing the growth of businesses.
Speaking on XYZ Tonight on TV XYZ, Gyamfi told the Host Prince Minkah that despite Akufo-Addo’s popular ‘4 more to do more’ mantra, Ghanaians have had to grapple with the daily increase in prices of goods and services stemmed from the NPP Government’s bad policies.
Gyamfi wondered why the NPP Government in its first term promised to do more for Ghanaians but had to introduce new taxes, including COVID-19 levy and the incessant increment of petroleum products that has increased the cost of living and hampering growth.
“In the wake of Covid-19 where countries like Ivory Coast are reducing prices of goods and services whiles some are giving money to individuals for economic recovery, Nana Addo is rather imposing nuisance taxes on the already suffering Ghanaians,” the plain talking Gyamfi said.
Gyamfi went on to criticize the Akufo-Addo Government for its insatiable taste for loans that are not injected into capital investments and the soaring rate of unemployment and intermittent power outages also known as ‘Dumsor.’
“A gallon of fuel sold at 16 cedis in 2016 under John Mahama is now 25 cedis under this government. Also a bag of cement sold at 28 cedis under the NDC Government is now sold at 50 cedis under this NPP era,” he added.
He continued, “Prior to 2020 elections Akufo-Addo promised to us sky trains and even promised to build 88 hospitals in the wake of the Covid pandemic but none has been fulfilled” he added, stating that President Akufo-Addo has lied to Ghanaians.
On loans, he said the government has borrowed so much that Ghanaians will have to pay more taxes before the Government will be able to settle its debts.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the government to prioritise controlling spending and generate more revenue in order to reduce the country’s debt burden.
The government has said the bad economic situation has been exacerbated by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has increased taxes in its 2021 budget.
According to a B&FT report, currently the IMF has pegged the country’s public debt at 78 percent of GDP in 2020, up from 64.4 percent in 2019, including energy sector debt of GH¢7.63 billion in 2020. In addition to that, government deficit, including energy and financial sector costs, reached 15.5 percent of GDP, while annual gross financing needs exceeded 20 percent of GDP in 2020.
It is against this background that the IMF, in its Article IV discussions with managers of the economy, is advising government to adapt fiscal consolidation measures that that will free up revenue for government to undertake essential spending on health and other social interventions in the fight against COVID-19.
“The 2021 budget’s recent policy pivot towards fiscal consolidation is an important step in the right direction and a difficult one in a pandemic. Fiscal consolidation should be deepened and anchored around debt and debt service reduction to create space for social, health, and development spending.
Given the social and equity implications, fiscal consolidation should rely more on progressive revenue and spending measures, while guaranteeing fiscal support to the most vulnerable and social safety nets,” leader of the IMF mission, Carlo Sdralevich, said.
He further threw his weight behind government’s planned audits of COVID-19 emergency spending and of arrears accumulated in 2020, in addition to routine budgetary reporting practices, saying it will help account for the increase of spending and its effectiveness, and provide lessons to improve the robustness of public financial management systems.