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20.02.2017 Feature Article

Akufo-Addo Appears To Be Listening; At Least For Now

President Nana Akufo-Addo
LISTEN FEB 20, 2017
President Nana Akufo-Addo

Populism is defined in its positive term as support for the concerns of the ordinary people or measures, mainly social ones aimed to address the needs of ordinary people, some dictionaries say; populism is politics that represents the interests and opinions of ordinary people. Nowadays the word populism is merely used to describe or even mock leaders of governments whose visionless and shortsighted policies create more problems for ordinary people than solving them and the desperate earlier decision of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led NPP government to use the Heritage Fund to finance Free Free SHS was just the latter definition of the word

According to petroleum act 815: 9% of petroleum revenues should be saved for the new generations, the generations yet to come. The savings mainly for whatever reason is deposited in offshore account, has become what is today known as the Heritage Fund

Deductively, we have 91% of petroleum revenues of which 70% goes into the annual budget while 21% will be saved to act as cushion in difficult times. In essence, the government of the day has 91% of the petroleum revenues all to itself, so, there is no 'justification' for the attempt to use the scanty 9%

The fund, a part savings of oil wealth is not entirely strange with Ghana, it may have different name[s], Norway has a fund like that with a whopping amount close to trillion dollars. Many countries, Saudi Arabia among them are on the record of either having or wanting to have a fund like that

So, that is point of reference, l mean, making judgement of how to use petroleum revenues by making reference to law governing how to use petroleum revenues

I was completely overwhelmed when Osarfo Marfo, the 'Senior Minister' annonced ealier that government had the intention to use Heritage Fund despite having great proportion of the revenues to itself

Now, it is a good thing that Ken Ofori-Atta, the minister of economy has come out to clear the air. In attempt to quell controversy that came on the heels of it, the minister declared that subsequently, government had decided not to lay its hands on the Fund

Well, some of us who are enthusiasts of the new NPP government established Diaspora Liaison, meant for those of us in the Diaspora irrespective of political party leaning; and if Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Republic of Ghana will continue to listen, then we will advise him that socialism - in the extreme extent becomes communism - has not worked for any country, the main reason why Soviet Union collapsed

Very rich countries like Britain and France for example with Free Free SHS, and to some degree practise a moderate form of socialism are up to their necks with the economic problems that normaly come with socialism. Not long ago, in Switzerland a 'citizen consultation' was conducted to seek approval to introduce social interventionist measure in which the state would pay 2600.00 euros monthly per citizen working or not and 600.00 per child. But the policy was rejected in referendum by the Swiss

Britain left the European Union because Free Free spendings in general to cover fundamental needs of citizens of poor EU countries like Bulgarian et Al, who flooded Britain after their successful incorporation into European Union

Ghana is a country known for quality education, the main reason the country witnesses the influx of foreign students mostly from African countries including Nigerian. The Free Free system is likely to be catalyst for exodus of foreign African nation citizens to Ghana

Am completely opposed to Free Free SHS not only because of experts' prediction that the Heritage Fund reserve when used to finance the policy wouldn't last the second academic year but flatly because the policy in its entirety is not sustainable

Already, there is government restrictions on intakes of teacher training colleges, police and military recruitments and several other state institutions and departments which would have readily employed the potential SHS graduates when they are churned out, a sharp contradiction in the policy itself

Even, international communities, especially our donor partners have openly expresed their doubt about sustainability of the policy and it was evidenced when Akufo-Addo went on BBC's Stephen Sackur, Hard Talk TV programme in 2012

From wisdom of ages, the best and most accurately populist social interventionist programme - the former definition - is to create a booming economy or enabling economically viable environment for people to make their own livings. In other words, if people are working, or have means of making money and the cost of life is affordable there will not be the need for Free Free SHS - a proverbial teaching to fish instead of fishing for the person - So over to the government for booming economy

On the other hand if the president, for that matter NPP government will dign to do the Free Free SHS policy then it would be better doing it the other way round: l mean through a social-worker system where vulnerable citizens will be identified and later subsidized by the state

Agobodzo, Richard
Contact : [email protected], or,
http://www.facebook.com/Agobodzo Richard

Richard Agobodzo
Richard Agobodzo, © 2017

The author has 44 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: RichardAgobodzo

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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