Opinions Mon, 31 Mar 2014

Mahama Should Stop Borrowing If....

Re: “We've not borrowed to drink or make merry- Mahama replies critic”

By Otchere Darko

Reference: “Contrary to Dr Mahamudu Bawumai's recent red flag about the country's rising debt situation, President Mahama has said it is necessary for the state to keep borrowing for key infrastructural developments.” [By courtesy of Ghanaweb General News of Thursday, 27 March 2014 captioned “We've not borrowed to drink or make merry - Mahama replies critics”; Source: myjoyonline.com]

I like to begin my criticism of President Mahama and his administration by first asking him two alternative questions, which are:-

(1) Who said you’ve borrowed to drink or make merry, Mr President?



(2) Could it be your conscience that is pricking you?

President Mahama is not the first President of Ghana to borrow money for what Ghanaian politicians refer to as “infrastructural developments”. Dr Kwame Nkrumah was the first Ghanaian President to borrow money from foreign sources for “infrastructural developments”. Nevertheless, all Ghanaians, including even those who were jubilant when he (the first Ghanaian President) was overthrown in 1966, will agree with me that Dr Kwame Nkrumah borrowed money [and saddled Ghana with “national debt”] for “good purposes”. Most of the “infrastructural development” projects for which purposes Dr Kwame Nkrumah borrowed money from foreign “Shylocks” are still making effective contribution towards Ghana’s development, nearly forty years after his overthrow. Let President Mahama himself make a comparative assessment and evaluation of the way Dr Kwame Nkrumah used the relatively smaller monies he borrowed for “infrastructural developments” during his period of leadership with the way President Mahama and ‘latter-day Presidents’ of Ghana use the huge monies they borrow from IMF, World Bank, UK, USA and, lately and most importantly, from ‘pseudo-socialist’ cum ‘neo-capitalist’ and ‘neo-colonialist’ wolf-in-sheep’s-skin China.

Our ‘latter-day’ Presidents [who include President Mahama] misuse the huge monies they borrow on “wasteful projects” and non-capital recurrent public expenditures such as yearly filling of potholes and untarred roads with gravels, sand and raw laterite that get washed off later when it rains. Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s “Tema Motorway”, which has survived fifty years of existence without any “planned infrastructural maintenance” ever since its construction, is an example of an infrastructural project that merits borrowing money to undertake. Our ‘latter-day’ Presidents, including President Mahama, on the other hand, waste money every year, for example, to repair several untarred roads and streets here and there all over the country, only to be washed off again as soon as the rains set in. If our ‘latter-day’ Presidents used Ghana’s resources more sensibly than they have been doing, they would first spend the resources they have been wasting on repairing untarred roads and streets to tar such public facilities properly, before they put in place the kind of planned maintenance that would enable such tarred roads and streets to stay in reasonably good condition from year to year.

Certainly, nobody is saying that President Mahama is borrowing money “to drink or make merry”. What Ghanaians privately and publicly constantly say is that recent Ghanaian governments [that include that of President Mahama] borrow excessively; and yet, because the monies they borrow are not used wisely, they (the borrowed monies) fail to positively impact on the nation’s economy and real development.

In my opinion, the only logical reason why ‘latter-day’ Presidents [who include President Mahama] would say “it is necessary for the state to keep borrowing” is that it is through borrowing that governing parties in Ghana [including the NDC] get the money they use to finance the types of capital expenditures, such as road constructions, maintenance and repairs, that generate “the kick-backs”, “the ten-percents” and “ the ‘yenkye-ndi’ judgement debts” that have, by-and-large, constituted the main source of funding for governing parties in Ghana since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1992.

MR PRESIDENT, STOP BORROWING AND SADDLING GHANA WITH MOUNTING SOVEREIGN DEBT, if your government cannot use borrowed money for the kind of infrastructural developments (expenditures) that are economically self-recoupable and which in the long run, therefore, tend to impact positively on the lives of the millions of tax-paying Ghanaians whose collective ‘sweat’ creates the ‘financial pool’ out of which Ghana Government manages and services its ever-mounting national debt.

Columnist: Darko, Otchere