In Ghana today, there is a general consensus that things are no longer working as smoothly as they should have been in the country.
The daily struggles to make ends meet, for many of the citizenry, have been compounded by external factors that directly affect their struggles because the leaders they have elected to ensure that the country runs smoothly appear to have woefully failed at it.
The same understanding has given a number of Ghanaians a reason to rank the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government as a poor-performing government, premised on many economic indicators.
In this GhanaWeb article, we look at some of the achievements of this government that have turned out infamous because the NPP government, which touted itself as ‘having the men’, have found it tough to deal with the economic turmoil in the country.
For better perspectives, the article focuses on metrics since Ghana became a democracy in 1992 till date.
Worst exchange rate against foreign currencies:
Under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government, Ghana has experienced its worst exchange rate on the Ghana cedi against foreign currencies such as the United States dollar.
GhanaWeb‘s daily reports on the cedi’s performance showed that on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, the cedi was trading against the dollar at a buying price of 9.7176 and a selling price of 9.7274.
This is compared to trading on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, with a recorded buying price of 9.6427 and a selling price of 9.6523. At a forex bureau in Accra, the dollar is being bought at a rate of 11.03 and sold at a rate of 11.23.
Against the Pound Sterling, the cedi is trading at a buying price of 10.7807 and a selling price of 10.7935 compared to yesterday’s trading of a buying price of 10.6465 and a selling price of 10.6581.
At a forex bureau in Accra, the pound sterling is being bought at a rate of 11.98 and sold at a rate of 12.28.
The Euro is trading at a buying price of 9.4435 and a selling price of 9.4530 as compared to yesterday’s trading of a buying price of 9.3489 and a selling price of 9.3582.
At a forex bureau in Accra, Euro is being bought at a rate of 10.52 and sold at a rate of 10.77.
The South African Rand is trading at a buying price of 0.5372 and a selling price of 0.5374 compared to yesterday’s trading of a buying price of 0.5318 and a selling price of 0.5321.
At a forex bureau in Accra, South African Rand is being bought at a rate of 0.45 and sold at a rate of 0.80.
The Nigerian Naira is trading at a buying price of 45.0656 and a selling price of 45.1827, as compared to yesterday’s trading of a buying price of 45.0656 and a selling price of 45.1827.
At a forex bureau in Accra, Nigerian Naira is being bought at a rate of 13.00 Naira for every 1 Cedi and sold at a rate of 15.50.
At the time of taking over power in 2017, the cedi to dollar rate was around GH¢4.
Debt to GDP:
The country’s current Debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is at an all-time high, at GH¢402.4 billion as of July 2022.
The debt stock, which stood at GH¢392.1 billion in March 2022, dropped to GH¢388.1 billion in April 2022 and later went up marginally to GH¢389.2 billion in May 2022 and to GH¢393.4 billion in June 2022.
In early October 2022, Ghana was classified as a high-debt distressed country by the World Bank.
The Bank’s October 2022 Africa Pulse Report said that Ghana’s rising debt-to-GDP was projected to reach 104 percent by the end of this year.
This would represent an increase from 76.6 percent a year earlier, with the report attributing the development to the depreciation of the cedi, widening government deficit and rising debt service costs.
It further attributed Ghana losing its access to international capital markets as another contributing factor.
“Debt is expected to jump in Ghana to 104.6% of GDP, from 76.6% a year earlier amid a widened government deficit, massive weakening of the cedi, and rising debt service costs,” the report noted.
Inflation hits 33.9%, highest in 21 years:
In August 2022, GhanaWeb reported that Ghana’s consumer price inflation had hit a 21-year record high of 33.9%, according to the Ghana Statistical Service.
This means that prices of goods and services went up by 2.2% between July and August 2022.
July’s inflation stood at 31.7%. Government statistician Samuel Kobina Annim, who announced the rate on September 14, 2022, said for the first time in 2022, month-on-month inflation was 1.9%, the lowest this year.
This made it another of the infamous achievements under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government because, since the dawn of the fourth republic, no such inflation figures have been recorded before in the country.
Multiple reports have shown that in the history of Ghana’s fourth republic, the rates at which food prices have been increasing in recent years have been nothing as have been experienced before.
For instance, food vendors now sell one egg at GH¢2 compared to GH¢1 in 2021. The raw eggs on the shelves of provision shops are also being sold between GH¢1.20p and GH¢1.50p for one, whereas they were sold at 70 pesewas and 80 pesewas depending on size.
And those who sell cooked eggs with ground pepper, which is usually bought as a snack, also sell an egg at GH¢1.50p compared to GH¢1 previously.
“The profit I make initially has reduced significantly. I used to sell over 600 crates in a week and make a profit of GH¢2 on each crate. And now, because farmers are also complaining that their production cost has increased, they are unable to produce more for us, their clients. Presently, I sell about 500 eggs in a week,” a wholesaler at Mallam, Kuukua Krampah, told the B&FT in an interview.
The same situation has affected the prices of rice.
A 5-kilogram bag of rice now sells at almost GH¢80, GhanaWeb‘s checks have revealed. The alarming rate of the increase has been attributed to the increase in fuel prices and the rippling effects on transport fares.
During a market survey by GhanaWeb on August 15, 2022, Ama Amoabea, a seller of grains, including rice, beans, and other products at the Lapaz Newmarket, said the price of rice had increased from GH¢300cedis for 25kg, translating to GH¢60 for each 5kg bag.
“The foreign ones too are becoming expensive, it was 300 cedis at first, but it is 350 cedis and 400 cedis currently. They told us that since transportation fares have been increased, the prices of everything have increased as well, so they should reduce transportation so that we can also reduce the prices,” she said.
At the fuel pumps in 2022, Ghanaians are having to pay more than they have ever paid before. The prices of petroleum products have been soaring since the start of 2022, with petrol currently selling at GH¢11.55 per litre, while Diesel is selling at GH¢14.50 per litre across various pumps in the country.
It must be noted that in 2021, fuel prices at the pumps were at GH₵5, with the start of 2022 seeing the prices jump to GH₵6.
Public transport fares have also been affected by this, with all other forms of products and food items eventually being affected.
The government has admitted to the challenges in the economy but maintains it is a global phenomenon triggered by the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and exacerbated by the recent Russia and Ukraine war.