General News of Wednesday, 22 August 2012
The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Omane Boamah has derided the financial computation on the free Senior High School campaign promise made by the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to Dr. Omane Boamah, Nana Akufo-Addo based his calculations of the cost of implementing the policy on what he calls “an economic fallacy.”
Nana Addo, in his speech at the 3rd Institute of Economic Affairs Presidential Encounter, outlined his policy direction in the education sector, stating that “the cost of providing free secondary school education, which includes tuition, boarding, feeding and all the other charges for the 2013-2014 academic year, is estimated at 0.1% of our GDP. This translates into some GH¢78 million.”
Nana Addo said the figure will rise to GH¢1.45 billion (1.3% of GDP) in 2016, insisting that if the current administration can spend over GHS600 million on judgement debts then the country can find the money to fund the policy.
But in an interview with Breakfast XYZ on Wednesday, Dr. Omane Boamah said the flagbearer of the NPP has hinged his calculation on GDP as though it necessarily translates into financial gains for the government.
“The fallacy is that GDP does not necessarily translate into liquidity for a government and this is what I mean. You know that in Ghana there are companies like Newmont that is not owned by Ghana; Tullow Oil is not owned by Ghana, Anadarko is not owned by Ghana. So when Tullow Oil, they have drilled; Newmont has mined and they have generated the money, it all goes into the computation of the output at the end of the year. It is part of the GDP,“ he argued.
The deputy Minister then asked: “is [Nana Addo] saying that he is going to take that money from the GDP that he is talking about? From Tullow, from the private sector? He should tell them whether he is going to tax them more.”
He said the NPP should have known that an “increase in GDP may not necessarily translate into benefits to government in terms of liquidity.”
Dr. Omane Boamah said the NPP has proven that it cannot be trusted due to the promises made prior to the 2000 elections, many of which according to him, were not redeemed.
He said in 2000, the NPP said in their manifesto that they were going to create jobs for all in the country, but in 2008 when they were leaving office, President Kufuor bemoaned the rate of unemployment in the country after eight years in office.
“Akufo-Addo, unfortunately is taking Ghanaians for a ride. It is not possible, thanks to mass media, for him to take Ghanaians for a ride… Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP have insulted the intelligence of Ghanaians for far too long.”
Citing a news item by the GNA in 2011, Omani Boamah said Nana made empty promises including makeing University education free, but has backed down on such a promise because he has realized his folly.
Dr. Omane Boamah recalled that the NPP promised to provide technical upgrade of chop bars if voted into power but after winning the elections, it became a facade.
Nana told an untruth about NHIS
Dr. Omane Boamah touched on comments by Nana Addo that the NHIS is being collapsed by the NDC administration, saying “for someone who has been out there, one would have expected that his appreciation of the challenges confronting Ghanaians will be much better than he demonstrated. Unfortunately even when he tried to do that, he also didn’t sound convincing.”
“He attributed what I think is an untruth to someone called Esinam and I think that is very, very bad. He said Esinam says NHIS is collapsing… He was pale on specifics in terms of how he will deliver on the issues he has raised in the past… To be very, very diplomatic, I think that he told an untruth somewhere along the line,” Dr. Omane Boamah said.
He said the facts at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) negate Nana Addo’s position on scheme.
“If at the time that we assumed office, the total number of people who were utilizing it in 2008 times their number of cases had given us 8 million and from 2008 to 2011 it has jumped from 8 million to 24.6 million, where is Nana Akufo-Addo getting this notion of NHIS collapsing from?” He asked.
He said In-patent and Out-patient utilizations have all gone up exponentially from 2008 to 2011 and that Nana Addo’s comments are flawed.
“Compare 180 million Ghana cedis claims payment to 550 million Ghana cedis and let Nana give facts and figures to demonstrate that what he said was not untruth and I am restraining myself from saying that he lied to the good people of Ghana through his teeth,” he said.
On the one-time premium promised by the NDC government, Dr. Omane Boamah said government is still pursuing the plan and that cabinet has already given approval for the law to be laid before parliament to bring the policy to life.
He said government has had to grapple with the increase in the wage bill as well as other critical aspects of the economy and assured that government is still bent on making the one-time premium possible.