Monday, May 17


Election years have always been characterized by high euphoria and this year’s election is no exception. Election 2020 is a special kind of election in the history of Ghana since the inception of the 4th republic in 1992. Why is this the case? It is so, because, this is the first time in Ghana’s political history that a former president is contesting an incumbent. Since the presidential candidates from the two major political parties; the NPP and NDC, have had the chance to govern this country for at least a term each (4 years), it is clear that the outcome of the 2020 elections will be determined to a large extent by credibility and track record.

Nananomics & Mahamanomics, therefore, take a look at the major achievements of the two candidates; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP and Former President John Dramani Mahama of the biggest opposition NDC in their first terms of office.



Macro-economic indicators are very important in assessing the health of every economy. Thus, analyses of certain key macro-economic variables over the past eight years of the two candidates (4years each) is critical. This is aimed at providing a clear picture of the state of the Ghanaian economy under the watch of these two competitors.


Under Nananomics, Ghana’s economic growth prospects looked bright and promising before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that real GDP growth will average 5.5% between 2017 and 2020. Real GDP growth was 8.1% in 2017 but declined to 6.3% in 2018 before picking up marginally to end 2019 at 6.5%. As a result of the devastating effects of the current pandemic, growth is projected by the Fund at 0.9% in 2020. However, the economy contracted by 3.2% in Q2 2020.

However, real GDP growth averaged 4.7 % between 2013 and 2016 under Mahamanomics. From a high of 7.3% in 2013, GDP growth continually declined within the 4 years to 3.7% in 2016. Real GDP growth was 4.0% and 3.8% in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Sectoral value addition & contribution

GDP growth in the Ghanaian economy continues to be driven mainly by three major sectors; Agriculture, Industry, and services.

Under Nananomics, between 2017 and 2019, the highest gross value addition of 15.7% was recorded in the industry sector in 2017.  It, however, continued to experience a nose dive as it reduced to 10.6% in 2018 before declining further to 4.6% in 2019. Value addition to agriculture which saw a rise to 6.1% in 2017 from 2.9% in 2016, has fallen to 4.6% in 2019. The services sector continues to expand in value addition as it rose from 3.3% in 2017 to 6.5% in 2019.

With regards to the sectoral contributions to GDP; the services sector continues its dominance with the sector’s contribution rising from 45.6% in 2017 to 47.2% in 2019. Also, the contribution of the industry has increased from 33.2% in 2017 to 34.2% in 2019 while agriculture’s contribution continues to decline from 21.2% in 2017 to 18.5% in 2019.

Figure 1 Gross Value Added Growth Rate by Sector (%)

pic 1 page 001Source: Ghana Statistical Service

Under Mahamanomics, the value-added figures are unavailable for 2013 since the rebasing of the country’s GDP was done in that year. Therefore, 2013 serves as the base year for the analyses under value addition. Between 2014 and 2016, data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows that the services sector recorded the highest value addition of 5.4 % in 2014. This, however, could not be sustained as it dropped to 2.8% in 2016. Gross value added in the agriculture sector increased from 0.9% in 2014 to 2.9% in 2016.

As shown in figure 1, the industry also experienced an increment in value addition to 4.3% having stagnated between 2014 and 2015.  Within this period, the services sector’s contribution to GDP rose from 41.1% in 2013 to 46.7% in 2016. Industry’s contribution decreased from 36.9% in 2013 to 30.6% in 2016. Agriculture’s contribution, however, declined marginally from 21.7% in 2013 to 22.1% for three consecutive years; 2014, 2015, and 2016.


Under Nananomics, inflation averaged 9.8% between 2017 and 2019 Thus, declining from 12.4% in 2017 to 9.8% in 2018 and then fall further to 7.2% in 2019. Inflation as of October 2020 stood at 10.1% but the IMF forecasts 2020 inflation at 10.6%.

