Somebody ought to tell the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Ajumako, Central Region, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson, that the former Mahama Deputy Finance Minister’s party was in power for more than two decades without striking oil in any commercial quantities from the same land and territorial waters from which the John Agyekum-Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) struck oil in commercial quantities within a matter of five or six years. And presently, we are reliably informed that the second-largest quantity of oil in the Africa region has just been struck under the tenure of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party.
What the foregoing means is that unlike the robber-baron-packed National Democratic Congress, the New Patriotic Party has a special and unique relationship with Ghana’s oil wealth that the leaders of the NDC can scarcely fathom. Even more significant must be highlighted the fact that while the Mills-Mahama Posse was busy pocketing the proceeds of Ghana’s oil in their wallets and bank accounts, President Akufo-Addo and his crackerjack bevy of progressive and visionary cabinet appointees and executive operatives have been putting our oil money to fair and equitable use for both the short- and long-term benefit of the country.
Indeed, he may have the biggest cabinet in Ghana’s Fourth Republic, but so also does Nana Akufo-Addo have the most progressive and development-oriented government in postcolonial Ghanaian history. What is more, this seemingly unwieldy government is also, relatively speaking, the most cost-effective of its kind in the Fourth Republic. For instance, there is absolutely no evidence, unlike the previous Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress, of any cabinet and/or executive appointees drawing double salaries, whereby vital sectors of our national economy and life, such as Healthcare, Education, Communication and Agriculture were known to be either totally neglected or woefully underfunded. Which is why it cannot be other than insufferably annoying to hear the likes of the former Mahama Deputy Finance Minister imperiously impugning the right of the present administrators of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to allegedly use the latter establishment for the borrowing of some $ 250 Million (USD), for the provision of energy resources, for the benefit of the country at large (See “Using GNPC as a Vehicle to Borrow US$ 250 M for Energy Ministry is Illegal – Ato Forson” Modernghana.com 2/20/19).
Indeed, about the only illegality would be if Mr. Forson and his impudent gang of double-salary drawing robber-barons could point to any hard evidence indicating the gross misappropriation of taxpayer money. And yes, they may not like the GNPC’s decision to spend $ 20 Million in oil prospecting operations in the Volta Basin, or whatever the aforesaid “operations” may be, but it is still not the place of the National Democratic Congress’ Parliamentary Minority to cavalierly presume to lecture their administrative superiors on whether the $ 40 Million (USD) earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is excessive or not. First of all, these NDC critics need to demonstrate to the Ghanaian public at large that, indeed, the money earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility programs is money meant to be wastefully spent.
If they cannot prove or justify their criticism before the savvy court of public opinion, then they must promptly cease and desist. Indeed, it just could very well be that the Energy Ministry’s operations in the Volta Basin are relatively far less profitable and/or meaningful than the development projects that are scheduled to be undertaken under the category of CSR ventures. The NDC’s Parliamentary Minority cannot vacuously presume to better appreciate what it takes to healthily and constructively develop the country than those who actually have the verifiable performance record of having already done just that. As well, the fact that the operatives of the ACEP think-tank have raised questions over this budgetary schedule or allocation may be worth taking note of all right. Nevertheless, it is even more significant to note that it was the leadership of the New Patriotic Party that Ghanaian voters elected in December 2016 to manage their affairs, and not the leaders of any self-designated think-tank or political partisans.
Now, let us solemnly get on with the people’s business and stop bickering over whether monetary sum X or Y is better or best earmarked for this or that project.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD English Department, SUNY-Nassau Garden City, New York March 8, 2019 E-mail: [email protected]
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