Former President John Dramani Mahama has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is now feeling the reality of governance, hence its failure in fulfilling its campaign promises.
According to him, the NPP claimed prior to the 2016 general elections that there was enough money in the country for the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to solve all developmental challenges.
He pointed out that contrary to the lofty promises made by the NPP, they have achieved little after one year in office having experienced the pressure and demands on scarce resources.
“When you are outside you think it is easy. I remember [them saying] ‘the money is there’. It is when you come into government that you realise that, yes, government has money but the demands on government on the various sectors are many”.
Mr Mahama further indicated that Ghanaians are now witnessing how a family and friends government operates as government is filled with cronies and persons with blood ties to the president.
Mr Mahama made these remarks on Saturday, 24 February 2018, during the Unity Walk organised by the NDC at Somanya in the Eastern region.
Mr Mahama also criticised government for implementing a broad Free Senior High School (SHS) policy in a haste which has resulted in the programme taking all government resources and stifling other developmental projects.
“The problem this government is facing and it is in their own interest, is that, Free Senior High School is absorbing all the fiscal space they have and so almost every money you have, you are having to put it into Free Senior High School.
So you can’t pay District Assemblies Common Fund, you can’t pay NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme), you can’t pay GETFund (Ghana Education Trust Fund), you can’t pay other salaries and things because all your money is going into Free Senior High School,” he said.
According to him, individuals who cannot meet the financial requirements must be identified and the Free SHS programme designed to meet their needs and “we must adopt a system where those who can afford to pay are able to pay” to free up the burden on the countries resources to be allocated to critical sectors.
“I can afford to pay my son’s Secondary School fees why should you give me free SHS? Identify those who need it and cannot afford to pay and give them bursaries so that they can pay those fees and those who can afford to pay let them go ahead and pay,” he added.