For Mahamanomics, the average inflation for the period between 2013 and 2016 was 15.5%. Inflation saw a rising trajectory within this period, increasing from 11.7% in 2013 to 17.5% in 2016. Inflation rate for 2014 and 2015 were 15.5% and 17.2% respectively.

Governance and Accountability

Given recent scandals, corruption is expected to feature prominently in electoral debates during the upcoming elections in 2020”Transparency International.

Known as a beacon of democracy in West Africa, Ghana dropped 6 points on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) since 2013, moving from 46 in 2013 to 41 in 2019. The murder of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale in early 2019 cast serious doubts on the country’s anti-corruption efforts.

Figure 2 Corruption Perception Index

pic 2 page 001Source: Transparency International

 Ghana has scored low marks on the corruption perception index over the past three years. In 2017, the Office of the Special Prosecutor was established, which has the power to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. In 2019, a right to information bill was also passed. These efforts, according to Transparency International (TI), combined with the enhanced performance of the Auditor General’s office, offered hope for improvement. However, the resignation of the Special prosecutor and other related issues unfolding may affect the country’s subsequent scores.

Ghana’s CPI scores dropped from 46 in 2013 to 43 in 2016. Revelations of bribery in Ghana’s high court in 2015 is one of the major issues that dent the image of the country as far as the fight against corruption was concerned. Data presented in Figure 2 shows that the country dropped 3 points under the NDC.

Akuffo addoNPP Presidential Candidate, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo


There’s a further look at other major policies and programs rolled out by the two major political parties under their first term administrations as presidents. Only selected programs under some key sectors were considered.  Under health, the analyses were categorized into two; health infrastructure development and the policies to maintain or remodify NHIS to make healthcare accessible to the ordinary Ghanaian.



The NPP has supplied over 300 Ambulances to the National Ambulance Authority (NAS), one in every Constituency, under the “One-Constituency, One Ambulance” initiative. NAS was also provided with a state of the art, digitized Command Centre to field emergency calls and to dispatch ambulances.

Also, the NPP introduced drones in the distribution of blood and medicines. Four medical drone centers were established and operational in Omenako, Mampong, Walewale, and Sefwi Wiawso. As of the end of June 2020, 79,800 medical products have been delivered to 945 health facilities of the service range of the drone centers. Also, drones have delivered over 2,500 COVID-19 samples to testing centers in Accra (Noguchi) and Kumasi (KCCR).

Under the John Mahama-led administration, the NDC established the National Ambulance Service Training School and Trained over 500 Emergency Medical Technicians. The administration also increased the number of Health Training Institutions to 95 in 2015 as well as increased the number of Licensed Midwives from 500 in 2009 to over 2,000 in 2015.

The NDC has boasted of several major investments in the development of health infrastructure. Some of which were made in the Teaching Hospitals including the expansion of 400-bed Tamale Teaching Hospital to an 800-bed facility; Construction of 617-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital; Construction of new modern Emergency Department for the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital; Refurbishment of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the Department of Surgery at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital; Refurbishment of the Operating Theatre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital; and Completion of the Eye Care Centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi

The NDC also rolled out a US$264 million initiative to ensure the provision of critical diagnostic and treatment equipment for over 150 hospitals nationwide under the National Medical Equipment Replacement Program.



The introduction of the NHIS in Ghana in 2003, during the Kufuor’s administration, has significantly contributed to improved health services utilization and health outcomes. However, stagnating active membership, reports of poor quality health care rendered to NHIS-insured clients, and cost escalations have raised concerns on the operational and financial sustainability of the scheme.

Furthering the course of activities in the Nana Addo’s administration, the NPP has initiated the Digitization of the renewal of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Membership. All NHIS members can now renew their membership using their mobile phones.

The NPP stated in their manifesto that the number of NHIS subscriptions have increased from 10.6 million to 12.2 million since they took office.  Additionally, NHIS arrears have been reduced from 12 months to 3 months making the scheme sustainable.

