Is minority panicking over Ofori-Atta?

Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance

The minority sounds plain panicky as it continues to attack the finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta’s stay in office. They accuse Ofori-Atta of violating constitutional statutory regulations and guidelines when he issued the US$2.5billion bond

Once upon a time, when Ofori-Atta presented his first financial budget he named the ‘Asempa Budget’, the minority laughed and mimicked his speech like ‘mockingbirds’. He inherited a moribund economy, and with no strong economic or political background he was heavily doubted

But after a year down the line, the macroeconomy which looked disastrous seems to be recuperating; therefore, it could be that the avalanche of good economic news is becoming too worrying and frustrating for the minority to endure.

It is on notable record that the minority in government left on a 2016 GDP of 3.5 percent – the worst in 23 years, with public debt ballooning to GH¢122billion. It was the period when Ghanaians accused them of borrowing with impunity, without recourse to introducing policies that generate enough revenue for projects

The trend of a high debt situation in 2016 was a headache for Ghanaians, since the public debt stock to GDP was sky-rocketing. By end of 2016 the debt stock stood at 74 percent of GDP. Now, our future generation has to bear unwarranted bonds and concessional loans placed on them

The dire economic situation offered the minority no choice but to rush to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout. The bailout came up with conditions that placed all Ghanaians under severely austere measures which ha driven many homes into poverty.

In the minority days, the policy rate jumped to over 25 percent at a point – and most banks recorded bad loans. The central bank’s economic and financial data showed that non-performing loans jumped from 11.2 percent in May 2015 to 17.3 percent in December 2016.

Inflation was another canker, hitting over 18 percent for a long period. The cedi also fluctuated, to the chagrin of traders and importers as well as Ghanaians in general.

So why does Ken Ofori-Atta matter now? It is because the finance minister seems to be building a macroeconomy that works for everyone. Though the economy is not desperate, Ofori-Atta has been able to present a strong, bold economic agenda for Ghanaians and foreign investors so their hopes for the future can return.

We’ve seen GDP in 2017 hit 6.3 percent while fiscal deficit went down – at 4.5 percent of GDP from the projected estimate of 6.3 percent. Inflation ended at 11.2 in 2017. Though public debt has hit GH¢138billion, the debt accumulated since the previous amount of GH¢122billion depicts cautiousness.

“We must make these decisions in good time to ensure that our future generations will be bequeathed a priceless inheritance of sustainable fiscal performance,” Ken OforiAtta said

Ken Ofori Atta seems to be a generational-thinking finance minister. His approach and use of better macroeconomic indicators is yielding results. We won’t say Ofori-Atta is immaculate – the cedi is unstable, fuel prices keep increasing, and many people are still languishing in poverty.

If Ofori-Atta does not get to reach the masses through the austerity introduced by the minority when in power, so they get back on their feet, all the good macroeconomic indicators will mean zero to ordinary people in the street. The ordinary Ghanaian needs money and better living standards.

The minority and majority have to try as much as possible to separate or limit politics in relation to economics. What the poor child or parents need now is an economy that will bring money into their pockets –  not the continued years of petty politics which have wrecked homes many with poverty, prostitution and death.