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Feature Article | Mar 31, 2019

Mahama and NDC can indeed turn around Ghana’s economic fortunes

Mahama and NDC can indeed turn around Ghana’s economic fortunes

I have been reading with an utter incredulity in respect of the NDC loyalists insistence that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lied their way to power by giving supposedly unrealistic Manifesto promises during the 2016 electioneering campaign.

It is, indeed, quite bizarre that despite all the harsh economic conditions amidst corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others), the NDC faithful can still go ahead and aim accusing fingers at their opponents of promising the electorates heaven and earth which led to their humiliating 2016 election defeat.

It would appear that the 2016 humiliating election defeat has unsettled the nerves of the NDC loyalists, judging from their bizarre posturing.

In fact, Ex-President Mahama and his teeming supporters cannot be entirely correct for insisting that unlike the NPP, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is an honest political party which presents the truth to Ghanaians at all times.

If we stroll down memory lane, three years after former President Kufuor’s NPP government had worked tirelessly and discovered oil in commercial quantities; the NDC government led by the late President Mills only had the easiest job of turning on the valve at an offshore platform in December 2010 to pump the first commercial oil.

Ghana soon associated itself with the petroleum exporting countries. And believe it or not, Ghana started to export crude oil which boosted the economic growth.

The economy grew favourably from around 8.4 per cent to around 14 per cent by 2011 and Ghana subsequently reached the Lower Middle Income status.

Ghana’s GDP grew from $28 billion to a staggering $47 billion by 2011.

Ghana was then cited as the world's fastest growing economy in 2010 (Economy Watch, 2010).

To his credit, though, the late President Mills continued to improve upon the excellent economic foundation laid by former President Kufuor and his NPP government.

President Mills mysteriously departed from life in July 2012. And per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Vice President Mahama was the next in line to take over the presidency.

Things regrettably started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills sudden and mysterious death.

Ghana’s total debt rocketed astronomically (GH9.5 billion in 2009 to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016). This was as a result of the unbridled spending in the 2012 election and the numerous corruption scandals involving GYEEDA, SADA, SUBA, Bus Branding, dubious judgement debt payments amongst others.

Ghana’s economic growth rate was woefully reversed from 14% in 2011 to an incredible 3.6% by 2016. The GDP was shockingly reduced by $10 billion (from $47 billion in 2011 to $37 billion in 2016).

The exchange rate took an amazing flight from Gh1.65 to 1 U.S dollar in 2011 to GH4.20 to 1 U.S dollar by December 2016.

The erstwhile NDC administration reversed the agricultural growth from 7.4 per cent in 2012 to a disappointing 2.5 per cent by December 2016.

But despite the unobjectionable evidence of wilful mismanagement, the NDC loyalists would want discerning Ghanaians to believe that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

Ghana’s economic growth regrettably slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

In addition, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).

However, since assuming power, the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides towards the improvement of social mobility through the implementation of poverty reduction policies such as free SHS, one district one factory, one million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others.

What is more, despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.6 per cent as of December 2016 to over 6per cent within a short space of time.

Besides, the Akufo-Addo’s government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016 (GSS 2017).

There is no gainsaying the fact that Ex-President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks slyly took refuge in their much touted infrastructural projects after failing to initiate expedient policies to overturn the failed policies of agriculture, poverty reduction and resource allocation in the areas of healthcare, education, finance, supply chain management and security sector planning, amongst others.

I remember whenever the good people of Ghana expressed their grievances over the NDC’s coarse governance; Ex-President Mahama and his vociferous communicators would go berserk: aren’t we transforming lives by building roads, hospitals, schools, toilets, water facilities, amongst others?

It goes without saying that most of the projects were not up to the required standards, albeit they were overpriced.

The former Minister of Local Government, Collins Dauda would attest to such assertion. He morosely decried the NDC’s poorly constructed and often overpriced projects.

When concerned Ghanaians complained about the poorly constructed roads in Kumasi for instance, Ex-President Mahama was reported to have responded angrily: ‘You ungrateful lots, you would never even be appreciative if I constructed your roads with gold’.

In fact, Ex-President Mahama and his appointees were refusing to appreciate the fact that exemplary governance is not all about putting up numerous infrastructural projects.

