The Second-Term Bid of President Akufo Addo: An Insult to Ghanaians
Fellow Ghanaians, I chuckled in Chinese a few days ago when I stumbled upon a literally "presidential beg" by President Akufo Addo seeking one more term. Yes, after editing his pledges made to Ghanaians over the last three years, this old man still wants more years to govern. Stranger than fiction, right?
In 2016, the seventy-something gerontocrat deceived us that he needed only eighteen (18) months to overturn our economic circumstances. Well, three years later in government, President Akufo Addo can only boast of nothing except a gargantuan public debt with its accompanying mess two generations cannot be used to fix!
Indeed, all politicians they say share similar gaseous nonsense in their DNA. They all want uninterrupted political power despite their record of abysmal performance in a guttersnipe proportion. I particularly strongly believe in the powerful assertion that "Politicians and diapers have one thing in common: they both must always be changed and for the same reason."
In jumping at his own shadow because of what the Ghanaian polity holds in stock for reckless leadership, President Akufo Addo in a purposeless lamentation has defined politics according to Winston Churchill. To paraphrase the former British Prime Minister, politics is the ability to promise voters and to have the shameless audacity to come back and explain to them why you couldn't accomplish your promise. So, President Akufo Addo and his "placebo government", want Ghanaians to give them another mandate to keep causing financial lost to the State with their knee-jerk and half-baked policies!
I thought President Akufo Addo main reason for vying for the presidency was to one: break the record of only Johns being presidents in the fourth Republic. Two. He was eager to become president of Ghana because, some section of the Ghanaian populace presumed he was too short for the job. President Akufo Addo has accomplished that. Why does he still want a second term for? Perhaps, to finally liquidate this country with his cronies.
How many businesses have been lost? How many private senior high schools have been collapsed by the NPP government? To what extent quality of education of the public sector has been diluted? How much dept has president Akufo Addo incurred to feed his hippopotamus-size government?
Why would president Akufo Addo want second term? True is, it's always hard if not impossible to later try to convince those who have been fooled and deceived that they were really fooled. Ghanaians have not yet exhausted with the suicidal kumbaya dance they broke into as a result of the political magic wand waved by then candidate Akufo Addo in the 2016 general elections in his manifesto.
The so-called economic growth in this country is only an insult to the collective intelligence and conscience of Ghanaians. In fact, it has exposed what the New Patriotic Party, NPP, actually stand for in their governance. And as I keep elucidating and hammering home as a point, the empty-bragging by government regarding their exit out of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, is only a swap of economic policy which the National Democratic Congress, NDC, together with the IMF in 2014, decided to make Ghana dodged the bullet of reckless governance.
In 2014, because of the global economic crises due to the nosedive of oil, cocoa, gold, and other commodities prices that hit every country, especially emerging markets, unannounced, it created a kind of economic "recession". In times of such crises, there are certain "economic painkiller" policies a particular country can adopt to navigate the economic doldrums. Consequently, there were two recommendable economic policies for Ghana to adopt between Expansionary Fiscal Policy and Contractionary Fiscal Policy. Both had “deadly” consequences. One makes elected officials look like villains in the eyes of the citizens in the short-term although with prosperity in the long-term, if adopted. The other makes elected officials look like angels in the eyes of the citizens in the short-term but with disastrous consequences in the long-run.
With the Contractionary Fiscal Policy, it is only better for the country and the citizens in the long-term. Citizenry who only care about "food is ready" and do not care about what shall become of their tomorrow, always sweep this policy under the carpet and would never contemplate about it at all. With this policy, an elected and public official who goes for it will only have his reward from the generation yet unborn but grossly hated and despised by the current generation especially if the current generation has no vision for the generation yet unborn! By adopting this economic policy, the current generation has set out to toil for the betterment of the country in years to come. It is similar to planting trees. Often, those who plant trees hardly sit under their shade let alone eating the fruits. The same thing goes with Contractionary fiscal policy: Ban must be placed on employment, government must reserve and put aside some of its revenue; government must cut down its expenditure and raise taxes therefore, social intervention programs must not be entertained. Citizens must spend modestly.
To do that by the government in charge, salaries, allowances, ex gratia, gratuities and if possible, pensions, must all be cut down. And the worse of it all is that, government must grow the economy within 2% to 3% healthy economic level. This was what accounted for the low economic growth under Mahama. The hardship later became unbearable because, the growth must have been between 2% -3% when using Contractionary fiscal policy. However, the point seven (.7) that was added to the 3% made the policy failed the NDC government.
Now, unless a fool, nobody needs an economics engineer to explain what Contractionary fiscal policy can cause to any elected official who decides to adopt it, even though there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel if citizens persevere.
The Contractionary fiscal policy is simply akin to an individual's saving culture. If an employee discards certain expenditure in his budget and increases the amount of money he puts aside or saves, he would certainly struggle during this period, but he is certain for growth even if people see him to be wretched because he has no clean and classy cloths. Nobody can notice yet what this employee has in stock although he has a bright prospect eventually in the future!
And it would only take vision and significant amount of discipline to charter such a personal management culture. No reckless person can do that.
