Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. John Ampotuah Kumah has rubbished claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress MP, Cassiel Ato Forson that the Akufo-Addo led government is bringing more hardship to the citizens this year.
The Member of Parliament for Ejisu, John Kumah in a detailed data analysis on the Economy, exposed the NDC MP with facts and also called on him to stop the economic hardship propaganda agenda and rather support his claims with data.
The NDC MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam and a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, who has been predicting doom for the country have made claims on his Facebook page that 2022 is a year of Economic Misery and inflation.
According to him “Folks, we need to brace up for more hardship this year. Prices of goods to be increased by at least 30%, the Ghanaian cedi now trading at almost 6.5cedis to 1 US Dollar is likely to hit 7 cedis before End of the year, fuel prices set to go up by 18 pesewas this week is likely to go up again on account of a weak Cedi”.
He continues that “Also multiplicity of taxes and Levies to take effect by End of January 2022, Interest Rates are likely to go up again”.
He concluded that the “Government will be borrowing heavily from the domestic market since the Euro bond market is closed to Ghana for, at least, the first half of 2022”.
John Kumah Data
However, the MP for Ejisu, in response to the NDC MP claims on the Economy hardship called on him to stop the speculation and propaganda.
John Kumah expressed that “Often, you expect those who are well informed about development in this economy to speak the truth backed by facts”.
According to John Kumah, “It is unfathomable to think that a former Deputy Minister of Finance could be this pessimistic, speculative, and propagandist on important issues concerning the economy of Ghana”.
“It is therefore important I state categorically that all the speculations by Ato Forson in his creation and are not supported by data”.
John Kumah noted that “Indeed, the economy is expected to grow at 4.9% even with ravaging COVID-19. The government is turning around the economy back to the era of high growth before the COVID-19 pandemic came to our shores”.
The Deputy Minister of Finance analyzed that “It is not true that prices of goods are to increase by circa 30% as Hon. Ato is speculating. There is no evidence to back this speculation.”.
He said, “On the cedi’s performance, I’m surprised at Ato’s submission. By the end of December 2021, the cedis had depreciated by 3.63% compared to 3.93% same time in 2020”.
“This represents one of the lowest depreciation seen in the currency in the last decade. The Pound has only depreciated by 1.64% compared to 7 08% in 2020. The cedi as at end of December 2021 had APPRECIATED against the Euro by 4.48%” the MP for Ejisu added.
He continues that “Certainly, it is out of place to speculate about a currency with this sterling performance. Government is confident that the cedi will hold against the major trading currencies in 2022 given all the innovative currency management policies introduced including the forward auction”.
On fuel, John Kumah, noted that “it is important to state that Hon. Ato’s opinion on the potential increase in fuel is not supported by any data” adding that “Indeed, the Office of President on 31st December 2021 directed the Ministry of Finance to extend the withdrawal of Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levies on Petrol, diesel, and LPG for an additional one month”.
He said, “Though fuel prices respond to several factors, Government is determined to cushion consumers as and when necessary”.
On taxes, John Kumah explained that the “Let me intimate that the government is not introducing any new taxes as being speculated. The e-levy as was announced by the Finance Minister is the only levy before Parliament for consideration”.
He said, “On interest rate, Hon. Ato’s expectation of a hike is untenable. Following the banking sector reforms, our banks have been well-positioned to lend to creditworthy clients at cheaper costs”.
“Though NPLs have increased due to COVID-19, Government is very certain that interest rates will not go out of the roof. The government through programs such as YouStart and GhanaCARES will support individuals, businesses, and institutions with cheap credit to help them realize their dreams” John Kumah fires.
“On domestically focused financing, Ato’s view that such an approach is bad for the economy is laughable” adding that “Our domestic market has proven capable of meeting the funding needs of the government. Through the numerous policy interventions in the market, the market has now become solid and ready to provide the funding needed to support the budget”.
The Deputy Minister of Finance concluded that “In doing so, the government in line with the Debt Management Strategy is mindful of the cost-risk trade-off and will at all times ensure that a fine balance is maintained and to protect the interest of the Republic”.
Source: Modern Ghana