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Press Release


December 02, 2015


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four



Fellow Ghanaians, on Friday November 13 2015, the Minister of Finance, presented to Parliament the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2016 Financial Year. The 2016 budget is the last budget of the second four year term of the NDC government. After two terms in office, one would expect that major gains would be made by this government in tackling the major problems the Ghanaian economy. These are problems of inclusive economic growth to address unemployment, decline in the agriculture sector, rising cost of living, collapsing businesses, the energy crisis (“dumsor”) unsustainable debt, poor infrastructure, rising interest rates
exchange rate depreciation, rising fiscal and balance of payments deficits, and corruption.

If one factors supplementary budgets since 2009, this 2016 budget is the eighth main budget in 7 years that the NDC has delivered. All of them promised a “Better Ghana” yet the outcomes, consistently, have been very abysmal. The eight main budgets over the last seven years have promised to address these challenges with various policies and the 2016 budget is no different. Today, the
promise is to “change lives and transform the economy”. One really wonders if this government is in touch with reality. The reality for most Ghanaians is that the economic policies of this government have destroyed many lives as young graduates are unable to find jobs, people are unable to pay school fees for their
wards, people cannot pay for hospital fees, businesses are collapsing, etc. Many lives have been destroyed and the economy, as we would show shortly has rather been deformed and not transformed. We have kept warning the government that you cannot use propaganda to manage an economy. The reality is that the people are suffering under this government and there is no transformation. Propaganda cannot change this reality.

Ghanaians were promised a ‘Better Ghana” in 2008 but going into the 8th year of government in 2016, this government has delivered one of the worst economic performances of any government in Ghana’s history. The record after the last seven budgets of the NDC is definitely not one of a “Better Ghana” than the one this government inherited in 2009. Rather, it is a record of a monumental waste of an historic opportunity to transform the economy of Ghana and improve the lives of Ghanaians.
While budgets are a statement of intent for the year ahead, there is no substitute for a seven year record of performance.


We have an opportunity today to compare the record of performance of the NPP government of 2001- 2008 under President J.A. Kufuor and the NDC administrations of Presidents Mills and Mahama (2009-2015), comment on the 2016 budget and present an alternative vision for the NPP that will guide future NPP budgets under a Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo government.

The GDP growth rate which was inherited by the NPP under the stellar leadership of President Kufuor in 2000, was 3.7%. In 2001 the GDP grew at 4.2%; in 2002 it grew at 4.5% rising to 5.2% in 2003 and to 5.6% in 2004. It rose to 5.9% in 2005, 6.4% in 2006; 6.3% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2008. This indeed is steady growth and it occurred without revenues from crude oil exports and in periods where the world was seeing the worst economic crisis in decades.

In the process, the size of Ghana’s economy increased from some $5.1 billion to $28.5 billion, a 500% increase!!!. Even in the face of a global economic and financial crisis in 2007/8 (with oil prices reaching a record high of $147/barrel) economic growth in 2008 rose to 8.4%. Ghana was transformed during the period of the NPP’s tenure (2001-2008) from a low income HIPC economy to a lower middle income economy on the frontiers of emerging market status.

The NPP’s record on economic growth compares with the uneven and recently declining growth rates achieved by the NDC Mills-Mahama, Mahama administrations.


In 2009 growth rate swung down to 4.0%; in 2010 it grew at
8.0% and upped to 14.0 per cent with the onset of oil production. For 2012 the GDP growth registered 8.8%, climbing down to 7.6 in 2013 and plummeting to 4.1% in 2014. The provisional 2015 GDP growth rate is 4.1% and for the first time since the inclusion of oil revenues beginning from 2011 the non-oil component of the GDP growth of 4.2% is higher than the overall real GDP growth rate of 4.1%. In 2014 the revised figures indicate that GDP growth rate was 4.0% same as the non-oil GDP growth. In the eight years of the NDC government, the size of the economy would have increased from $28.5 billion in 2008 to a projected $39.4 billion in 2016 (with oil), a 52% increase compared to the 500% increase witnessed under the NPP (without oil).

