My facts & data about your vulnerable economy are sacred, bring yours if you disagree-Bawumia jabs NDC

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged his critics to provide facts and data contrary to what he has presented at the town hall meeting organised to allow him address Ghanaians on the performance of the economy.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Vice President said his presentation was premised on facts and true data hence if anyone disagrees, the person should provide any contrary data to that effect.

“Our presentation today as always is based on analysis of the data and the facts. The data will speak for itself if you disagree you should bring your own data and your record,” Dr Bawumia said in his opening comments at a Town Hall Meeting today in Accra.
“Don’t disagree by saying the EMT members have big heads. You only result to insults when you are allergic to facts”.

Dr. Bawumia in touting the achievements of government in the economy said, the Nana Addo led administration has managed to maintain a strong fiscal adjustment and debt management despite the current debt stock.

The country’s total debt stock has increased by ¢2.9 billion in two months to reach ¢172.9 billion ending November 2018.

The Data from the Central Bank showed that the new debt stock represents 57.9 per cent of the total value of Ghana’s economy otherwise referred to as Debt-to-GDP Ratio by economists.

A breakdown of the debt stock shows that ¢86.3 billion of the debts were secured from outside the county, while ¢86.5 billion were domestic bonds and local borrowings.

Commenting on the debt stock, the Vice President said, despite the increase, the prudent management of the economy by the NPP should not scare anyone because the current administration, has done well in maintaining discipline.

He went on to state that Ghana’s economy under Mahama was vulnerable to economic shocks and said 2012-2016 was “much much worse although the environment was favourable”.

The situation he lamented took Ghana to the IMF and this decision came with tough strings attached.

He said through the prudent and competence management of the NPP, Ghana will officially exist the IMF.

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed the seventh and eight reviews under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) support arrangement.

The completion which was on Wednesday March 20, made available to Ghana the cumulative amount of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 132.84 million (about US$185.2 million).

IMF in a news release last month, stated that “Considering the authorities’ resolved to tackle difficult reforms, the Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver of the nonobservance of a few program targets.

“Ghana’s three-year arrangement was approved on April 3, 2015 (see Press Release No.15/159) for SDR 664.20 million (about US$925.9 million or 180 percent of quota at the time of approval of the arrangement). It was extended for additional year on August 30, 2017 and is to end on April 2, 2019.”

According to the release “the arrangement aimed to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country to foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending.”

Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, is quoted as saying “the authorities have achieved significant macroeconomic gains over the course of the ECF-supported program, with rising growth, single digit inflation, fiscal consolidation, and banking sector clean-up. Continued macroeconomic adjustment should underpin these improvements, as the 2020 elections approach.”

It said “In a sign of the authorities’ commitment to fiscal consolidation, the end-2018 fiscal targets were met. Sustained fiscal discipline is needed to reduce financing needs and anchor debt dynamics. As stronger revenue mobilization is critical, the submission of the tax exemption bill is welcome, but needs to be complemented by efforts to strengthen tax compliance. Fiscal space is needed to support priority programs, while off-budget expenditures should be avoided.”

“Progress on structural reforms needs to be intensified. Plans to improve public financial management and supervision of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the establishment of a fiscal council, and the fiscal rule are welcome. Stronger monitoring of fiscal operations, including for SOEs, will help mitigate fiscal risks.

“Debt management has improved, though reliance on foreign investors has increased Ghana’s exposure to market sentiment and exchange rate risk. Debt collateralization and revenue monetization should be limited to avoid encumbering revenues. Planned infrastructure projects should be transparently managed, be consistent with debt sustainability, and ensure value for money.

“While achieving single-digit inflation is commendable, monetary policy should remain vigilant to guard against upside risks to inflation, also stemming from exchange rate developments. Rebuilding international reserve buffers, including through careful foreign exchange liquidity management, is welcome and critical to support greater resilience to external shocks.

“The authorities deserve praise for strengthening the banking sector and for resolving nine banks. Completing the financial sector clean-up, as planned, will support the provision of adequate and affordable credit to the economy.

“The Fund congratulates the authorities for successfully completing the ECF supported program and stands ready to support Ghana in its quest for economic prosperity.”

The ECF is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long term in case of protracted balance of payments problems.

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