Government believes the fear of Ghanaians that it cannot afford to build 88 hospitals across the country as announced by the President is borne out of a recollection of the mismanagement of the economy by the Mahama administration.
According to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the economy under the previous administration suffered significant changes as a result of unbridled consumption expenditure leading to a major compromise of the country’s fiscal position and huge deficit recorded at the time.
President Nana Addo on Sunday announced plans by government to build 88 district hospitals and 6 Regional hospitals for the newly created regions within a year.
The disclosure by the President was met with various reactions with some economists and a large section of Ghanaians casting doubts on the financial ability of the country to build the hospitals.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah noted that resilience of the economy due to the efficient management of the current administration has positioned the economy to afford social interventions and reliefs for Ghanaians in the wake of the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
“Ghanaians believe that the concerns and things are borne out of our collective recollection that about some five-six years ago even without a global crisis, Ghana’s internal economy faced significant challenges mostly due to unbridled consumption expenditure and a major compromise of our fiscal position and the huge deficit we recorded at the time. The consequence was the need to rush for a financial bailout from the IMF to close to a billion dollars. The fund we will recall in exchange for the monies advanced at the time imposed severe conditionality’s including restrictions on public sector recruitment, curtailment on social spending and a curtailment of programs to alleviate the plight of the poor and vulnerable,” he said.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stated that the economy is presently resilient enough to cater for the major interventions in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 which include cut back on the cost of electricity and water for six months, allowances for health care workers, production and provision of Personal Protective Equipments amongst others.
“Our macro position has even significantly improved. The combined effect of the improved macro and fiscal position is what enables us today to afford the interventions which have been introduced as part of the COVID-19 response program.
He added that the Ministers of Health and Finance have been directed by the President to come out with modalities on the execution of the 88 districts and 6 Regional hospitals projects.