Under the John Mahama administration, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) paid an unprecedented GH¢1.073 billion in claims in 2014 as compared to GH¢748 million in 2013, GH¢362 million in 2009, and GH¢7.6 million in 2005.

The NDC also indicated in its 2016 manifesto that it had increased the out-patient utilization of the NHIS from 9.3 million in 2008 to 29.6 million in 2015; Increased claims payment from GH¢183 Million in 2008 to GH¢1,073 billion in 2014; and also established new Claims Processing Centers at Tamale, Cape Coast, and Kumasi.

jOHN Dramani MahamaNDC Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama


The major program rolled out by the NPP government led by H.E. President NANA ADDO DANKWAH AKUFO ADDO in his first term at the presidency was the “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).”

The “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)” is being executed through five modules: “Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ)”, “Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD)”, the Food Crops component, Greenhouse Villages, and the Agricultural Mechanization Centers.”

The NPP revealed in its 2020 Manifesto that the success of PFJ has led to increased farmer participation from 202,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2019.

According to the NPP, the PFJ has led to an increase in the national production of maize by 71%. Maize production has increased from 1.7 million MT in 2016 to 2.9 million MT in 2019. On the other hand, paddy rice has also increased from 688,000 MT in 2016 to 925,000 MT in 2019. This represents an increase of 34%.

The Global Food Security Index, which measures affordability, availability, and quality of food across 113 countries, placed Ghana in 59th position in 2019 up from 79th position in 2018. The same Index placed Ghana in 3rd position in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa and Botswana

Under RFJ; 30,000 cockerels have been distributed to 3,000 farmers in selected regions for crossing with local hens to improve weight and egg-laying rate. A total of 7,500 small ruminants were also distributed to 750 farmers

Under the “Planting for Food and Jobs” Programs, the Ghana Commodity Exchange has been established and the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) has also been reactivated.

The NDC in its 2012 Manifesto, promised among other things, to promote agriculture modernization and to transform the rural economy. The objective was to ensure food security and increased production of cash crops.

Recounting its achievements, the NDC stated in its 2016 manifesto that Local rice production had increased from 301,900 metric tonnes in 2008 to 604,041 metric tonnes in 2014. This according to the NDC helped Ghana attain 56% self-sufficiency in rice production and reduced the rice import bill by 45%, from US$392.3m in 2013 to US$215.23m in 2014.

Supply of 40 incubators to 40 districts in the Northern, Upper West, and Upper East Regions to facilitate access to day-old Guinea fowl keets through the West African Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) II.

Furthermore, the NDC asserted that 250 greenhouses were imported under the WAAPP II and distributed to farmers to enhance protected vegetable production. Also, 1,600 superior Guinea fowl keels were supplied to women and youth in the Upper East, Upper West, and Northern Regions under the first phase of the Credit-In-Kind Programme.

Under the Livestock Development Project (LDP), 40,800 small ruminants (sheep and goats) were supplied to 4,500 farmers in 35 districts in seven regions; Under the pilot phase of the Ghana Broiler Revitalization Project launched in July 2014, 650,000 birds were raised, processed and sold by 2015.


We must admit that there are several programs and interventions rolled out by both the NPP and the NDC in the past 8 years under the two administrations. However, the analyses focused on some key policy interventions, especially at the SHS level, and also touched on infrastructural development within the education sector.

Before the 2016 elections, the presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo Addo promised to implement the “Free SHS” Policy.

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who launched the Free Senior High School policy on Tuesday, 12th September 2017, described the program as a means to create a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.

At the ceremony at the West Africa Senior High School, President Akufo-Addo noted that he made the Free SHS pledge “because I know that knowledge and talent are not for the rich and privileged alone and that free education widens the gates of opportunities to every child, especially those whose talents are arrested because of poverty.”

“The cost of providing free secondary school education will be cheaper than the cost of the alternative of an uneducated and unskilled workforce that can retard our development. Leadership is about Choices- I have chosen to invest in the future of our youth and our country”, he said.

