“EMT Has No Economic Decision-Making Powers”
According to Dr Bawumia, even though the EMT, has no decision-powers, he is proud of its contributions and quality advice it has been providing to Cabinet.
At his much anticipated “Bawumia Speaks” event where he outlined “Ghana’s Next Chapter”, yesterday at the University for Professional Studies (UPS-A), the Vice President, recalled how upon assumption of power in 2017, he opted to focus his attention on critical but underdeveloped sector that would expand the economy, improve systems, and create jobs through digitalization.
He said, while the Minister for Finance Ken Ofori Atta, oversee the budget and the Bank of Ghana also focused on monetary and exchange rate policy, “I focused on the complementary data and systems 21improvement that would ensure the ease of doing business and change the fundamentals of the economy, making it more dynamic and responsive to modern trends, and the management of it more scientific and efficient.
I was, thankfully, appointed as Chairman of the Economic Management Team (EMT). As a sub-committee to Cabinet, we do not have any decision-making powers, but I am very proud of the quality of advice we have been providing over the years to Cabinet”.
The vice president, who after assuming office touted the economic prowess of the Team which comprised former Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, Prof. Gyan Baffour, the late Akoto Osei, Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah, among others, was often jabbed when the economy began to experience challenges due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the Russian-Ukraine war.
He was criticized for not making his knowledge on the economy felt after campaigning in opposition that he had the magic wand.
The Vice President, who unveiled his vision for Ghana as flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the University for Development Studies-Accra yesterday, also said current economic data, shows that the economy is recovering from the COVID-19 crisis.
He recounted that inflation has dropped from 54 percent in January 2023, to 23 percent in the December 2023.
“Economic growth is rebounding, spending is under control,” he said.
Regarding the Cedi performance, he said “The depreciation of the Cedi under our government is lower than what we inherited from the 2013-2016.”
Dr Bawumia, further pointed out that one cannot ignore the fact that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war devastated global economies, including Ghana.
He recounted that notwithstanding the challenges that the Akufo-Addo administration inherited from the previous Mahama administration in 2017, they managed to stabilize the economy with all economic indicators pointing in the right direction.
However, he said, the pandemic and the war impacted negatively on these indicators.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties we inherited, we had to get on with …we have to among other things fix dimsor, National Health Insurance, clear the arrears, make education free and accessible
“Between 2017 and 2019, all the indicators, economic growth, industry growth, fiscal deficits, and exchange rate were all moving in the right direction.
“In 2020 and 2022 we experienced several challenges triggered by the pandemic which brought the world to a halt,” he said.
Dr Bawumia, also used the opportunity to commend the Bank of Ghana for the support it provided to the government during the crisis.
He described the criticisms against the central bank as unfair.
“The Bank of Ghana provided needed financing to the government at a critical moment. What the BoG did was very responsible in putting the interest of the citizens first,” he said.
The Vice President, also lauded the government’s remarkable performance amid challenging global economic conditions.
Dr Bawumia highlighted the administration’s competence and ingenuity in mitigating the impact of the economic slowdown on Ghanaians.
He emphasised that, despite adverse circumstances, the Akufo-Addo government successfully navigated away from potential crises.
Dr Bawumia, urged Ghanaians to acknowledge the prevailing global challenges and recognize the government’s efforts accordingly.
“Clearly, notwithstanding the economic crisis, this government has been able to steer the ship of the nation away from catastrophe. In the face of the crisis, the overall performance of the economy in areas such as GDP Growth, agricultural growth, industrial growth, trade balance, gross international reserves and job creation demonstrated resilience.”
“Available data also shows that, notwithstanding the challenging economy we inherited, and the global economic crisis that ensued, the government has chalked a large number of achievements across the country. Due to time constraints,” he said.
Furthermore, he outlined several policy initiatives to be implemented if elected as President in the upcoming December elections.
These include bolstering the role of the private sector, enhancing fiscal and administrative decentralisation, and optimising the functionality of systems and institutions to enhance efficiency and minimise wastage.
“’The move towards the private sector provision of many public services would create fiscal space of at least 3% of GDP. This represents a major paradigm shift.
“Additionally, an efficient system of governance will require even fewer ministers. Therefore, I would have no more than 50 ministers and deputy ministers,’’ he added.
Additionally, the NPP flagbearer, disclosed plans to establish an independent fiscal responsibility council aimed at reducing budget deficits and interest rates under his leadership.
“To sustainably reduce the budget deficit and interest rates, my government will enhance fiscal discipline through an independent fiscal responsibility council enshrined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982).”
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act will also be amended to add a fiscal rule that requires that budgeted expenditure in any year does not exceed 105% of the previous year’s tax revenue. This will prevent the experience of budgetary expenditures based on optimistic revenue forecasts which don’t materialise.”