In critiquing the 2015 budget we stated that even though we were happy with government’s declaration of intent to promote export-led growth via identifying and promoting agricultural produces it was not clear by which method government wanted to achieve its object. At the time we stated that government had mentioned only one agricultural produce, cotton, for stimulation. We stressed the fact that there was a disconnect between the declaration and practical promotion since there was nothing in the budget to
pursue that otherwise noble objective.

The provisional Agricultural growth of 5.3% in 2014, we noted, was on account of logging which had registered a growth of 16.5% and cautioned government to show greater commitment to agricultural growth.

One of the reasons why agriculture is not doing well is because of the paltry budgetary allocation to the sector. In 2009, 3% of the entire budget was allocated to Agriculture. It climbed down to 1.9% in 2012 and 1.03% in 2013.

In 2014 only 1.07% of total budgeted allocation went to Agriculture, out of the total of GH¢44 billion budget figure. For 2015 only GH¢484.3 million equivalent to 1.1% is allocated to the two ministries of Food and Agriculture, and Fisheries and Aquaculture Development. In 2016 the total budget figure is GH¢50 billion
and the allocations to the two ministries of Food and Agriculture, and Fish and Aquaculture sums up to GH¢554,208,420 which is equivalent to 1.1% of the entire budget. All these paltry allocations have been made against the background of the Maputo declaration, which provides that governments in Africa must invest at least 6% of their annual budgets in Agriculture.

Agriculture is stagnating and has since 2008 underperformed. Real growth in Agriculture tumbled from 7.4% in 2008 to 7.2 in 2009 through 5.3% in 2010; 0.8 in 2011; 2.3% in 2012; 5% in 2013; 4.6 in 2014 and now the rock-bottom figure of 0.04% for 2015. Indeed the crops sub-sector, the dominant factor in agriculture, experienced a negative growth rate, i.e. -1.7%.

The stagnation in Agriculture found expression in the importation of $1.5 billion of food stuff into the country in 2014 against a food import bill of $600 million in 2008. The import of fish, poultry, tomatoes, cooking oil, have all doubled between 2008 and 2015.
The production of basic food staples (cereals, legumes, roots and tubers) have all been stagnating. The huge yearly vacillations in outputs and the rising imports of rice from 395,400 metric tons in 2008 to 543,465 metric tons in 2011 and over 600,000 tonnes in 2013 for which alone the nation spent $374 million (Ref. Pg. 11 of 2014 State of the Nation Address) testify to the escalating food insecurity in the country. Today, the country is on the brink of serious shortages in the supply of maize a major staple in the country. In 2012, crops grew at 0.8%. In 2015 crop was projected to grow at 5.8%, later reviewed to 4.1%, it grew at -1.7% which was 141.5% short of what was anticipated to be produced!

Production of meat and fish has not seen much growth. Fish production grew by 5.7% in 2013 but experienced negative growth of -5.6% in 2014, that is almost 200% short of what was anticipated and that is why in 2015 the target growth was set at a modest 1.9%. There has been a steady increase in the importation of livestock and poultry products: from 128,000 metric tonnes in 2008, to 139,000 tonnes in 2011, $170 million in 2013 and $283 million on
imported fish.



Millions of Ghanaian farmers and fishermen continue to suffer from low productivity because of inadequate supply of improved inputs (seeds, fertilizer, agro chemicals and pre-mix fuel), inaccessible market and farm credit. The thriving black market and the mass smuggling of “free” fertilizer and other chemicals meant for application on cocoa farms, are a clear testimony of the
failure of farm input policies. The 2014 and 2015 Budget Statements provided for the distribution of 180,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers each year to food crop farmers at subsidized prices
to promote usage. In spite of the budgetary provision, the government has blatantly failed to supply the subsidized fertilizers to food crop farmers in the two consecutive years of 2014 and 2015.

The fertilizer subsidy programme initiated by the NPP administration in 2007 has now been effectively buried by this government.

