Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, addressed the nation Sunday, October 30, 2022, on measures to tackle the country’s current economic crisis.
His address became necessary following growing tension in the country, including the business community, the political landscape, and in the general citizenry over the worsening state of the country’s economy and concomitant harsh living conditions.
For the first time under the country’s Fourth Republic (since 1993), 80 out of 137 Members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to the ruling New Patriotic Party on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, held a press conference calling on President Akufo Addo to immediately sack the finance and economic planning minister, Ken Ofori Atta, from office over the prevailing ailing economy.
The majority MPs’ action was preceded by several other calls from civil society groups and minority MPs for the head of the finance minister, who is a cousin of President Akufo Addo, blaming the current economic woes on his incompetence and/ or ineptitude.
“In compliance with Article 82 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the NDC Caucus in Parliament has successfully filed a motion for his immediate removal. We’re glad there’s positive indication some of our NPP colleagues will support us “, leading minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wrote on his Twitter handle on October 25, 2022.
The West African country which became the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to attain political independence 65 years ago, continues to depend heavily on foreign loans for its annual budgetary planning. This is despite the ambitious “Ghana beyond aid” statement made by the sitting president in his inaugural address on January 7, 20217.
Within the past two years, Ghana has continued to receive a downgrading of its economy by international credit rating agencies, resulting from poor general economic performance, including record-time high inflation rates, among others. This has made it difficult over the period for the country to borrow from the Eurobond market.
The Ghanaian cedi is currently the worst-performing currency in the world, according to www.bloomberg.com of October 17, 2022. It is currently trading averagely at Ghs 15 to $1. This has caused high agitations among traders in the country, culminating in the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) closing their shops for close to a week in protest.
The prevailing harsh economic conditions in the country have resulted in unrest on the labour front, particularly among public sector workers, which is further affecting productivity. Prominent among frequently striking trade unions is the University Teachers Union of Ghana (UTAG) who are currently on strike for the second time within the second half of the year.
The president in his address to the nation, which was carried live on all major national television networks in the country, was expected to announce measures he and his economic management team led by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia are putting in place in the coming days to ‘save the soul’ of the suffering masses.
“I will be addressing the nation after broad consultations with the Council of State, Cabinet and key stakeholders in the economy including, GUTA, AGI, Banks, GPRTU, Forex Bureau Association, Market Women, Ghana Employers Association, and Organized Labour”, President Akufo Addo twittered earlier in the day as he prepared to speak.
He indicated that the content of his address will touch on the concerns of such key stakeholders in the Economy as the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Association of Banks, Forex Bureau Association of Ghana, Market Women, Ghana Employers Association, GPRTU and Transport Operators, and Private Enterprise Federation.
The country has recently applied to the IMF for an economic bailout of some $3 billion program, and negotiations are ongoing between the Ghanaian government and the Breton Woods institution. Mr. Akofu-Addo during the week held a meeting with the dissenting majority MPs where he cajoled them to reason with him to allow the finance minister to stay a little longer in office – to complete the deal with the IMF.