Contrasting the Contractionary fiscal policy with the Expansionary fiscal policy is exactly the opposite. Like a reckless worker, the Expansionary fiscal policy allows government to not only increase its expenditure, but recklessly spend money. As a result, unforgiving bad governments that subscribe to this "ATM" style of governance finds avenues to spend more money with the aim of pumping cash into the economy in order to create jobs through the private sector and in turn grow the economy. That's the reason why the current administration has decided to expand and dilute government with 123 ministers; restoring the allowances the previous government withdrew. So that, there would be money in the system. But the current government has forgotten that since they never dropped from sky, majority of the rest of their fellow Ghanaians are also reckless like them who will spend the money government is supplying into the economy not on investment, but on frivolous things and consumption just like the spending culture of the government. Ha-Ha!!!
With this expansionary fiscal policy, according to Kimberly Amadeo, public officials who adopt it are saluted and literally "worshipped"! Nevertheless, there are dire consequences to come in the long-term especially if the nation is plunged into a sudden and unexpected disaster. That means, with this policy a country only spends, and where does the money come from is often not their beef. What's important is to spend no matter the consequences that are yet to come.
Moreover, unlike the Contractionary fiscal policy, any economic management team that adopts this economic policy (expansionary fiscal policy) is similar to an employee who does not save, and not only does he spend everything he earns on Slay Queens' fat and tweaking "behinds"; patronizing luxurious restaurants, and wearing the most expensive perfumes, jewelry, best jeans etc., he also borrows in addition. He does all this just for mere publicity hunting and for people to see and pat him on the back.
If you were to live your life as a saner head according to these two categories of employees’ life, be sincere with your sixth sense intact, which of these two employees' life would you have mimicked? And between the two policies of Expansionary fiscal policy or Contractionary fiscal policy, which one would you have adopted as a visionary leader? And, between two political parties - and by extension, the leaders who are associated with these two policies - which leader would you choose as a visionary leader?
Certainly, the leader who goes for the Contractionary policy is wisely visionary. So, now wait a minute. Why did President Akufo Addo name best President in Africa and third best in the world because he keeps the polity busy with virtually nothing visionary taking place? Clearly, it was a cooked-up accolade for the president. Because, no serious researcher will overlook this peculiar mess of visionary leadership deficiencies of a president who sold his head to buy a cap, and went ahead to name him best President. A leader who cares for only “toady” is definitely not visionary.
Fast forward. During the global economic crises that hit the entire world in 2014-2015, former President Mahama went to the IMF for "bailout". Simply put. He presented these two economic policies of expansionary fiscal policy and Contractionary fiscal policy to the IMF. Note that former President Mahama and his NDC government could have readily settled for the expansionary fiscal policy because of the perks from citizenry that come with it. But out of love for this country's future, he demanded the best advice from the global economic expect: the IMF. In the IMF own wisdom, madam Christine Lagarde and her entourage chose the Contractionary fiscal policy for Mahama-led government knowing full well, the consequences. Yet, President Mahama vowed to adopt that policy endorsed by the IMF even if it will cost him his presidency. So far as it was the best policy Ghana needed, he decided to pursue it for the common good of all. President Mahama least realized he gave a huge sledgehammer to his political opponents by implementing the Contractionary fiscal policy. To him, the political opponents are also hoovering in the political power's wings for the collective good of Ghanaians. Big mistake!
President Mahama's biggest political detractor, President Akufo Addo, then candidate Akufo Addo, came and swapped the policies by adopting the alternative policy any reckless, thoughtless, visionless, clueless, and merciless, would implement. What even exposed the wickedness of this government is the heartless way they have used the policy in the last three consecutive years. Expansionary fiscal policy is only adopted in times of complete economic recession not later than one year to reboost the economy. To use expansionary fiscal policy more than two consecutive years to grow an economy amounts to a lazy man approach to economic management. Vice President Dr. Bawumia must bow his head in shame!
It was the same reason President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1931 used expansionary policy to end the USA’s Great Depression but it later resurfaced, according to Kimberly Amadeo, because, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dropped the policy immediately as expected.
President John F. Kennedy used expansionary policy to boost the economy out of the 1960 USA economic quagmire. He promised to sustain the policy until the recession was over, regardless of the impact on the DEBT! We all know what became the fate of President John F. Kennedy.
If President Akufo Addo and his economics Messiahs are mimicking these American Presidents, is it not an insult and assault on our collective commonsense to go on that borrowing and spending binge to govern, when he badmouthed same borrowing during the government of the NDC? Didn't President Akufo Addo say borrowing to govern amounted to incompetence? When he keeps borrowing today what does it amount to?
Why would President Akufo Addo, in just three years, compounded our national debt stock to the tune of over 90 billion with little or nothing meaningful to point at, yet he wants another term? How much shall he borrow again in his second term if in the event that, may God forbid, he wins the 2020 presidential election?
Ghana is not anybody's personal fiefdom, and it's certainly not reserved for clannish leaders like President Akufo Addo and his kitchen cabinet.
Enough is enough!
The Writer, Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem, is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar (Alumnus) At KNUST.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."