Opinions of Sat, 8 Sep 201821
Is Akufo-Addo’s government seriously working towards breaking the third-term jinx?
A political party, in theory, supposed to be a coalescence of diverse group of people who share same ideology, work values and culture, and, have agreed to work collaboratively towards forming a formidable government with the view to improving the lives of the masses.
Thus, we can venture to stress that any purposeful, committed and forward-thinking political party should have an explicit focus and direction.
It is also true that individuals have different reasons for joining politics. Some people enter into politics for their unconditional love for their nation. Others just see power as an excellent opportunity to amass wealth and enjoy other trappings that come with the job.
Regrettably, however, it would appear that some politicians do not care about the plight of the masses; they only scramble for power in order to pursue their parochial interests.
I have always held an unwavering conviction that governance is a serious business and as such it requires forward thinking, serious and committed group of people to bring about the needed progress.
That said, it has not been always the case in Ghana’s democratic dispensation. The multi-party democracy has given birth to both purposeful and coarse political parties.
And, as a consequence, we have for a long time been relying on lousy economic managers who cannot see their backsides from their elbows and have only succeeded in sinking the economy deeper and deeper into the mire through corrupt practices.
In fact, I share the same sentiments of the reflective sceptics who argue vehemently that despite spending 27 years in government, the successive NDC governments failed woefully to improve upon the socio-economic standards of living of Ghanaians.
The contending schools of thought have been arguing consistently that the successive NDC governments only managed to destabilise Ghana’s macroeconomic indicators through unobjectionable incompetence and wanton corruption.
If you may remember, it was Ex-President Mahama who astonishingly claimed that they, (the NDC government) had rapaciously consumed all the meat on the bone.
Former President John Mahama
Ex-President Mahama, to be fair, was alluding to Ghana’s unprecedented economic collapse as a result of unpardonable mismanagement and rampant sleazes and corruption under his watch.
And, considering the fact that the erstwhile NDC government left a huge debt amid massive economic meltdown, one would have expected the same people who wilfully caused such a mess to show a little remorse and refrain from accusing the NPP government of not turning the economy around quickly, but that hasn’t been the case.
Bafflingly, however, the NDC operatives are all over the place nagging, grumbling and censuring the NPP government for perceived slow pace in development in less than two years in office.
The fact, however, remains that if the corrupt and greedy officials of the erstwhile NDC government had not squandered the funds meant for various developmental projects, the NPP government would have enough funds at its disposal to undertake a lot of developmental projects.
On 7th December 2016, discerning Ghanaians found in NPP, a redeemer, in whom they reposed their absolute trust to set them free from the NDC government’s unpardonable economic enslavement.
The thoughtful critics, indeed, cannot be far from right for suggesting that if discerning Ghanaians had not graciously intervened by showing the dreadful economic managers (NDC) the exit through universal suffrage, the terrible errors in decision-making and the rampant sleazes and corruption would have obliterated Ghana off the world map completely.
Given the circumstances, we can confidently deduce that discerning Ghanaians made the right decision on 7th December 2016 by electing the septuagenarian Nana Akufo-Addo and retiring the middle-aged John Dramani Mahama.
A large portion of Ghana’s scarce resources, regrettably, went down the drain due to the mismanagement and the wanton sleazes and corruptions perpetrated by the officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration.
Indeed, there is admissible evidence of gargantuan bribery and corruption cases, including monies which were given to parasitic creatures who did not render any services towards the national development. Woyome and Akua Donkor come to mind.
But in spite of the Mahama’s government coarse administration, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians to believe that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.
Apparently, vague apprehension of patriotism exists in the minds of many Ghanaians, who prefer needless praise singing to defending the national interests.
The good people of Ghana, unfortunately, witnessed so much scheming guiles, corruption, incompetence, nepotism, cronyism and frequent abuse of power in the erstwhile NDC government, and hence the vast majority of Ghanaians have permanently lost trust in the NDC.
Take, for instance, if not for the Honourable Agyapong’s whistling blowing prowess, the sibling of former President Mahama, Ibrahim Mahama, would have evaded import taxes in the tune of GH12 million. How pathetic?
Thankfully, however, the EOCO ordered Ibrahim Mahama to pay GH12 million as all his previous 44 cheques were dishonoured by the respective banks. How bizarre?
To be quite honest, in recent times, there have been numerous allegations levelled against Ibrahim Mahama. The most damning of such allegations is the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power.
Apparently, the vast majority of Ghanaians decried the nepotistic nature of the agreement and beseeched the government to abrogate the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession.
Consequently, the multi-billion cedi bauxite concession granted to Mr Ibrahim Mahama’s company was revoked in September 2017 after the former Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, had contended vehemently that the contract to Exton Cubic, Ibrahim Mahama’s company, was invalid.
Ghana’s economy, so to speak, took unexpected nosedive after the sudden and unfortunate demise of President Mills.
The late Mills successor, Ex-President Mahama, and his NDC apparatchiks went haywire in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.
As a result, the previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.
Ghana’s economic growth regrettably slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
Ex-President Mahama’s maladaptive government, as a matter of fact, wilfully dragged the economic growth from around 14 per cent in 2011 to around 3.7 per cent as of December 2016.
In addition, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).
Ex-President Mahama, so to speak, did not work his socks off to improve on the socio-economic standards of living. Take, for example, former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008. While the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $47 billion in 2011.
However, President Mahama disappointingly reversed the GDP to an incredible $37 billion as of December 2016. That was indeed a quintessence of gross mismanagement.
Gratifyingly, however, since assuming power, the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides to improve the social mobility through implementation of poverty reduction policies such as free SHS, one district one factory, one million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others.
And despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid unpardonable stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.5 per cent as of December 2016 to over 8 per cent within a short space of time.
In addition, the NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016.
More importantly, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth within a short space of time. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 percent in 2017 compared to 3.7 percent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).
Interestingly, the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 percent and the Services 4.3 percent.
Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector's growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.
However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work 14.4 percent.
The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017.
The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.
The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.
The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).
It is also a step in the right direction for the NPP government to invest judiciously in technology, given today’s global competitiveness amid evolving technology.
It is for this reason that some of us are most grateful to the NPP government for introducing the Digital Address System and rolling-out the National Identity Card to facilitate the nation building.
Undoubtedly, the introduction of the Digital Address System and the National Identification Card will go a long way to facilitate Ghana’s political, social and economic development.
Based on the prudent governance and the current favourable economic outlook, we can confidently state that Ghana is heading towards the right direction under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo.
We must, therefore, take solace in the fact that the Akufo-Addo’s government is tackling the erstwhile Mahama’s government economic mess head-on.
I would therefore like to believe that upon satisfactory performance, the NPP government will most likely break the third-term jinx.
Long live Ghana!