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11.04.2019 Feature Article

Akufo-Addo has put more money into Ghanaians pockets, albeit unbeknownst to sceptics

Akufo-Addo has put more money into Ghanaians pockets, albeit unbeknownst to sceptics

With all due respect, it is somewhat specious for the sceptics to assert that the thriving economy is not reflecting in the pockets of Ghanaians.

“I am not an expert in Economics and I am not an expert in Law, but I am an expert in working on an empty stomach while wondering when and where the next meal will come from, I know what it feels like going to bed with a headache, for want of food in the stomach (J.J. Rawlings).”

Like former President Rawlings, although I am not well-versed in economics, I can decipher between good and bad.

Take my word for it, dearest reader, I am not suggesting for a moment that every single Ghanaian life has been transformed tremendously under the Akufo-Addo’s administration, far from it.

The fact however remains that since assuming power on 7th January 2017, the Akufo-Addo’s government has rolled out numerous social intervention programmes and policies.

In hindsight, the vast majority of Ghanaians have benefited immensely from the implementation of many social intervention programmes and policies.

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), , the Free SHS, amongst others.

Take, for instance, 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 the economic experts want to tell us that such interventions aren’t reflecting in the pockets of the Nurses and Teachers?

Besides, the Akufo-Addo’s government judiciously distributed the national resources in the form of Free SHS, which 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, however, anticipated that the government will spend a staggering amount of GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student.

This means that parents with three children in SHS will be pocketing not less than GH16598.49 over three years.

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 ambivalent and largely phlegmatic Mahama’s administration wilfully left behind massive debt amidst economic meltdown, it is, indeed, commendable for Akufo-Addo’s government to afford to implement the seemingly admirable, albeit costly social intervention such as Free SHS.

It is also admirable for the incumbent NPP government to relieve Ghanaians of over eighteen nuisance taxes which had hitherto crippled businesses.

More recently, 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.

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 staggering 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?

In the grand scheme of things, the lives of Ghanaians are being transformed steadily through many interventions, such as reductions in electricity tariffs, low inflation, tax reductions (including import taxes), favourable economic growth, gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others.

The Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde could not have put it any better when she asserted that the Ghanaian economy is in a better place than it was in the previous years under the John Dramani Mahama’s administration.

Ms Lagarde, however, stressed that the Akufo-Addo’s government had made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which had declined to a single digit and now within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five per cent between 2015 and 2018, and, over six per cent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).

It was, therefore, not surprising that after his visit to Ghana, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, commended the Akufo-Addo’s government: “Ghana met the targets for halving extreme poverty and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, and it achieved the goals relating to universal primary education and gender parity in primary school.

“In the period ahead, Ghana is set to become Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018. Bloomberg News has proclaimed Ghana as the “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

“And in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde has pointed out that Ghana’s success is not just as the result of an oil-driven boom, but is also due to prudent economic management, an entrepreneurial population, the role of traditional leaders, and good governance.

“In addition, Ghana’s achievements in providing free schooling and free meals to students, and its creation of a health insurance scheme for the whole country are considerable accomplishments (Philip Alston, 2018).”

It is based on such estimable achievements that some of us cannot buy the sceptics assertion that the Akufo-Addo’s blossoming economy is not reflecting in the lives of Ghanaians.

K. Badu, UK.
[email protected]

Kwaku Badu
Kwaku Badu, © 2019

This author has authored 709 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwakuBadu

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