I thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the motion to approve the financial policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending 31st December, 2009.
Madam Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance on page 14 of the Budget Statement, paragraph 43, enumerated a lot of economic targets which were missed by the NPP Administration and which have become a very big issue, being hammered on by my Hon Colleagues opposite.
Madam Speaker, while it is worthwhile to show that the year 2008 was very difficult, in my opinion, that paragraph should have ended with the following words:
“This notwithstanding, we have met an economy better than we left in 2000” [Hear! Hear!] The NPP Government should be applauded -- While the NPP Government started in a very deplorable state, for example, in a pit and they climbed up, we are starting on a pedestal.” [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker, I can understand that no one praises her rival before the husband but Madam Speaker, I want to tell my Hon Friends opposite that, se hom enyi hen ayew a ma hom nsee hen dzin - [Hear! Hear!] -- meaning, if they are not going to praise us, they should not defame us.
Madam Speaker, what did we meet in 2001 when we took office? Madam Speaker, in doing any comparison, I think we should set a correct base line, let the whole public know where the NPP Government came from and where we are
leaving the scene, so that Ghanaians would judge for themselves.
Madam Speaker, while he had to go to Nigeria to beg, His Excellency President Atta Mills had to go to Nigeria to give thanks to God. [Interruptions.] They all went to Nigeria -- the former President had to go to beg for crude oil for Ghana but because the current President has inherited a good economy which is so good, he had to go and give thanks in Nigeria. [Hear! Hear!]
Madam Speaker, I want to refer to the
Budget of 9th March 2001, column 1474 of the Hansard at that time, and then paragraph 4 of the Hansard.
“The total debt stock of Ghana stood at ¢41.10 trillion at the end of December, 2000.”
Madam Speaker, the total debt stock represented 224 per cent of exports, total debt was more than twice total exports, 709 per cent of budget revenue. It is more than 7 times budget revenue and 184 per cent of GDP. Madam Speaker, what did this budget tell us? Madam Speaker, in all things that we say, I think that the NPP Government should be patted on the back. At this time, what we had found is that inflation that we met 40.5 per cent, is now 18.2 per cent as we left. For three consecutive years, growth rate had been above 6 per cent. What else do Ghanaians want?
Madam Speaker, Ghana became the first among one of the third world countries
to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by halving poverty in 2006.
Madam Speaker, we became the only sub-Saharan country, excluding South Africa, and I am quoting from the Budget Statement that was presented by the late Hon Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu on Thursday, 15th November, 2007. Madam Speaker, we are the only country, excluding South Africa to enter the International Bond market and raised US$750 million out of 3.2 million subscription. It has never happened in Ghana, it happened only during the time of former President John Agyekum-Kufuor -- [Hear! Hear!] Madam Speaker, from the same document, Ghana received awards for being one of the best reformers for doing business in 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008 out of 175 countries and 178 countries worldwide -- Yenye adie? [Some Hon Members -- Yaye adie.]
Madam Speaker, about 180,000 youth were employed under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
We introduced the Capitation Grant, giving true meaning to the free element of the Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) for a cumulative figure of 14 million pupils in public schools. Madam Speaker, all these achievements have brought Ghana to the stage which we find ourselves now.
Madam Speaker, so all that I want to say on the economy is that we are now leaving an economy that we found the GDP of 184 per cent of our debt which is only 53 per cent of our debt. That means that we can pay our debt and then leave 46.7 per cent surplus which we never got.
Madam Speaker, when we assumed office, there were arrears in the District