The fact that many cocoa farmers are also food crop farmers is lost on this government. Thus, the discrimination in input pricing policy between these two groups of farmers is totally illogical and doomed to failure.

The link between the farmer and modern technology for the needed
transformation of Ghanaian agriculture, is the agricultural extension officer.

But the ratio of the number of farmers to an extension officer has swollen 3,000-to-one; one of the highest in the world.
The international standard is 500-to-one. What is worse – a significant number of officers are close to the age of retirement! Yet, in the last seven years recruitment of farm extension officers has remained frozen. Students passing out from our agricultural colleges are dumped on the heap of the mounting youth unemployment.

Apart from frozen recruitment and the retirement age, extension  officers at post lack the needed logistics to travel to meet farmers on their farms. Under the NDC administration, extension officers have been denied fuel and field allowances to work with farmers. The recent supply of smart phones to extension officers in a desperate attempt to introduce ICT to extension work is bound to fail unless their transportation difficulties are addressed.

Ladies and gentlemen, the plan to establish Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSEC) in each district has been repeated in each Budget year since 2009. From 86 centres in 2009 the number of centres reported in the 2015 Budget is 89. Many of the existing centres are closing due to lack of spare parts
yet the 2015 Budget states that 41 new centres would be established in 2015.

The plan since 2010 to import 2,000 tractors remains only a promise. Given the unfulfilled promise of establishing farm mechanisation centres in each district, rehabilitation of existing ones would be value for money and would be of benefit to more farmers.

YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE AND BLOCK FARMING PROGRAMMES These two programmes typify the distraction of policy focus away from the major operators in food and agriculture, i.e. the nearly 5 million small holder farmers and fishermen in this country. These programmes as stated earlier are
now absorbing a disproportionate amount of our very scarce public resources.

Average yields per acre of maize and other crops from these two programmes have consistently been below those on small holdings. Apart from the lower productivity, the rate of loan capital recovery is very low. Beneficiaries, most of whom are selected on the basis of political party loyalty, literally walk away without paying for the inputs provided in kind. These programmes have become a huge drain on public resources with little to show for them.

The Buffer Stock Company Limited established in 2009 is highly undercapitalized for the task assigned to it to support the local grain market. Recent reports of stocks of maize locked up in farming communities in the Northern Region clearly demonstrate the failure of the Buffer Stock Programme of this NDC Government. To make a real impact, the Buffer stock company requires to be a major player in the over 300,000 metric tonne domestic grain market. Yet they do not have the resources to handle 30,000 metric tonnes, which is a tent of that tonnage. The company has become only a token institution and a drain on public resources rather than an instrument of real intervention in the market to support appropriate and proper grain prices received by poor farmers.

The question we all have to ask is - how are we going to transform the economy if we continue to pursue policies that result in the stagnation of the agricultural sector? There is no transformation taking place in the agricultural sector under this NDC government. Certainly, Agriculture, the largest employer of the Ghanaian people, under this government has been deformed and not Transformed.

In addition to the decline in agriculture, the manufacturing sector is also in decline. The last three years have recorded negative growth in the manufacturing sector with growth at -0.5% in 2013, -0.8% in 2014 and -2.0% in 2015.

If agriculture growth stands at zero and manufacturing growth is negative 2% what exactly has this government been transforming in this economy?

It is interesting to note that the 2013 average economic growth in countries in the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) of whom, excepting Nigeria, are nonoil producing was higher than Ghana’s. In 2014, just as in 2015, the average GDP growth in these non-oil economies was stronger than Ghana’s, an oil producing country. For the third successive year Ghana could not achieve even
one of the ten convergence criteria. Even for the six (6) Rationalized Macroeconomic Convergence Criteria, Ghana scored 0 out of the six and placed us last in the table of nations including the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria. That is the abysmal record that we all are living witnesses of.

For the second successive year, the Minister of Finance, knowing Ghana’s position has refused to publish the league of performance of the various countries. The reason for this is not farfetched: the picture will present a graphic reality about what somebody refers to as the “smoothness level” of Ghana under this government (against countries like the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria) , and hence the decision not to show it.



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