Is the Akufo-Addo government doing better? Yes!
Growing up from childhood I was taught one basic thing – give honour where it is due. I have read and listened to recent arguments on social media on the performances of both the Nana Addo led government (NPP) and that of Mahama or Mills-Mahama (NDC). It appears that although we are benchmarking 18 months of Nana Addo and the NPP with the 8 years of the NDC under Mills and Mahama, the general view is that NPP is doing better but the measurement yardstick for both regimes are not same.
First and foremost, one would expect that an 18 month baby is not in any way compared to 8 year baby in terms of who has the most audible voice. But be that as we may want it to be the stark evidence is that the 18 month baby appears to be pronouncing the word ‘Economy’ as is and not ‘Ecomini’ as pronounced by the 8 year baby. This is a clear manifestation that NPP under Nana Addo is doing something new and wonderful than the NDC era.
Maybe as Mr Mahama said sometime ago that Ghanaians ‘have short memory’ we must have forgotten so soon. Can you remember the first 18 months of the Mills-Mahama administration and point to anything that was done that Ghanaians can relate to? Obviously no. I remember the popular phrase used by the media at the time – ‘No single policy direction from Government’. Is that the case today? No.
Today in 18 months we can talk of Free SHS, restoration of teachers and nursing trainee allowances, NABCO, abolishment of 15 nuisance taxes, reduction of electricity tariffs, Digital property addresses, mobile money interoperability systems, fight against galamsey, office of special prosecutor, issuance of national I.D, $100 million dollar fund for NEIP, implementation of planting for food and jobs, paperless port systems, one village one dam, one district one factory, implementation of processes leading to creation of new districts, zongo development fund, establishment of three development authorities, etc.
Additionally, the Akufo-Addo government has changed the economy of this country with huge gains in the area of real GDP growth, reduction in inflation and fiscal deficit, reduction in the rate of borrowing, increased international reserves, stabilized the local currency, attainment of primary balance surplus and trade surplus, reduction of debt to GDP ratio, significant reduction of the bank of Ghana policy rate, etc.
These developments are in sharp contrast to what was witnessed under the first 18 months and even the 8 years of the Mills-Mahama administration. If indeed Ghanaians voted for change then we have had ‘Value for our Vote’ unless we want to look into the faces of everyone and say we want to go back to the era of the NDC where almost every economic indicator took the opposite direction from what they ought to have been. As if that was not enough we wasted the first 2 years from 2009 to 2011 without any significant development but rather a freeze on employment as a result of an IMF programme.
Today, Akufo-Addo after all the tax cuts and social intervention policies has employed over 16,000 teachers, recruited nurses and health service workers who were banned from NDC (about 30,000) of them, paid arrears due teachers that the NDC did not pay, paid the huge debt at NHIS, paid NYEP beneficiaries, and seeking to employ 100,000 graduates from next month. Tell me if the NDC could do this in their first 2 years.
I agree when people say we have not seen the factories and the dams but in all honesty and truthfulness are we expecting a factory built into full structure in 18 months or the beginning of the processes to get them built? Is it the normal practice that with all resources available even Dangote can get a factory built and running in 18 months? I doubt. Rather we have seen government doing the necessary thing by getting private investors show the commitment to sign on to the program with works on some of the factories started. Some are almost near completion and it will only be fair to judge government on the 1D1F policy when his four year mandate is due. For 1V1D I need not say much because whoever is used to the northern regions or has acquaintances there will bear testimony that the dams are being constructed with some completed.
With these few words can anyone point to a major campaign promise by Nana Addo that is not implemented or being implemented? This is not even half way through the four year mandate and it seems almost every promise made by Nana Addo has seen some signs of implementation. This is remarkable given that a lot of people thought the pledges made by the NPP in 2016 were over ambitious. It tells you that if the NPP had limited itself to the uninspiring and unchallenging pledges by the NDC it could have exhausted implementation by now. Nana Addo and the NPP dreamt big and they are delivering big.
Let us also take a look at the monies that the Akufo-Addo government has put in the pockets of people with the social intervention policies implemented so far.
I start with the tariff reductions. Do you know that but for the 17.5%, 30%, and 10% electricity tariff reductions for residential, non-residential, and special load tariff customers respectively, Ghanaians were going to pay about GHc1.84 billion as electricity tariffs for 2018 alone? This also means a revenue loss and cost of GHc1.84 billion to government for the 2018. May be I should give you the breakdown.
- For Residential customers including life line customers the monies Akufo-Addo has put in your pockets is GHc545.6 million.
- For Non-residential Customers it is GHc630 million
- For Special Load Tariff (Low to high voltage) customers it is GHc663.7 million, and
- For Special High Voltage Customers it is GHc3.5 million.
Second, government programmes such as
• Fertilizer Subsidy/Planting for food and jobs
• Subsidy for 2018 BECE
• Free SHS Programme-SHS /TVET
• School feeding programme
• Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme
• Nursing Trainee allowances
• Teacher Trainee allowances
• National Entrepreneurship and Innovation plan start-up support (NEIP) have injected over GHc2 billion in the pockets of people. This is how much Nana Akufo-Addo has sacrificed to pay on behalf of Ghanaians without burdening them.
Third, for 2017 and 2018, if Ghanaians were to pay
- 17.5% VAT/NHIL on domestic airlines
- 1% Special Import Levy
- 5% on Real Estate Sales
- 17.5% VAT on Financial Services
- Import Levy on Spare Parts
- Excise Duty on Petroleum
- 2.5% Special Petroleum Tax Rate
The total expenditure that could move out of the pockets of people amounts to some GHc1.4 billion. This excludes the other 8 taxes abolished or reduced in 2017 for which I have not been able to quantify the revenue/fiscal impact because of data availability.
Fourth, have you thought about the increment in the peace keeping allowance from $30 to $35? Increase in share of DACF paid to persons with disability? These and others in their category have fiscal impact to government to the tune of about GHc54.6 million.
The totality of all the above is about GHc5.4 billion. This is how much Nana Addo has saved Ghanaians the burden of paying in just 18 months in office. Can you imagine the roads, schools, hospitals, ambulances, V8s for chiefs, Hyundai i10s for ladies and journalists, and so on that this amount could deliver if Nana Addo wanted to be populist in his government? He knew all these but yet decided to do what will alleviate the hardships of the ordinary people. This is what we mean by government of the people and for the people. Very soon NABCO will also come on stream and add direct income to the pockets of 100,000 graduates.
The Akans say that ‘we give push to the person who is climbing the tree well’. Truly, Nana Addo and the NPP have begun well and they must be encouraged to do more rather than discouraged. This is just 18 months and it has been an amazing 18 months with first gear. By the time Nana Addo changes to second and third gear we can all imagine what would happen – perhaps the NPP will need a new manifesto.