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Opinions Wed, 21 Nov 2018

Why NDC cannot be a credible alternative to the NPP government

Interestingly, following their poorly organised, albeit the incident free National Congress, the NDC faithful are harbouring a phantom hope that they are ready to snatch the elusive power from the NPP government.

“History is a lesson in the past but can also be the greatest regret of the future. Yet the reason why there is history is because of the events that were created by man (Hughes 2010).”

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.

Given the circumstances back then, the thoughtful observers 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 adult suffrage, the terrible errors in decision-making and the rampant sleazes and corruption would have wiped out Ghana off the world map completely.

Thus, we can confidently deduce that discerning Ghanaians made the right choice on 7th December 2016 by electing the septuagenarian Nana Akufo-Addo and retiring the middle-aged John Dramani Mahama.

Whichever way you may view the topic under discussion, Ghana has regrettably been in the throes of economic meltdown due to the erstwhile Mahama’s government’s economic mismanagement and the numerous sleazes and corruption.

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.

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.

But in spite of Mahama’s coarse administration, the loyalists NDC supporters would want discerning Ghanaians to believe that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

Let us admit, though, 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 duplicities, 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, but for the Honourable Agyapong’s whistling blowing prowess, former President Mahama’s sibling, 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?

We are also extremely grateful to the former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Amewu for courageously abrogating 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. How bizarre?

Back then, many discerning Ghanaians fretted thy souls with curses and condemnations. And rightly so, the vast majority of Ghanaians contended that such a venture was nepotistic and must not and cannot be allowed to proceed without challenging its authenticity.

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.

According to Mr. Amewu, “The Company was supposed to provide an Exploration Operating Permit for the year 2017, an Exploration Operating Plan to the Minerals Commission. None of the above was fulfilled (dailyguideafrica.com, 24/11/2017).”

The credit must however be given to discerning Ghanaians for rightly voting out the apathetic and licentious NDC government during the 7th December 2016 election and instead reposing absolute trust in the NPP government.

In retrospect, Mills/Mahama government took over a favourable economic foundation laid by President Kufuor and his NPP government.

It must be noted that three years after former President Kufuor’s NPP government had put in dint of effort and discovered oil in commercial quantities, the late President Mills only had the easiest job of turning on the valve at an offshore platform in December 2010 to pump the first commercial oil.

It is, therefore, worth noting that Ghana soon associated itself with the petroleum exporting countries. And believe it or not, Ghana started to export crude oil which boosted the economic growth.

The economy grew favourably from around 8.4 per cent to around 14 per cent by 2011 and Ghana consequently reached the Lower Middle Income status.

Ghana’s GDP grew from $28 billion to a staggering $47 billion by 2011.

Ghana was then cited as the world's fastest growing economy in 2010 (Economy Watch, 2010).

To his credit though, the late President Mills continued to improve upon the excellent economic foundation laid by former President Kufuor and his NPP government.

Unfortunately, however, President Mills mysteriously departed from life in July 2012. And per Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Vice President Mahama was the next in line to take over the presidency.

Bizarrely, things started to fall apart. It went from bad to worse following President Mills sudden and mysterious death.

Ghana’s total debt rocketed astronomically (GH9.5 billion in 2009 to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016). This was as a result of the unbridled spending in the 2012 election and the numerous corruption scandals involving GYEEDA, SADA, SUBA, Bus Branding, dubious judgement debt payments amongst others.

Consequently, Ghana’s economic growth rate was woefully reversed from 14% in 2011 to an incredible 3.7% by 2016. The GDP was shockingly reduced by $10 billion (from $47 billion in 2011 to $37 billion in 2016).

But despite the admissible evidence of mismanagement, the NDC loyalists would want discerning Ghanaians to believe that the erstwhile NDC government provided exceptional governance.

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).

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).

However, since assuming power, the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides towards the improvement of social mobility through the 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.

What is more, despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid stunted economic growth, Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.7 per cent as of December 2016 to over 7 per cent within a short space of time.

The NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016 (GSS 2017).

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).

More significantly, Ghanaians are currently enjoying uninterrupted electricity, reductions in electricity tariffs, low inflation, tax reductions, favourable economic growth, gargantuan savings on the Free SHS, amongst others.

It is also a step in the right direction for the NPP government to invest judiciously in technology, given today’s global competitiveness.

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.

Long live Ghana!

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com
Columnist: Kwaku Badu