The NPP avers that the current enrolment stands at 1,199,750 students from 2017 to 2019. 52.1% of all these students are male and 47.9% female. The policy is not limited to arts, business, and science subjects: it also covers Technical, Vocational, and Education Training (TVET).

In the area of infrastructure, the NPP states that 163 Kindergartens have been awarded for construction out of which 77 have been completed to date

The NPP also notes that it has completed the construction and commissioning of Phase I of the Somanya campus of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) for which sod was cut in December 2016 by the outgoing Mahama led NDC government. Also, the NPP stated that it has secured funding for Phase II of the campus and cut the sod for construction to commence. The party further points out that it has increased the capitation grant by 122% from GH¢4.5 per pupil to GH¢10 per pupil for Primary Schools.

The NDC moreover stated in its 2016 manifesto that it had introduced social interventions in the education sector including the implementation of the progressively free SHS program, scholarships for over 10,000 Senior High School (SHS) students, free school uniforms, free exercise books, and free sandals for school children. They also intimated that they expanded the school-feeding program, thus reducing the direct and indirect cost barriers to parents, and that had allowed for improved attendance rates in the education system.

The NDC further noted that it passed the Colleges of Education Act, 2012 (Act 847) to upgrade Teacher Training Colleges to Tertiary institutions under the Teacher First Agenda.  Abolished the quota system in the Colleges of Education allowing for all 38 public Colleges of Education to admit at full capacity. Provided free laptop computers to over 50,000 teachers since 2013.

The party further revealed that it had commenced the construction of 123 out of the planned 200 Community Senior High Schools with ongoing commissioning of completed ones.  It also implemented the Progressively Free Senior High School Program in line with Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution and quadrupled Feeding Program from about 440,000 in 2008 to 1.7 million in 2014.


The 1D1F initiative is one of the major policy decisions of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration. It is part of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government's industrialization agenda to propel Ghana from being an import-dependent economy to an industrial economy to boost local production of goods to create employment and drive growth. Per the NPP's Election 2016 manifesto, "it will implement the 1D1F in collaboration with the private sector to ensure an even and spatial spread of industries".

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kyerematen, said whilst speaking at the Nation Building Updates series in Accra that the 1D1F initiative of the government has created close to 140,000 jobs. He stated that of the number, 18,811 were direct jobs, while 120,520 were indirect jobs.

The current data from the Ministry of Trade and Industries as of 25th November 2020 shows that the total number of IDIF projects are 232. Mr. Kyerematen giving a breakdown of the projects said 76 companies were currently operating, 107 projects were under construction, 36 were under the mobilization stage, with 13 more in the pipeline. Out of the 232 projects, he explained, 64 were existing companies that were revived or given support to revamp their operations, with 168 being new companies.

 The NDC stated that its industrial development strategy during the first 4 years under John Mahama aimed at linking industrialization to Ghana’s natural endowments in agriculture, oil and gas, minerals, and tourism.

This strategy, according to the NDC recorded significant achievements including the establishment of the following: Komenda Sugar factory, Kumasi Shoe factory, Ghana Gas Processing Plant, Atuabo; Volta Star Textiles, Juapong; Savannah Cement Factory, Buipe; Ceramics Manufacturing, Eshiem; Revamped Tema Oil Refinery and BOST Company.

Considering the various economic policies implemented under the two administrations, it is worthy to note that their previous performances can attest to their ability to perform in the next four-year mandate they seek from Ghanaians. Thus, without casting our minds in the shadows but having evidence of previous performances, Nananomics and Mahanomics policies provide the platform for better assessment of the two candidates for December 7, 2020. These are some of the things the two candidates competing, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and John Dramani Mahama, have done in their first terms of office. Therefore, whoever wins this year’s election is the one whose leadership has been appreciated by the majority of Ghanaians during his first term as the president of the nation.

Ex-ante Assessment of the ‘CARES’ Program with Dr. Said Boakye

The 2020 mid-year budget statement presented by the Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, announced a very ambitious programme, The COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES) program to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians as well as to ensure Ghanaians quickly emerge from the pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy.

