According to him, key sectors of Ghana’s economy which include the financial sector which serves as oxygen for any economy were not properly in place before the pandemic.
“He blames Covid and the Ukraine war for his mess, but the facts say otherwise. Long before Covid, in November 2019, when he presented the 2020 budget to Parliament, he prophesied a steady decline in GDP growth from 7.0% in 2019 to as low as 4.6% in 2022, followed by a weak recovery to 6.5% in 2023.”
“This grim outlook reflected the consequences of his vindictive and ruinous policies since 2017, including the wanton destruction of the financial sector – the source of oxygen for any economy – which shrank by an average of nearly 12% per year, and the very dynamic construction sector, which declined by 6.5% by the end of 2019, fuelling unemployment. Growth in other sectors either slowed or also declined. The economy was heading for the doghouse long before the world heard of Covid,” Mr. Thompson has said in a statement.
The economic in reacting to the mid-year budget review read in Parliament by the Finance Minister said the Minister has steadily degraded the exercise into a comical display of incoherent biblical quotations.
“And whilst Covid did stagger the economy and put a strain on government finances for most of 2020, it also became a financial bonanza for the government, which raised nearly GH¢28 billion (not the GH¢21.8 billion in the Auditor-General’s report) to fight the pandemic. (The report omitted the GH¢5.8 billion, or US$1 billion, that the IMF gave the government in 2021, in addition to the US$1 billion (GH¢5.6 billion) given in 2020). (Combined tax revenue shortfall in 2020 and 2021 was GH¢5 billion).
“Of the GH¢28 billion, nearly GH¢12 billion (about 43%) “was spent on Covid-related activities”, according to the report, with the remainder going to the nebulously named “budget support,” which could mean anything.
“The positive impact on the economy – and the budget – of all that money is yet to be felt. Rather, the government has followed the IMF’s crazy advice and imposed more taxes and raised the rates for others, ostensibly to “revitalise” the economy and “mobilise revenue”. The woman roasting plantain by the roadside would tell you this is madness, and it is, as reflected in the minister’s gloomy economic prophecy for 2023.”