We can neither deny nor ignore the fact that under the erstwhile NDC administration, Ghana experienced massive economic meltdown which regrettably brought to pass harsh socio-economic standards of living.
Thus, it will be extremely difficult for any economist or government to reverse such mess within a shortest possible time.
Given the circumstances, the critics are far from right for asserting somewhat passionately that President Akufo-Addo has wilfully worsened the plight of Ghanaians since assuming power on 7th January 2017.
If for nothing at all, Akufo-Addo received massive commendations and endorsements from a host of international organisations and other prominent individuals leading to the 2020 general elections.
Take, for example, sometime in 2019, a video clip went ‘vile’ showing a Nigerian scholar, who happened to be a guest speaker at a forum organised by the leadership of the opposition NDC, candidly commending the Akufo-Addo government on Ghana’s auspicious economic growth, apparently, to the utter chagrin of his hosts (the NDC Executives), many of whom were extremely befuddled on the guest speaker’s unbelievable intellectual honesty.
The overarching question however is: Did the NDC loyalists really trust the judgement of the said knowledgeable and largely credible Nigerian academic?
Well, I am pretty sure they did; else they would not have invited him to speak on Ghana’s economy at their special gathering.
Interestingly, preceding the honest and erudite Nigerian’s endorsement of Ghana’s well-publicised propitious economic growth, were praises from some credible international organisations and influential people, both home and abroad. Indeed, but for the unspeakable coronavirus, Ghana’s economy would have been transformed tremendously.
Prior to the 2020 general elections, the reputable Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reported that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) was going to retain power in the 2020 general elections (see: ‘2020 election is yours to lose-EIU predicts NPP victory’; myjoyonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 15/09/2019).
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report concluded that former President John Dramani Mahama was going to find it extremely difficult to convince discerning Ghanaians into accepting that he is the preferable manager of Ghana’s economy, given his abysmal performance while in office and the country’s fairly strong economic growth under President Akufo-Addo.
The Economist Intelligence Unit could not have put it any better: Ghana is indeed heading towards a favourable economic growth under the NPP government.
In fact, before the deadly coronavirus, Akufo-Addo’s administration moved Ghana’s economic growth from a disappointing 3.4% in December 2016 to a favourable 8.6%.
And the previously double digit inflation (15.8 in December 2016) was reduced drastically to around 7.5%.
Truly, the EIU was extremely charitable to former President Mahama for failing to make it clear that NDC would have stood a better chance in 2020 if the party Delegates had elected a different flagbearer.
Since assuming power on 7th January 2017, the Akufo-Addo’s government has rolled out numerous social intervention programmes and policies such as the One District One Factory, One Constituency One Million, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Expert and Rural Development, Free SHS, One Village One Dam in the Northern Regions, National Builders Corp (NABCO), amongst others.
The vast majority of Ghanaians, in fact, have benefited immensely from the implementation of the aforesaid programmes and policies. So it is somewhat fallacious for the sceptics to assert that the thriving economy is not reflecting in the pockets of Ghanaians.
Let us remind ourselves that since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution, the successive NPP governments have introduced numerous interventions such as the Free Maternal Care, the NHIS, the Metro Mass Transport, the School Feeding Programme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and the Free SHS, amongst others.
Take, for example, upon taking office, the Akufo-Addo government took pragmatic steps and restored the Nurses and Teachers Allowances which were regrettably cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
So do the economic experts want to tell us that such interventions aren’t reflecting in the pockets of the Nurses and Teachers?
In addition, the Akufo-Addo’s government has judiciously distributed the national resources in the form of Free SHS, which has paved way for more than 400,000 children a year, including the over 190,000 children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to enter senior high school.
There is no gainsaying the fact that parents are reaping tremendous benefits from the Free SHS policy.
It is, anticipated that the government will spend not less than GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student.
In effect, parents with three children in SHS will be pocketing not less than GH16598.49 over three years.
So how can any economist convince some of us, who are mere plebes when it comes to economics that the Free SHS scheme is not reflecting in the lives of Ghanaian parents?
Given the fact that the erstwhile Mahama’s administration wilfully left behind massive debt amidst economic meltdown, it was, indeed, commendable for Akufo-Addo’s government to afford to implement the seemingly admirable, albeit costly social intervention such as Free SHS.
It was, also quite estimable for the incumbent NPP administration to relieve Ghanaians of over eighteen nuisance taxes which had hitherto crippled businesses.
The sensitive Akufo-Addo government commendably slashed the import taxes (30% on cars and 50% on goods) to the utter delight of importers, and Ghanaians as a whole.
Suffice it to emphasise that since the announcement of the reductions of benchmark values, some beneficiaries have attested to considerable discounts.
Take, for example, we have been informed by some credible sources that following the announcement, the duty on a Toyota Corolla saloon car has been reduced from GH22, 000 to GH15, 000.
Obviously, there is a considerable discount of GH7000. Isn’t this money going into a Ghanaian pocket?
We also heard another importer narrating how he previously paid GH14000 duty on a certain saloon car and only paid GH9500 after the announcement.
