Politics of Saturday, 18 January 2014
In a year when the cost of living of Ghanaians had worsened, with the country's total debt ballooning from 8 billion to 23 billion government should have spared its citizens the sermons of a phantom better Ghana, Member of Parliament for New Juabeng South has said.
Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah said it was completely unnecessary for government to hold a seminar to tell Ghanaians about its achievements in 2013 when all that Ghanaians saw was suffering.
The President only last week celebrated his one year tenure in office under the theme “One year of responsible, transparent and accountable governance."
His appointees, including Ministers of Communications, Foreign Affairs and Education had taken turns to trumpet achievements of the government in 2013.
The Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa among other things said government was well on track in building 100 model SHS from the 200 module schools promised by John Mahama within his four year reign.
The Communications Minister also touted what he said was the massive infrastructure being undertaken by government.
A day after his ministers chronicled the achievements of government, President John Mahama met with editors and other senior journalists to answer questions on some nagging issues affecting the country.
He admitted there were some difficulties in 2013 but was quick to add that the achievements were also remarkable.
Speaking on Joy FM and MultiTV news analysis programme, Newsfile, the NPP MP for New Juabeng South said the president would have done the country a great service if he spared the country the seminar on his one year.
He said because of revenue shortfalls due largely to reckless spending on GYEEDA, government imposed all sorts of taxes on the citizenry.
Condoms were taxed and so were machetes and other agricultural inputs, he listed.
He said so bad was the situation that government had to smuggle through Parliament a 2.5 per cent VAT increase.
The MP said single digit inflation which hitherto used to be the NDC's chorus of achievement by government appointees appears to have given way because inflation is now 13.5 per cent with its dire consequences on the country.
Dr Assibey-Yeboah said so bad is the situation that all international groups including Fitch, Standard and Poors have downgraded the country from B+ to B, a situation which has made Ghana's borrowing even more costly.
When the host of the show, Samson Lardy-Ayenini repeated some of the achievements chronicled by government, the MP retorted "can we be serious as a country for once?"
He stated the country deserves far more than has been touted.
Information Minister Mahama Ayariga noted that whilst government did not achieve some of its figures it cannot be said there were no achievements.
He said having attained a lower middle income status, the financing of Ghana's developmental projects has suffered.
He said the soft loans and grants that cushioned the Kufuor government were no longer available.
Ayariga said government is embarking on major infrastructural developments including the Bui Dam which have major cost implications.
He was convinced government is on the right track.