Economy in ‘ICU’ – Oppong Nkrumah replies Mahama

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The Akufo-Addo government has said it will not be sidetracked by what it deems as former President John Dramani Mahama’s continuous invitation to dabble in partisan politics with the COVID-19 situation.

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said on Monday, 27 April 2020 that honouring such invitation would mean losing focus on the fight against a “very complex global problem” being confronted by President Akufo-Addo.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah was reacting to recent comments by the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the economy, which the government has always touted as resilient, was now in “ICU” with just a little more than a month after COVID-19 hit home.

In a Facebook Live session on Thursday, April 23, 2020, dubbed: ‘John Dramani Mahama in a Digital Conversation’, the former President said this about the economy: “… It is always necessary when you are building an economy to have enough buffers and create fiscal space so that when you are faced with a shock or adversity, you are easily able to overcome it.”

“Unfortunately, this government has used a lot of propaganda saying the economy has been the best that we have ever had since independence. Unfortunately, just one month of coronavirus, the economy is in ICU. If we didn’t run to the IMF for the one billion rapid credit facility, it is possible that in the next month, probably, salaries would not have been paid and, so, our economy is on ventilators, and it needs thinking to rescue it from the ICU.”

Even though Mr Oppong Nkrumah, in an interview with Citi FM on Monday, 27 April 2020 declined what he described as an “invitation” to wallow in the political sludge with Mr Mahama, he nonetheless gave some response or sort.

“I don’t want to get into politics; we’ve said that we are fighting a national war. It’s obvious that my good friend, the former President, at every turn, wants to draw us into that space and have a political banter with us, but we’re focused on a very complex problem. When we start getting into that space, we begin to lose focus on the common target or the common enemy. As tempting as it is, we’re focused on a complex problem at this point in time,” Mr Oppong caveated before remarking: “The former President is the one on whose tenure we didn’t have a global crisis,” adding: “He superintended a local energy crisis and run to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout, ended up locking us in so many conditionalities that literally, almost collapsed the Ghanaian economy.”

The Ofoase-Ayirebi MP continued: “Three years down the line, I’m not saying it, you have over and over again articulated what our numbers look like, what the global economic platforms say of our numbers, how these numbers have managed to even shore us up up to where we are today.

“We’re getting into a space where, like the President said, lift our head up beyond the parapet and deal with some 88 particular district hospitals and he [Mr Mahama] wants to draw us into a conversation about whether the economy is resilient or not; now is not the time to get into that with him.

“As I’ve said, we’re tackling a very complex global problem, not the local one that he created and struggled to deal with. But as tempting as it is to get into the political space, I’m of the view that if we do that, the real conversation that we should be spending airtime on to help us win this battle, we’ll lose it,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah noted.

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