General News of Mon, 7 May 201810
Mahama jabs government over uncompleted road projects
Former President John Dramani Mahama has once again lambasted President Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, accusing them of abandoning the ‘massive’ projects, including roads, he claims he left behind.
“A lot of the projects we started have stalled. Many of the hospitals we were building have come to a stop. Many of the schools we were building have come to a stop. Many of the roads we were building have come to a stop. But I have one appeal. If there was one project that we started that is critical to the economic development of the Upper West Region, it is the Bolga-Bawku Road,” he stated in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, during the so-called ‘unity walk’ he is leading the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to embark on.
He appeared to incite the people of the region against the sitting president when he said he (President Akufo-Addo) had not done anything for the people over there.
“If President Akufo-Addo won’t do anything for us in Upper East at all, we beg him, as for that road, he should continue it and finish it for us,” the former president said.
He also appeared to tag President Akufo-Addo and his administration as intolerant and suggested that some of the NPP appointees might have had awful upbringing.
“When you offer any decision they call you all kinds of unprintable names, but I was not brought up to use unprintable names against my political opponents,” he claimed, adding, “The language you use in your political discourse is a reflection on your upbringing. If you were brought up well it must reflect in the language you use in your political discourse.”
It is clear that Mr Mahama was reacting to comments countering his recent ‘galamsey’ gaffe when Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu, called him a ‘conman.’
He also repeated his “super incompetent” tag of President Akufo-Addo’s administration.
He said, “There are many other things that this government is doing in an ad-hoc manner.
“For every programme that is rolled out, there is no policy, there is no guideline and that is the problem. You (government) just dream of something,” he said.
Mr. Mahama further said that the numerous promises made by the NPP during the 2016 electioneering campaign had not been fulfilled and that they were struggling to rule.
“Even the promises that you made before the election you have not fulfilled. You (government) are struggling. I watched a video recently and they spoke about 1 million dollars per constituency per year. Now today, we are told it was a mere thought,” he fired.
“When you talk, they say, ‘we are fulfilling our promises; we’ve promised to restore nursing training allowances.’ The nurses tell me that since that first payment they got in September last year, they’ve not been paid again. But you know the tragedy is that they said [there was money]. So, you would expect there was some money they knew that they were going to use to fulfill those promises,” he said.
“What is happening is that all those promises are being fulfilled using the statutory funds. Whilst you think you are creating jobs on one side, you are starving the districts of their development budgets. And, so, the schools and clinics that they are supposed to build and provide jobs for masons and carpenters and steel benders and others, they (the assemblies) don’t have that money to provide the jobs,” said the former president.
He said that the government’s decision to cap statutory funds at 25 percent of all government revenue is counterproductive and added that it was being done so that President Akufo-Addo could fund his Free SHS and other campaign promises.
“The government should do a rethink of some of the sensitive statutory funds, especially NHIS,” he said, adding, “What’s happening is, all those promises are being fulfilled using the statutory funds. For instance, take the National Health Insurance. Parliament passed a law… it says that it will cap all statutory funds at 25 percent of national revenue. So when they cap it, they give every fund a weight and they take that money out of the fund and put it into the consolidated fund for consumption.
“For the National Health Insurance, instead of having GH¢2.2 billion from the NHIS levy that we paid, the National Health Insurance ends up with GH¢1.3 billion. Almost GH¢900 million is gone. For some sensitive funds like NHIS, when you are having problems with the sustainability of the scheme, you don’t take money out of a fund like that. And then you come back and tell us that the fund is unsustainable so you won’t impose new taxes.
“This year, GETFund has less than GH¢500 million to do its work and that is why all the educational projects that we were doing under GETFUND have stalled, because again capping is taking money out of GETFund. Meanwhile, you have started Free Senior High School. The children don’t have dormitories to sleep in. It is the GETFund that you would have used to provide those dormitories and dining halls (for Free SHS). Meanwhile, you are taking all that money out and putting it in the consolidated fund.”
Interestingly, when Mr. Mahama was president, payment of statutory funds to the various state agencies were not going through as they should and as a result, these agencies continued to be starved of the needed funds for national development.
Although he has already hit the ground running after his humiliating defeat in 2016, the former president said he was yet to announce whether he would contest again for the position of president.
“We have had the opportunity to interact with the grassroots and I have heard the message they have kept echoing to me. I have had the opportunity to speak to many people who have the best interests of our party at heart and sooner rather than later I will make my political future clear.
“I did not want my decision whether to run or not to run to affect the reorganization of the party. Now that we have finished the branch reorganization and I can see that the reorganization of the party is well on track then probably the time is arriving where I need to make a decision so the party can have a clear focus on how it is moving forward to 2020.”