Despite overwhelming evidence of excruciating economic circumstances on the ground, the government is still pushing its well-worn, tired and much discredited narrative that all is splendid, and that Ghanaians are benefitting tremendously from its prudent economic policies. And, it can point to the support of a well-known Think Tank, Imani, to justify its dubious claims.
Imani’s support in my view is grossly misplaced. I don’t know which data the policy think tank used as the basis for its hurried and myopic conclusion. The country is poorly served by this sycophancy.
Did Imani do basic and rudimentary research, talk to ordinary Ghanaians about their financial and economic health before rushing off to endorse policies that are turning their country into a large poverty zone and which have been roundly criticized by international development and economic experts as not adequately addressing the basic needs of 30 million Ghanaians?
The bitter and honest truth is that our national economy is still in the tank, and prospects for a quick turnaround are very dim. Government economic policies, at least those implemented so far, aren’t producing the desired results.
Ironically, Imani’s support comes at a time when the NPP government is still reeling from a scathing report in April by the United Nations Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston.
In the report, the UN rapporteur did not hold back; he was blunt and forthright. He said the benefits of whatever economic growth that has been recorded, went to the wealthy, the rich. And, shockingly, inequality, he said, is higher than it has ever been. That wasn’t all the bad news in the report.
Mr. Alston provided some sobering statistics about the plight of Ghanaians: he said that almost a quarter of Ghana’s population lives in poverty and that one in twelve Ghanaians lives in extreme poverty. He also said that the government spends little on social protection that is, providing for the poor and the vulnerable among us. He went on to describe the government’s efforts in this area as the lowest on the entire continent of Africa.
“A large number of Ghanaians don’t enjoy their basic economic and social human rights,’’ Mr. Alston said, adding that prospects for meeting Sustainable Development Goals are not encouraging. Finally, he warned the NPP government that the continuation of existing policies will further enrich the wealthy and do little for the poor.
One would have hoped that the government would pay heed to this critical report and take a long hard look at its policies with a view to redoing them. But, to date, nothing substantial has changed on the economic front. Ghanaians continue to suffer the devastating effects of high food prices, astronomical rents and increased transportation fares.
Because of the damning nature of his report, the UN rapporteur said the Ministry of Finance refused to meet with him. Ultimately there was a media blackout on the report; the Ghanaian media once again went to sleep and Nana had the guts early this year to say the Ghanaian press is hard on him? We all know that when it comes to scrutinizing the policies of this runaway government, the Ghanaian press always fails to do due diligence.
Ghanaians have a binary choice; either they stay quiet and suffer, or speak out and have their numerous problems addressed with all the due attention they rightly deserve.