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12.06.2017 Opinion

NDC - 25 Years Of Effort And Achievement

Ohenenana Obonto Krow
Opinion File Photo
JUN 12, 2017 OPINION

Most of us will remember the twenty-five ( 25) years of the NDC's existence in different ways. But, perhaps, the most noteworthy event was the transformation of the PNDC into a political organisation (NDC) which has become an additional instrument for furthering the objectives and ideals of June 4th ( probity and accountability) and the positive changes we all desire. By it, the pace of our Ghana's transformation agenda has been accelerated,and younger citizens have become more involved in the administration of the country.

This latter element is very important in a situation like ours in which we have significantly youthful population. Our national life in the past under the leaderships of Chairman Rawlings, Professor Mills and John Dramani Mahama, took on the characteristics of a young and richly endowed nation determined to effect proper national reconstruction and the development of a truly national and self reliant economy. In the course of years in government, a number of far - reaching decisions were taken and many of these decisions required boldness and courage because they were as fundamental as they were novel in our case. They sought to reverse the pattern of trade and industry which this country has known for centuries. The PNDC inherited an economy which was described by global financial institution as "collapsed", inflation hovered around 120%.

The administration had no option than to fall on the services of the masses, introduced certain cogent policies which stifled wastage and corruption in the system and also entered into prudent and friendly economic treaties with countries who shared in its ideals. By 1984, inflation had fallen to 37% and moved further down to 10.4% in 1985 at a time the country was spending 75% of its foreign earnings on fuel importation.

The global economic meltdown, drought, bushfires, fuel shortage , food scarcity and number of counter coup attempt affected the PNDC administration and the country in the early 80s leading to massive exodus of Ghanaian professionals to the neighbouring countries. Our classrooms were empty cumulating in the introduction of the students loan scheme which was scrapped by the Africa/Busia régime and also the modular system. The regime went for the structural adjustment programme and achieved remarkable successes. By 1991, the government had taken full control of the economy and was also able to repay all the outstanding debts left behind by successive previous regimes since 1966. Ghana saw massive infrastructure development under the first NDC administration led Chairman Rawlings including massive roads construction, schools and continuation of electricity extension which began under the PNDC. More SSNIT houses were built across the regions, additional Universities were added to what they inherited.

The most comprehensive and practically effective corruption fight policy unprecedented in the annals of Ghana was implemented under the PNDC through the citizens vetting committee and public tribunals system. The first massive transformation in the education sector happened under the PNDC/NDC with the introduction of the JSS/SSS systems and the special education policy. More secondary schools (Day) were established by the administration, reintroduced the adult education system, and introduced special package for teachers who were stationed in our rural areas. The Telecom sector saw massive improvement with the liberalisation of the system which led to private participation in the industry, introduction of VAT which has become one of the country's major sources of revenue generation, introduction of private universities and liberalisation of our Airwaves.

The Mills administration inherited and economy which could not pay salary of workers, ToR and GBC were placed on divestiture because of debt distress etc. The NDC administration under Mills settled all the debt owed by these strategic state agencies to put them back to full operation, more schools were built, roads, hospitals etc and the economy saw massive improvement with the country recording single digit inflation figure. Ghana under the Npp enjoyed debt relief through the adoption of the HIPIC initiative and we benefited from a $2.2 billion debt relief that amount equaled to the total relief granted to 22 countries that adopted the initiative. Huge monies were injected into the system including the 700 billion which was channelled into the poverty reduction strategy. It was projected that Ghana was to save about 558 million dollars in annual debt service payment till 2004 all these projections fell on rocks and the administration could not make any meaningful use of the reliefs it enjoyed including cancellation of the Paris Club Commercial debt.

Professor Mills brought massive transformation into the judiciary sector with the introduction of modern equipments to support their operations, new buildings and improvement in the service condition of the judiciary staff.

The Mahama administration used four years implement massive projects. His four years achievement is marked as unprecedented in the annuals of Ghana. The Mahama administration during encountered serious economic challenges because of global economic recession coupled with the single spine salary scheme which was introduced in 2010 and implemented fully by his administration. The administration didn't have the the luxury of falling on interventions such as HIPIC etc because of the country's current economic status ( lower middle income). The administration therefore took the decision of going for the IMF programme to instill policy credibility and confidence from the international institutions to restore economic stability and growth and also, to turn the deficit around quickly and create confidence even in the short term narrative.

The decision streamlined the spiraling public sector wages and somewhat improved revenue collection and efficiency in collecting taxes and also reformed the public financial management system. The administration completed the Atuabo gas project which is up and running supplying gas to thermal plants that generate electricity and saving Ghana more than $500 million annually , the FPSOs, the construction of 123 schools out of which over 60 were completed during his tenure, the campus of the university of Health and allied sciences in Ho, the 600 bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital,the numerous regional and district hospitals, water expansion ( portable), expansion work at our airports, the Tema port expansion project and dredging of the harbour basin to accommodate vessels with 16 meter draft, breakwater 3,850 meters, four well equipped berths with a total length of 1,400 meters, reclaim 120 Ha for container yard etc, revival of the railway sector, Nkrumah interchange, and expansion of our road network to 71,906 over kilometres with 15,300 being trunk roads, 14,500 km urban roads and 42,046 km feeder roads.The affordable housing project, 5,000 unit affordable at Saglemi and other places in the country

The Shea butter processing factory, the Komenda sugar factory are all landmark achievements recorded under Mahama ( NDC). The ICT sector saw massive transformation making it one of the main pillars supporting the economy contributing significantly to the country's GDP. The e-ghana system was introduced, the ICT park,Hope City project,the Data center, the e Government network project, rural pay phone project, the eastern corridor optic fibre network, the digital center which is offering job to over 10,000 jobs etc. The massive transformation in fishing industry and agriculture in general.

WAY FORWARD
The founder of the party recently admonished party faithfuls to adhere to the core principles of the party a call which has received different interpretations depending on who is the interpreter and the his personal inclinations. The fact is that the youth population has increased changing the dynamics of our politics and the parties are going through same internal revolution because of the demographic changes.

What the party faithfuls must know or recognize is the fact the NDC embodies almost all the challenges the modern left. Some of the old policies are disappearing or shrinking, the old order where the party gathered its strength from workers, drivers etc is gradually fading as people through a new era of temporary jobs and rising self employment and the wave of opposition to globalisation led by forces on the right.

The party, apart from going back to recapture its ideals, must recognise the reality that people are moving quickly to the centre meaning, its message and approach to issues must be designed to attract and appeal to the moderates. What happened in France ( election of Macron) the Trump shock, and recent inroads made by the labour party should tell party folks and the party's strategists that gradually the anti establishment wave sweeping away the old order hence the need for injection of more effective methodologies.

The party has undergone significant changes since 2000 making it more attractive and effective and must be guided judiciously going forward. New voters come on board every election year but unfortunately, the party seem not to telling its own stories to the new voters and the younger generation who have little knowledge about the party's gargantuan achievements.

The party is gradually losing its natural allies to the right who are taking advantage of the changing trends to manipulate these allies of the NDC. The party needs constructive in-depth debates on the whole range of policies and events of the past from those where there is general agreement,to those where policy formulation is ongoing and even to those where there are still clashes. The healing process shouldn't be centralised, it must spread across to capture the true spirit of the party which is a true grassroots establishment.

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