Under The CARES Program, the government plans to invest GH¢100 billion into the Ghanaian economy over the next three and half years.

In analyzing the critical success of the initiative, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Dr. Said Boakye believes the amount in question (GH¢100 billion) is too huge and doubts the government has the capacity to raise the said amount. He, therefore, suggested that government should pursue something more moderate.


 “I agree that the government has to do something but I don’t think GH¢100 billion is the way to go. Government should pursue something moderate so that over time they can increase it… it’s a very huge amount of money and the sources of funding are not that convincing for now.

“… Where will the money come from? The biggest component is to come from the private sector, about 70% or GH¢70 billion… The same private sector you are going to help be on its feet are the people going to support you with GH¢70 billion? So, I’m finding it difficult to see how they can attract that GH¢70 billion from the private sector.”

The feasibility of the CARES Program

The announcement of The CARES program threw many Ghanaians into disarray as to where the funding was going to come from. Considering the economic woes facing various countries across the globe, raising such an amount on the international market looks bleak.

Picture 1 Dr. Said Boakye                    Dr. Said Boakye, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) 

The feasibility of the program, according to Dr. Boakye, is difficult to determine since the full details of the program are yet to be disclosed.

He however, raised red flags questioning the possibility of the government’s ability to raise the said amount if it considers to do that internally or on the foreign market.

It’s very difficult to conclude that it’s feasible or not in the sense that I have not seen the details. But I’m raising red flags about the sources of funding; I find it difficult to understand where they will come from. Domestic private sector rather needs help and for foreigners you need certain things to attract them. And so far, attracting GH¢70 billion, if you look at our record, it’s not so easy…”

 Ghana’s attractiveness to investors

Currently, the pandemic can be said to have had its devastating activities on everyone including the investors government is trying to attract and those investors are now having a rethinking of how and where to invest.

Dr. Boakye noted that many people are coiling because they are afraid and do not know when the pandemic will be over.

“So, if you assume that the pandemic will be over and perhaps it lasts a bit longer, then you will be the loser. But, if investors believe that the pandemic is going to be over very soon, perhaps businesses will also try thinking of investing. But the question is, how attractive is it to invest in Ghana?”

The Senior Research fellow also revealed that investors do not just invest but they consider certain macro-economic fundamentals in the country before making the decision to invest in such countries.

The first thing investors look at is the government finances.  Government finances, that is the foundation of the entire economy. For instance, if the government finances are such that deficits are always high, you realize that it will have macroeconomic impact – macroeconomic instability -- and investors are not going to invest in such countries.  Thus, if the government is not able to attract foreign investors, it will mean that the government may also be borrowing from the financial system taking the money that private sector will need.

But the sad news is that even before the COVID hit, the government finances were in a very poor state and the pandemic has worsened it. So, I’m still finding it very difficult to see how the government will be able to attract GH¢70 billion from the external sources.

Raising tax to GDP ratio– Realistic?

The Finance Minister in his mid-year budget presentation revealed that government was putting policies and reforms in place to raise the tax-to-GDP ratio from the current level of 13 percent to 20 percent by 2023.

This, he said, formed part of the measures the government was putting in place to raise revenues for the other developmental projects under the CARES program.

However, looking at the current situation in the country where businesses and households are struggling for survival, the question that comes to mind is whether this target is realistic.

The IFS Senior Research Fellow, said this target was not realistic looking at the past trends in revenue mobilization over the years.

He suggested that the projections for revenue growth in 2021 is also very marginal and such based on the past records of the current government with regards to revenue mobilization, it is not possible to meet this target.


