General News of 2014-06-30

Ghana in an era of retrogression - Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday lamented the leadership crisis in Ghana and accused President John Mahama’s government of sending the nation backwards.

Addressing the UK Branch of the New Patriotic Party’s monthly public meeting on Sunday, in Wood Green, London; the man vying to lead the New Patriotic Party in 2016 described the situation in Ghana as, “we are in an era of retrogression.”

He added, “You may look at the problems we are facing now and say we have seen all of them before. But, I have been around for some time now, and I don’t remember the last time we had all these problems hitting us at the same time with such force. Ask yourself, why?”

He stressed, “No water, no electricity, no petrol, no money, no jobs, no mercy,” and the audience added, “No World Cup victory!”

Nana Akufo-Addo, who was in London for a week’s visit, told Ghanaians in London, “it seems whatever the President touches turn into dust. This is indeed an era of retrogression. Everything about Ghana appears to be going backwards.”

He cited the ill-fated foreign exchange measures announced in February as a typical example. “Even when they try to fix the falling cedi, they end up making it worse. The cedi depreciation was worse in the four months since February, when the stricter rules were announced, than in the previous 4 months. You may ask yourself, why?”

He lamented how the government lambasted his 2012 running mate, the economist, Mahamudu Bawumia, “when he warned them that it would not work. He was insulted! Today, Ghana’s cedi is the second worst performing currency in the world. Doing better than only the local currency of conflict-hit Ukraine! Just, ask yourself, why?”

With a chuckle, the seasoned politician added to laughter from the gathering, “Not even our favourite past time, football, has been spared this era of repression. Under President Kufuor, we got through the group stages. Under Mills we got to the Quarter Finals. Under Mahama, we expected to at least match our old performances. But, we did worse in Brazil than in 2006. Ask yourself, why?”

Although he said he did not agree with the pressures the national football team put on the authorities to get paid before playing, he could see how the public sympathised with their concerns.

“I am not saying I support the way the players held the nation to ransom before our crucial match against Portugal. But, were you surprised that the Black Stars wanted cash in hand before playing? It is because nobody trusts this government to deliver on its promises. This is the government that finds nothing wrong when the law has levied taxes on people for those revenues to be paid directly in statutory funds like the GETFUND, District Assembly Common Fund and NHIS. If a government can refuse to pay money to an institution the law says it should, then how can we expect the Black Stars to expect to be paid on a word of promise from the President?” Akufo-Addo queried.

He said, the announcement by the credit rating company, Moody’s last Friday, was just the latest of how the world had lost confidence in the capacity of the government to manage the economy.

Moody’s downgraded Ghana from B1 to B2, describing the outlook as negative.

“What it means is that Ghana will now pay more in interest rates to borrow,” Akufo-Addo explained.

Source: Akufo-Addo for 2016
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