On ‘fix the country’ rendition: Has Mahama been vindicated?

John Dramani Mahamathumbnail Former President John Dramani Mahama

Thu, 6 May 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

The beauty of democracy is for the citizenry to register their grievances through peaceful demonstrations and/or squalling, nagging and scolding as they see fit without having to face any repercussions whatsoever.

It is against such backdrop that the social media enthusiasts have chosen to register their grievances by beseeching the government of the day to ‘fix the country’.

It is, indeed, an undeniable fact that we choose to exercise our voting rights by electing a president in anticipation that the said leader will form a formidable government to run the affairs of the country to the benefit of all and sundry.

Of course, Ghana is experiencing stunted economic growth and the social media lovers have their democratic right to shrill and urge the current administration to put things in order.

What the social media enthusiasts are failing to acknowledge though is that the economic meltdown is not Ghana specific, but it is rather ecumenical as the result of the pernicious coronavirus.

Indeed, the socio-economic meltdown is being felt across the globe due to the unspeakable coronavirus.

That being said, the government of the day has the obligation to put policies and programmes in place to impact the lives of the citizenry.

We should, however, not lose sight of the fact that the current NPP administration took over a tattered economic growth of 3.4% and uninspiring inflation of 15.4% in December 2016.

However, the Akufo-Addo’s administration, before the insidious coronavirus, managed to raise the economic growth to around 8.6% and reversed the inflation to 7.5% in a little over two years in office.

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.

In fact, 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 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).

Besides, we acknowledge the painful fact that Ghana has more deplorable roads, 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.

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

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 rational National Builders Corp (NABCO) scheme and thousands more, including

Nurses and Teachers have been employed in the public service.

Absolutely, Ghana’s burgeoning economy may not be reflecting in every Ghanaian pocket, but the encouraging news is that the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken pragmatic steps to improve upon socio-economic standards of living.

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

More so, Ghanaian parents are in a better position today than yesteryears, in the sense that 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.

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.

Over all, 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.

Truth be told, Ghana’s economy received thumbs-up from the likes of the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, and other reputable international organisations, who commended the Akufo-Addo’s government on its excellent economic performance in the two and half years in office.

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

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.”

The next on the list of observers on Ghana’s auspicious economy is the Nigerian scholar, who gave a presentation at the NDC’s forum, in which he emphasised Ghana’s thriving economic growth under the Akufo-Addo’s administration.

The Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde’s observed that the Ghanaian economy, before the pernicious coronavirus, was in a better place than it was in the previous years under John Dramani Mahama’s administration.

Ms Lagarde opined that the Akufo-Addo’s government made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which declined to a single digit and within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five per cent between 2015 and 2018, and, over six per cent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, observed: “Ghana met the targets for halving extreme poverty and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, and it achieved the goals relating to universal primary education and gender parity in primary school.

The seasoned journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr hit the nail on the head when he pointed out on Joy FM’s political show (News File) on Saturday 6/04/2019 that the NPP administration led by President Akufo-Addo has performed exceedingly better than the erstwhile NDC government led by former President Mahama.

Juxtaposing the state of the economy in the first two years of the two administrations, Kweku Baako Jnr aptly concluded that the economy is in better shape under Akufo-Addo’s administration than it was under Mahama’s administration.

Baako Jnr, therefore, asserted poignantly: “There’s no doubt that the Akufo-Addo administration has done far better than the Mahama administration; it’s as simple as that, the figures and the records support it (myjoyonline.com, 6/04/2019).”

In sum, but for the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Ghana’s economy would have advanced tremendously under the able leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

K. Badu, UK.


Columnist: Kwaku Badu