Based on what they have been doing in the past; the behavior of the current government since they came to power, and even if I’m to expand on that– in 2009 to 2012 revenue growth was 31.5%; then this amount decreased to 19.6% in 2013 to 2016; and from 2017 to 2019, it decreased further to 16.7% as average. In fact, if you even include 2020, it’s 12.7% including the projected revenue for 2020 as average. Imagine 31.5% average growth in 2009 to 2012 and it has decreased to 12.7%. If you look at government projection for next year, revenue growth is also going to be very marginal. From GH¢53 billion, the government is projecting about over GH¢56 billion which is a very marginal increment. So, you do not see where the money will come from.


“But the Government is arguing that they are going to get money from property tax. I have not done assessment as to how much they can raise from property tax. That is why I started by saying perhaps they are stepping on something I do not know. So, let us see if they are going to use a different methodology and will be more aggressive in taxing properties.  The Vice President was, for instance, saying, they are going to digitally tag every property in the country so that they know everything. I do not know how much will come in and if this will bring in the money, then good. But with this historical record, I will say no.”

Time to fall on extractive resources for development

Considering the severe fiscal strains on the Ghanaian economy which has been worsened by COVID-19, businesses and households have also been severely affected. Lives and livelihoods are threatened, jobs are lost and above all, lives have been lost.

The reduction in incomes for households and profitability of businesses means taxation will be a very bitter pill to swallow at this time. It has therefore become very important to consider how well government can raise revenues without putting much strain on the people it seeks to support.

According to the economist, he believes, this is the time the government can fall on the extractive resources that God has blessed this country with.

He suggested that the extraction of these resources could raise the much-needed revenues for development rather than always taxing the citizens. He cited a number of countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Botswana, which have raised large amounts of government revenues from their extractive resource.

Therefore, these countries over the years have relied on extractive resources for development, achieving high levels of per-capita national incomes. He expressed the worry about how we allow foreigners to extract our resources and only give paltry sum in return.


“ I have been selling this idea and of course the government knows. Do you know that in this country, and of course almost everywhere, that extractive resources belong to the public?


The gold in the ground, the oil in the ground; they are all government properties. And if they belong to the public, and you the government is the one to use them, you have to be more interested in the revenues which naturally belongs to you. Taxation means taking money from the private sector.  If you tax the private sector too much, you are killing it, because it’s the transfer of money from one economic agent to another economic agent. And we know that the private sector is always more efficient in utilizing money. And you are transferring it to government which is usually less efficient.



Some revenue from taxation to the government when moderately and appropriately done is important because of the need for public goods. But you don’t tax so much money from the private sector. My concern is what about the resources that belong to the government?

“… So, the solution is that, the government should concentrate on the extractive sector. I keep on repeating, you cannot allow foreign investors to come and tap your resources and take the lion’s share away, and you get pennies out of it and your target is the private sector. It’s just illogical to me.”


Ghana ripe for IFSC?

A key pillar of the CARES program is to make Ghana a regional financial hub by establishing an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

However, looking at the country’s financial sector, it raises major concerns as to whether Ghana has what it takes to achieve this within the stipulated time. 

According to Dr. Boakye, merely establishing a financial center is not what will make Ghana a financial hub. He revealed that other factors needed to be considered as well to attain such a dream.

You can have a good and attractive financial sector not necessarily because you have established a financial center but because there is so much trust in your economy.”

He revealed factors such as “Your macroeconomic environment has been stable for a long time, your fiscal position has been strong, your monetary management is good, then the real sector is picking up.

“Based on this, people will then say, look at Ghana, it’s been managed well. When people feel this way, it is then that when you have the center, they will trust you and use your country as their financial intermediation center. But just merely establishing a center is not the solution. I will not tell them not to establish this, but I will say they have to improve upon the economic management of the country.”

The economic pundit, in concluding, advised the government to be efficient in spending and in resources allocation despite the fact that 2020 is an election year, with already high deficits which is compounded by a pandemic.

This, he believes, will reduce the deficit and bring government back on track in her quest to build a stronger and a more resilient economy within the next 3 years.

He further added that drawing from the experiences of previous policies, the government should be careful with respect to the steps it takes towards the delivery of this new policy– Ghana CARES program.

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