Earlier this week while Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was in Tamale at the National Policy Summit reinforcing wide spread perceptions that he is totally out of touch with the suffering masses of Ghana with his baffling insistence that the fundamentals of the economy are good, across the Atlantic Ocean, in New York City, before a friendly Ghanaian crowd, his boss, President Nana Akuffo Addo was saying the exact opposite --- that the economy is in the tank and Ghanaians are suffering as a direct consequence.
Mr. Addo’s uncharacteristic honesty about the free falling Ghanaian economy wasn’t exactly earth shattering and did not spell the end of civilization as we know it. The President’s blunt admission was long overdue and a candid recognition of the immense difficulties ordinary Ghanaians are going through.
Nonetheless, the admission came as a shock, originating as it were from a man who in 2016 promised Ghanaians milk and honey --- a blissful economic paradise, with plentiful jobs, cheap food, easy access to healthcare, free education and whatever else you can think of that makes life worth living.
Welcome to the dance, Mr. President. Ghanaians have known this situation – this disaster of an economy that you have presided over for the last 18 months --- all along and have suffered in silence while you looked the other way and remained aloof.
Eager to fend off the criticism that was surely to follow, the President was quick to point out that the situation hadn’t reached a crisis stage yet.
“We are not in crisis, the difficulties that we are going through now are difficulties the system will be able to accommodate,” Mr. Addo said.
Did not I mention somewhere in one of my commentaries that our president is arrogant and self-conceited? Otherwise, how do you say with a straight face that times are hard in Ghana and then in the same breath say that we are not in a crisis? It is mindboggling. The mere fact that things are difficult signifies a crisis.
And, as if that was not enough of Mr. Addo’s empty bravado, he blamed everything under the sun, but himself for Ghana’s economic and financial woes.
The reasons he outlined --- a strong dollar and high oil prices ----for the poor performance of the economy are as absurd as they are misleading.
Economic growth has been anemic largely due to gross mismanagement. Add to that, a weak manufacturing sector, increased imports and few exports resulting in dismal foreign exchange earnings, and low investor confidence.
Be that as it may, why doesn’t Mr. Addo acknowledge the fact that Ghana is in a crisis, that it has deep macroeconomic problems and that he and his lieutenants would henceforth stop the showboating, the bragging and work around the clock to devise sustainable and resilient solutions before it is too late. Or they will be overwhelmed by events.