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Opinions Wed, 10 Jul 2019

Did NDC’s guest speaker really endorse Akufo-Addo’s favourable economic growth?

President Akufo Addo Signs President Akufo-Addo

A video clip is making rounds, purporting to be that of a recent forum, organised by the leadership of the opposition NDC, and, showing a guest speaker, a Nigerian scholar, candidly commending the Akufo-Addo’s government on Ghana’s auspicious economic growth, obviously, to the utter chagrin of his hosts (the NDC Executives), many of whom were besotted on the guest speaker’s unbelievable intellectual honesty.

The overarching question, however, is: do the NDC loyalists really trust the judgement of the said knowledgeable and largely credible Nigerian academic?

I am pretty sure they do; else they would not have invited him to speak on Ghana’s economy at their special gathering.

Apparently, preceding the honest and erudite Nigerian’s endorsement of Ghana’s well-publicised propitious economic growth, were praises from some credible organisations and influential people, both home and abroad.

Take, for example, in 2017, Bloomberg News predicted Ghana to become “Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018 “and proclaimed “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

And, in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde pointed out that “Ghana’s economic 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.”

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the likes of Ghana’s seasoned journalist, Malik Kweku Baako, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, had, all in separate occasions, praised the Akufo-Addo’s government on its excellent economic performance in the two and half years in office.

Nevertheless, the unrepentant critics of the Akufo-Addo’s government, such as the opposition NDC loyalists, have blatantly refused to accept Ghana’s well-acknowledged favourable economic growth.

They are claiming that the economy is worsening under Akufo-Addo’s leadership, while blatantly failing to acknowledge the fact that the economic growth in 2016 was 3.4%, and now stands at 8.6% (GSS).

They are extremely unhappy about the current inflation, which stands at around 9%, compared to 15.8% in 2016 (GSS).

They are moaning inexorably about Cedi to Dollar exchange rate, which stands at about GH5.20 to $1 (BOG), while refusing to accept the fact that they took it from GH1.20 to $1 in 2009 (BOG), and left it at around 4.20 in 2016 (BOG).

They are accusing Akufo-Addo for being insensitive when it comes to fuel prices, and ignoring the fact that in 2009, the NDC government inherited a gallon of petrol at around GH3.69 (Ghanabusinessnews.com/energypedia.info, 06/01/2009), and left it at around GH18.00 in January 2017 (See: Fuel prices increase by about 11%; cityfmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 05/01/2017).

They are complaining bitterly that Akufo-Addo is not doing anything about Ghana’s deplorable roads, meanwhile, Akufo-Addo is prudently using Ghana’s bauxite in a barter deal worth around $2 billion with the Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction outfit, Sinohydro, to construct roads across the country.

They are claiming that Akufo-Addo is not doing enough to address the unemployment problem in the country, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government has facilitated more than 181 factories, which are in various stages of completion across the country as part of the One District One Factory programme.

In addition, about one hundred thousand graduates have been given jobs under the pragmatic National Builders Corp (NABCO) scheme and thousands more, including nurses and teachers, have been employed in the public service since the NPP government assuming office.

They are insisting that the economy is not reflecting in Ghanaians pockets, but the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken pragmatic steps and restored the Nurses and Teachers Allowances which were regrettably cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama administration.

They are saying somewhat forcefully that Ghanaian parents are suffering in abject penury, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government has 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.

Unsurprisingly, they are belittling the benefits therein the Free SHS, and yet the Akufo-Addo’s government is spending a staggering amount of GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student. In effect, parents with three children in SHS will be pocketing not less than GH16598.49 over three years.

They are bizarrely weeping uncontrollably for Ghanaian traders, whom, in actual fact, are satisfied with the Akufo-Addo’s government for relieving them of over eighteen nuisance taxes which had hitherto crippled their businesses.

They are insisting that the Akufo-Addo’s government has not done anything significant for prudently reducing benchmark values (30% on cars and 50% on goods) to the utter delight of Ghanaian traders.

However, since the announcement of the reductions of benchmark values, some beneficiaries have attested to significant discounts.

Take, for example, credible sources have it that following the reductions, the duty on a Toyota Corolla saloon car has been reduced from GH22, 000 to GH15, 000.

Obviously, there is a considerable 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. Apparently, this individual is pocketing GH4500 because of good governance.

The NDC’s guest speaker is absolutely right: Ghana is indeed moving into the right direction under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

May God bless our Homeland Ghana!!!

k.badu2011@gmail.com

Columnist: Kwaku Badu