Dearest reader, is this individual not pocketing GH4500 because of good governance?
Obviously, the lives of Ghanaians are being transformed steadily through many pragmatic interventions, such as tax reductions (including import taxes), favourable economic growth, low inflation, and gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others.
It is based on such commendable achievements that some of us cannot buy the isolated thinker’s view that the Akufo-Addo’s administration is not doing enough, as ‘the fairly stable economy is not reflecting in the lives of Ghanaians’.
In any case, it beggars belief that despite the wanton corruption, the arrogance of power and the crass incompetence exhibited by the erstwhile Mahama administration which resulted in massive economic collapse, the NDC faithful could still muster the courage to chastise Akufo-Addo and clamour inexorably for the return of former President Mahama.
Considering the conspicuous rot in the Mahama’s administration, some of us cannot help but to giggle over the NDC loyalists renewed zeal to return to power so soon.
It is, indeed, baffling to see the brassbound supporters of NDC moving heaven and earth to reclaim power after being voted out of office by discerning Ghanaians for the dreadful errors in judgement which brought about massive economic mess.
We, however, hope and pray that Ghanaians will miraculously overcome their perceived beguiling, albeit harmful memory loss so as to hold NDC accountable for the errors of judgement which unfortunately brought the country to its knees.
Believe it or not, discerning Ghanaians cannot forgive and forget Ibrahim Mahama’s GH12 million alleged import tax evasion.
Indeed, but for the Honourable Agyapong’s whistling blowing prowess, Ghana would have been GH12 million worse off.
Ghanaians should not relent in their efforts to take Mahama and NDC to task for woefully dragging the 14% economic growth in 2011 to a disappointing 3.4% in December 2016.
Shouldn’t Ghanaians hold NDC to account for wilfully raising Ghana’s debt from GH9.5 billion in 2009 to an incredible GH122.4 billion by December 2016 with a little to show for?
Let us be honest, the National Democratic Congress cannot exonerate itself from the blame for collapsing Ghana’s currency beyond redemption. In December 2011, the exchange rate was GH1.65 to $1.
Regrettably, however, due to dreadful economic decision-making, within five years the exchange rate took an unbelievable flight and stood at GH4.20 to $1 by December 2016.
The good people of Ghana cannot so soon forget and forgive former President Mahama and NDC for the business crippling dumsor in the last five years of the erstwhile NDC administration.
Ghanaians cannot so soon forget that Mahama and his NDC government shrunk the GDP from $47 billion in 2011 to $40 billion by December 2016.
Trust me, not every Ghanaian has forgotten and forgiven Mahama and NDC for carelessly giving out large portions of Ghana’s scarce resources to parasitic creatures like Madam Akua Donkor.
Ghanaians cannot forgive Mahama for unjustifiably wasting Ghana’s scarce resources on apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) of two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done.
Truly, no one can fault Ghanaians for holding Mahama and NDC responsible for egregiously giving away 58% of Ghana’s bauxite to Ibrahim Mahama on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week before exiting power.
Discerning Ghanaians cannot so soon forget the over GH800 million dubious judgment debt payments, including the GH51.2 million to Woyome, $30 million to the Waterville and $325,000 to Isofoton which resulted in the drastic reduction of capital expenditure, and as a consequence, most contractors were not paid by the erstwhile NDC administration.
Besides, the $175 million loan facility secured in 2012 meant to provide seven district hospitals which the NDC hierarchy misapplied is still fresh in the memories of Ghanaians.
Ghanaians should continue to hold Mahama and NDC accountable for clandestinely diverting $6 million of a government loan facility of $175 million meant to provide seven district hospitals into researching the then governing NDC’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections.
If we do the arithmetic of the $175 million loan facility which was supposed to provide seven district hospitals, each hospital should have cost us $25 million.
The all-important question then is: where is the rest of the $175 million loan facility?
How can we advance as a nation when some shameless individuals keep hiding behind party coloration, devoid of patriotism and disgustingly squandering our scarce resources to the detriment of the poor and disadvantage Ghanaians?
Dearest reader, tell me, if the wanton bribery and corruption, the stashing of national funds by some greedy opportunists , the misappropriation of resources and the crude embezzlement of funds meant for developmental projects by some public officials do not warrant criminal charges, then where are we heading as a nation?
In fact, Ghanaians shouldn’t let go the sadness over the GH200 million SADA funds wasted on trees and the guinea fowls which shockingly flew to the neighbouring Burkina Faso without a trace. How bizarre?
Who says discerning Ghanaians will so soon forget the scandalous Bus Branding, the Brazil World Cup, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, the NDC MPs double salary, amongst others?
Since the birth of Ghana’s Fourth Republic (from 1993 to present), the nation has regrettably lost billions of dollars meant for developmental projects through unbridled bribery and corruption.
In ending, Ghanaians will definitely shrug off the chronic amnesia and ventilate their arousing disgust over NDC’s dreadful errors in decision-making which culminated in harsh socio-economic standards of living.
K. Badu, UK.