Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia Monday said the government is showing better leadership skills in managing the economy and alleviating the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian against the COVID-19 crisis.
“If anyone wants to test the robustness of an economy, it should be tested in times of crisis,” Dr Bawumia said, adding that, available data indicated that the leadership of President Akufo-Addo in crisis management was better than that of his predecessor.
The Vice President Bawumia made the analysis during his interaction with the Presidential Press Corps at the Jubilee House, in Accra, after he attended a COVID-19 meeting.
He explained that his comparison was based on how the previous government managed the 2013 to 2016 power crisis (dumsor), which crippled some businesses; and how the current Government was managing the COVID-19 crisis.
The mitigation measures rolled out by the two Presidents to deal with their respective crises, he said, showed a stark difference in concern and approach.
For instance, Vice President Bawumia said, the erstwhile administration, when businesses were confronted by the electricity crisis, did not introduce any stimulus package for them.
Rather, electricity tariffs were increased by 45 per cent, while fuel prices also saw a hike.
On the contrary, President Akufo-Addo’s Government in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, was absorbing the electricity bills of all lifeline consumers and giving a 50 per cent subsidy to other residential and commercial consumers, for three months.
There is also free water supply to all Ghanaians for three months; while it has introduced a-600-million stimulus package for small-and medium scale businesses.
Additionally, the Government is offering tax rebates to all health workers, coupled with 50 per cent top up on the basic salaries of frontline health workers for four months.
“So the difference between the NDC and NPP governments is more stark…who would you trust in times of crisis? Clearly, President Akufo-Addo has shown leadership and concern towards ordinary Ghanaians,” Vice President Bawumia emphasised.
Dr Bawumia said the poorly-managed economy under the previous administration resulted in high inflation, which hovered around 15.4 per cent in 2016 and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.6 per cent, adding it was one of the lowest in the country’s history.
There was also freeze on public employment, cancellation of Teacher Trainee and Nurses Allowances as well as a weak public financing and banking system, culminating in International Monetary Fund bailout in 2014.
Also, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) returned to ‘cash-and-carry system’, he said, adding: “The macroeconomic data performance of the Mahama’s Administration was the worst since the year 2000.
“… The data is very clear, it’s not a green book data…”, he said, adding that anyone talking about the issues should use the data to avoid embarrassment.
Vice President said even before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Akufo-Addo-led government had implemented a number of social interventions and flagship programmes to alleviate poverty.
He cited the Free Senior High School policy, Capitation Grant for pupils, employment for 350,000 public sector workers and the engagement of 100,000 graduates under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCO).
He also mentioned the Planting for Food and Jobs, One Ambulance, One Constituency, and the ongoing One-District – One-Factory initiatives.
The Government had also introduced digital programmes in the public sector to enhance service delivery.
These include Mobile Money Payment Interoperability, digitisation of the court system (e-justice system), e-business registration, e-passport application, e-renewal of NHIS and digitisation of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA).
The government, he said, had increased resources to anti-graft institutions to fight corruption, increased by 50 per cent the District Assembly Common Fund allowances for Persons with Disability (PWDs) while the allowances for police and soldiers in peacekeeping had increased from 31 to 35 dollars daily.24