It is, however, worth stressing that excellence governance goes beyond the provision of social infrastructural and amenities. As a matter of fact, praiseworthy governance also involves continuous improvement of socio-economic standards of living.

In Ghana today, we have politicians in our midst whose rhetoric only deludes and proselytises millions of unsuspecting Ghanaians.

After attesting to so much scheming guiles and frequent propagation of propaganda, many Ghanaians have ceased believing such politicians.

Yes, we do need true leaders. Obviously, we need individuals who have vision, direction, and strength to reach our goals.

As a matter of fact, we choose to elect a government to oversee our national affairs. And, we, in turn, are obliged to pay taxes to the elected government so as to run the country smoothly.

In addition, the elected government has our unwavering support to go for prudent loans to support the day-to-day management of the country. In essence, we (the citizens) pay for all the expenses pertaining to the management of the country.

It was for that reason that I was in agreement with President Mahama for suggesting somewhere in 2008 that it is an exercise in mediocrity for any government to take delight in infrastructural projects.

Somehow, Ex-President Mahama meant to suggest that every lousy government could easily undertake that role of governance. By inference, the erection of infrastructural projects is as easy as ABC.

No offence intended, though, Madam Akua Donkor of the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) could put up more infrastructural projects if given the opportunity.

To be blunt, and rightly so, since discerning Ghanaians are obliged to pay taxes, it would be boundlessly unconscionable for any government and its teeming supporters to hide behind social amenities and infrastructural projects such as public toilets, schools, roads, water, electricity, amongst others.

After all, to whom much is given, much is expected.

Suffice it to emphasise that Ex-President Kufuor left a total debt of around 9.5 billion Ghana Cedis in 2009. However, our total debt ballooned to around 122.4 billion Ghana Cedis as of September 2016.

This means that Mahama and his NDC government added more than 113 billion Cedis within a short space of seven and half years with a little to show for.

More appallingly, the erstwhile Mahama administration revoltingly abandoned the vast majority of the uncompleted infrastructural projects, including the important Kumasi-Accra high road which former President Kufuor initiated.

Indeed, the NDC government blatantly failed to complete most of the projects former President Kufuor commenced, including ‘Sofoline interchange (Kumasi), all the affordable housing projects, the mini dams meant to provide electricity to small towns and many other abandoned projects started by the previous NPP government.

I must however confess that I admire President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government’s unwavering enthusiasm towards completing most of the uncompleted infrastructural projects initiated by the NDC government and funded by the Government of Ghana.

There is no denying or ignoring the fact that we have over the years been electing terrible economic managers who cannot see their backsides from their elbows and have only succeeded in sinking the economy deeper and deeper into the mire through corrupt practices.

Unfortunately, ever since they lost the 2016 election, the brassbound loyalists of the National Democratic Congress, who are still nursing their wounds, have vowed to make the country ungovernable. How pathetic?

Believe it or not, a large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources, unfortunately, went down the drain due to the mismanagement and the wanton sleazes and corruption perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration.

Back then, discerning Ghanaians raised concerns over many bribery and corruption scandals such as SSNIT, SUBA, SADA, Woyome, Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, NCA amongst others which invariably distorted Ghana’s economy , threatened the fundamental human rights and subverted the institutions that guarantee stability.

Nevertheless, Ex-President Mahama and his NDC government protected the corrupt public officials, including the crocodile tears shedding Brazil World Cup cabal who revoltingly bought a ball of ‘nkran dokono’ at an amazing price of $20.00, a whole coconut for $200.00 and paid the Brazilian escort an incredible $4000.00 per journey to a local market.

That notwithstanding, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians to believing that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

Indeed, vague apprehension of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer narrow party coloration to defending the national interests. How pathetic?

Dearest reader, whichever way you may choose to place the argument, it is absolutely true that if discerning Ghanaians had not graciously intervened by showing the ravenous and phlegmatic NDC government the exit during the 2016 election, the dreadful errors in decision-making and the rampant sleazes and corruption would have wiped out Ghana off the world map without a trace.

I do not intend to be patronising, far from it. But if governance is all about putting up infrastructural projects, then I will dare state that even my unlettered and untrained mother would be able to perform exceedingly better than what the outgone Mahama government achieved with all the copious resources at their disposal.

K. Badu, UK.
[email protected]

Kwaku Badu
Kwaku Badu, © 2019

This author has authored 688 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwakuBadu

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