My heart bleeds for Akufo-Addo: It’s not easy fixing NDC’s 27 years economic mess

NDC Flag?resize=713%2C493&ssl=1 NDC flag

Mon, 7 Jun 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

We cannot deny or ignore the fact that during the erstwhile Mahama administration, Ghanaians became fed up with the extremely harsh conditions amid corruption allegations (Bus branding, Brazil World Cup, SADA, SUBA, GYEEDA, SSNIT, MASLOC, NCA, Ford Expedition Vehicle, amongst others).

It was, therefore, not the least surprising that in his last days in government, former President Mahama honestly told Ghanaians that his NDC administration had rapaciously ‘consumed all the meat on the bone’.

Apparently, the former president was conveying to Ghanaians that his administration had engaged in profligate spending and thereby emptying the national coffers.

This means that any government that takes over will have limited funds initially to fix social amenities and infrastructure projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, water, toilets, amongst others.

Disappointingly, former President Mahama managed to uproot the good foundation laid by President Kufuor and the late Mills.

Take, for example, under Mahama’s government, Ghana’s total debt ballooned from GH¢9.5 billion to a staggering GH¢122.4 billion by the end of December 2016 with a little to show for.

This means that about 93% (i.e. GHC113 billion) of Ghana’s total debt since independence was accumulated under NDC government from 2009-2016.

It was also alleged that the erstwhile Mahama administration inflated the cost of infrastructural projects to the dismay of discerning Ghanaians, including the likes of former NDC cabinet minister, Collins Dauda.

If you may recall, the Honourable Collins Dauda once decried the inflated prices and the low quality government projects.

Regrettably, however, a chunk of Ghana’s scarce resources was wasted on dubious judgement debt payments, purported to be around GH800 million, including the GH51.2 million to Woyome, $30 million to the Waterville and $325,000 to Isofoton which resulted in the drastic reduction of capital expenditure, and as a consequence, most contractors were not paid by the erstwhile NDC administration.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the vast majority of unhappy Ghanaians, who regrettably found themselves in the doldrums of poverty, rightly voted against the NDC and Ex-President Mahama in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, largely due to the unresolved business crippling dumsor, the wanton corruption (four out of innumerable suspects have since been convicted and sentenced), and the unpardonable incompetence (moved economic growth from 14% in 2011 to a miserable 3.4% and a single digit inflation to 15.4% by December 2016).

To be quite honest, Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to mismanagement and wanton corruption under the leadership of Ex-President Mahama.

Take, for example, Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity.

Moreover, 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 (World Bank, 2016).

With all due respect, if we fail to acknowledge the painful fact that Ghana’s economy was in shambles under the erstwhile NDC administration, then we are somehow reinforcing Mahama’s assertion that Ghanaians suffer from memory loss.

Let us be honest, it is somewhat ironic that the NDC operatives can now turn around and muster the courage and persistently accuse President Akufo-Addo of not fixing the erstwhile NDC administration’s 27 years massive economic mess in barely 50 months into 96 months mandate.

The fact however remains that the Akufo-Addo’s administration is steadily fixing the huge mess left by the Mahama’s administration.

It is also true that Mahama’s government could not mobilise our revenues efficiently as the likes of former President Mahama’s brother, Ibrahim Mahama, was alleged to have evaded import taxes to the tune of GH12 million.

Besides, it was alleged that the Mahama’s administration wilfully misapplied $175 million loan facility secured in 2012 which was to provide seven district hospitals.

Truly, the good people of Ghana were shocked to the bone when over GH200 million SADA funds invested on trees burnt down and guinea fowls mysteriously flew to the nearby Burkina Faso without a trace.

Some of us, as a matter of principle, would ever be grateful to President Akufo-Addo for graciously preventing Mahama’s administration from shockingly giving away over 58% of Ghana’s bauxite to family and friends just about a week before exiting power in 2016.

Of course, the fix the country bandwagon have every right to urge the government to fix the country., But that being said, it will be quite unfair for the social media lovers to claim that Akufo-Addo is insensitive when it comes to fuel prices, given that in 2009, the NDC administration 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).

In fact, it will be disingenuous for anybody to contend that there is nothing wrong with Ghana roads. Indeed, Ghana has more deplorable roads as a result of habitual lack of care by the successive administrations.

But the good news is that the Akufo-Addo’s government 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.

With all due respect, the critics cannot be entirely correct for claiming that Akufo-Addo is not doing enough to address the unemployment problem in the country.

Indeed, Ghana has unemployment challenges as a result of abject neglect by the successive governments. However, the fact remains that as part of the One District One Factory programme, the Akufo-Addo’s government has facilitated more than 181 factories which are in various stages of completion across the country.

In addition, about one hundred thousand graduates have been given jobs under the innovative National Builders Corp (NABCO) scheme and thousands more, including

Nurses and Teachers have been employed in the public service.

It is also true that the economic growth may not be reflecting in every Ghanaian pocket, but the encouraging news is that the Akufo-Addo’s administration has taken pragmatic steps to improve upon socio-economic standards of living.

Take, for example, the Akufo-Addo administration has prudently restored the Nurses and Teachers Allowances which were regrettably cancelled by the erstwhile Mahama administration.

More so, Ghanaian parents are in a better position today than yesteryears, in the sense that the Akufo-Addo’s administration has judiciously distributed the national resources in the form of Free SHS, which has 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.

You may believe it or not, Ghanaian traders appear much more satisfied today than yesteryears.

Take, for example, the Akufo-Addo’s government has relieved Ghanaian traders of over eighteen nuisance taxes which had hitherto crippled their businesses.

By and large, Ghanaian traders are in a better position today than yesteryears, as the Akufo-Addo’s government prudently reduced benchmark values (30% on cars and 50% on goods.

Let’s face it, in spite of the challenges, the lives of Ghanaians are being transformed steadily through the numerous pragmatic interventions, such as Planting for Food and Jobs, One million per Constituency, One Village One Dam, tax reductions (including import taxes), gargantuan savings on free SHS, amongst others.

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu