As Ghana gears up for another presidential and parliamentary election in December 2024, the Vice President and flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in a national address is making a case as to why he is the best person to lead the country.

Speaking on the theme: “Ghana’s next chapter: selfless leadership and bold solutions for the future” on February 7, 2024, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia shared some reflections on the performance of the economy.

This fact-check report seeks to verify some of the claims made in the speech.

Claim 1

“The fiscal deficit which was reduced from 8.4% in 2016 to 4.1% by 2019 increased to 10.8% in 2020,” the Vice President said.


Our checks show the claim is inaccurate.

The International Monetary Fund’s staff report for the 2017 Article IV consultation shows Ghana recorded a 9.3% fiscal deficit at the end of 2016. “The cash-based fiscal deficit turned out at 9.3 percent of GDP in 2016 relative to the program target of 5.2 percent of GDP, reflecting broad-based revenue underperformance and significant expenditure overruns,” the IMF report said.

Checks from Ghana’s 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy also show overall budget deficit for 2016 was 8.7% of GDP and not 8.4% as suggested by the Vice President.

In 2019, Ghana recorded a fiscal deficit of 4.7%, according to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). “The headline fiscal deficit was 4.7 percent of GDP in 2019, while the overall fiscal deficit, including financial and energy sector costs, reached 7 percent of GDP,” the GRA 2019 annual report indicated.

The following year, the Bank of Ghana indicated Ghana had recorded a 10.8% fiscal deficit for the first eleven months of 2020. But the 2021 Budget Statement revealed that “the overall budget deficit on cash basis [in 2020] was 11.7 percent of GDP against a revised target of 11.4 percent of GDP.”

Further checks show a report published by the International Monetary Fund on July 23, 2021, pegged Ghana’s overall fiscal deficit at 15.2 percent in 2020.

“The pandemic shock contributed to the 2020 deficit increase. the overall fiscal deficit of 15.2 percent of GDP represents a deviation of 8.8 percent of GDP relative to staff’s projections based on the initial 2020 (pre-COVID) budget, due to a revenue shortfall of 3.1 percent of GDP, driven by the growth slowdown, and an expenditure increase of 5.7 percent of GDP,” the IMF said.

The IMF explained that the government’s response mitigated the economic impact of COVID-19, but contributed to a record fiscal deficit in 2020. “Unprecedented fiscal and monetary support helped cushion the impact on economic activity. However, the policy response contributed to a record fiscal deficit of 15.2 percent of GDP in 2020, plus 2.1 percent of GDP in arrears-financed spending.”


The claim is rated false.

Claim 2

“The government reduced infant mortality per 1000 live births from 37.9 in 2016 to 32.6 in 2022.”


Information on infant and child mortality is an important indicator of a country’s socioeconomic development and people’s quality of life.

Data from the World Bank shows that infant mortality in Ghana has been on a decline since 1960. From recording 124 deaths per 1000 live births in 1960, 38 deaths per 1000 live births in 2016, and 33 deaths per 1000 live births in 2021.

Further research showed that in 2022, the Ghana Statistical Service Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (see pages 137 and 138) revealed the country recorded 28 deaths per 1000 lives for infant mortality.

Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2022


The claim is rated false

Claim 3

“Industrial GDP growth also followed a similar trend. After averaging 3.3% between 2013 and 2016, industrial growth increased to an average of 7.5% between 2017 and 2020. Industrial Growth however declined after the global crisis with a recorded average growth rate of 5% between 2017 and 2022.”


The basic principle of comparability demands that one ensures cases being compared are similar enough to draw meaningful conclusions.  This makes the comparison by the Vice President problematic since he seeks to compare the average industrial growth rate in the second term of the NDC to that of the NPP’s first and second terms.

But that not withstanding, we calculated Ghana’s average industry growth rate between 2013 and 2016 and compared it to the average rate between 2017 and 2020.

Year Industry growth rate
2013 9.1
2014 1.1
2015 1.2
2016 4.3
Average 3.9

 Source: GSS


Year Industry growth rate
2017 15.7
2018 10.6
2019 6.4
2020 -2.5
Average 7.5

 Source: GSS

Data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show that in 2013, there was an industry growth rate of 9.1%, 1.1% in 2014, 1.2% in 2015, and 4.3% in 2016. To find the average, GhanaFact added the values, divided by the number of years, to find a total percentage of 3.9%.

Also, we struck the average growth rate for 2017 (15.7%), 2018 (10.5%), 2019 (6.4%), and 2020 (-2.5) and the answer was 7.5%.

So, while the Vice President was accurate in striking the average rate for the NPP’s first term in office, he understated the average rate for the NDC’s first term in office. This notwithstanding the variables used in this comparison makes it misleading.


The claim is misleading.

Claim 4

“The debt to GDP ratio, after increasing from 61.2% in 2019 to 76.6% in 2021 has declined to 66.4% in 2023.”


According to the 2019 annual public debt report by the Ministry of Finance, as of December 2019, the total gross public debt outstanding stood at GH¢217,990.7 million at a percentage of 63.0%, up from 57.6 percent at the end of December 2018.

Data from the World Bank shows that public debt rose from 76.7% in 2021 to nearly 90% of GDP in 2022, as debt service-to-revenue reached 117.6% in 2022.

Also, the Summary of Economic and Financial Data by the Bank of Ghana (the latest) in November 2023 indicated that Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 66.4% as of September 2023.

However, the International Monetary Fund in its first review of the arrangement under the extended credit facility published on January 19, 2024, concludes that Ghana remains in debt distress and that our debt situation is “unsustainable.”


The claim is rated misleading.

Claim 5
“We have increased the total number of public libraries from 61 in 2017 to 115 by 2023”


To fact-check this claim, GhanaFact will use data from the website of the Ghana Library Authority and the 2024 budget presented to the Parliament of Ghana by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

GhanaFact used the location finder, a tool on the website of the Ghana Library Authority, that lists the location of each library in the country per region and found a total number of 116 libraries listed and not 115.

Furthermore, the 2024 budget statement read in Parliament on November 15, 2023, indicated the completion of new library complexes across the nation, thus making the total number of libraries in the country 120 (see page 137).

GhanaFact found the figures shared by the Ghana Library Authority, the Ministry of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Vice President to be conflicting and inconsistent.


The claim is rated as Inconsistent.

Researched by GhanaFact Newsroom