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Opinions of Thursday, 10 December 2015

Columnist: Sefah, Prince Ofosu

Ghanaians should Elect Dr. Bawumia to fix our Economy

NPP Canada has followed with keen interest the recent debate about the country's economy and has come to the logical conclusion that renowned Economist and NPP VP Candidate, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has shown much credibility and readiness to fix the broken economy. Therefore, Ghanaians should give him a chance to do just that.

In advanced democracies, which Ghana wants to emulate, governments are not rewarded with re-elections, such as John Mahama is seeking, with the kind of poor economic performance shown. In fact, from Canada, to Venezuela, to Nigeria and in many places around the world, voters are not tolerating low-performing and/or tired governments.

So, it is interesting to see President Mahama, with a straight face, asking the good people of Ghana to give his party and government 12 years in power, more than even President Nkrumah achieved, because he touts unprecedented infrastructural achievements and says the NPP has internal disunity.

Regarding disunity, it is interesting to note that even in a primary the sitting NDC President just ran in against no one, he only got 95% of the votes. The NPP leader, on the other hand, got 94%, in a competitive primary. The NDC while in opposition and in their first term, had two splinter parties. The NPP has had none.

Anyway, The NPP inherited a GDP growth rate of 3.7% in 2000. By 2008, that had climbed to 8.4%, a steady and impressive period of unprecedented growth. Indeed, under the NPP, the total value of the economy grew from 5.1 to 28.5bn dollars, representing 500% growth even in the face of a global economic crisis in 2007 and without oil revenues. Ghana was transformed from a low income to a middle-income economy!

In 2009, the NDC’s inabilities showed immediately, with a steep decline in economic growth, to 4%. Surely, there was an oil-induced growth spike in 2010 and 2011. However, it has been a story of steady decline again, to the point where by 2014, the decline in economic growth had reached 4.1%. The 2015 provisional figures put growth again at 4.1%. These anaemic growth rates, it should be remembered, are occurring in an oil-fueled economy and with historical government borrowing! Not even Kwame Nkrumah had such resources at his disposal.

Indeed, the fact is that since coming to power almost 8 years ago, virtually all key sectors and measures of the economy have gone downhill or stunted, at best. Here are some examples of the worsened or stagnated areas:

• Dumsor/Energy Supply
• Unemployment, especially Youth and Graduate Unemployment
• Cocoa Production
• Inflation/Price Increases
• National Debts
• Corruption, including Shady and Unprecedented Judgment Debts
• Trainee Nurses' Allowance
• Trainee Teachers' Allowance
• Teachers' Allowance
• The NPP's Universally Touted NHIS
• Workers' Payroll Delays
• Cedi Depreciation
• Costs of Living
• Interest Rates
• Unprecedented Deficit Spending, resulting in another IMF Bailout
• Standards of Living
• Halving of Overall Economic Growth
• The list is truly endless.

Surely, the President can boast of quite a few edifices or projects. However, what the people MUST know is that this government has indeed gone on a borrowing binge, securing unprecedented loans, using our new-found oil as collateral or “Asiwa” and then wasting most of it and our future prospects, with it, as the interest payments grow.

Indeed, most of those loans have been used for pure spending, according to the IMF and, not productive investments to boost the economy or have gone into highly inflated projects such as nearly $30 million just to re-asphalt and light the Kumasi Airport. That amount can provably build a serviceable airport! Portions have been simply looted and shared. Payroll fraud has exploded by over 20%. Fraudulent judgment debt payments such as to Woyome have also exploded.

In fact, the proof of the squandered opportunity can be seen in the NDC’s own recent budget whereby spending on interest payments alone equalled that of infrastructural spending and allocations to 6 ministries, combined. The bills are coming due and our debt repayments will only be increasing in the near future.

So many private sector jobs have been lost due to Dumsor and other economic mismanagement. Public sector job freezes and attritions are in effect. Job cuts and other painful reforms are earmarked conveniently for 2017. If you do not believe me, watch a few clips of the lies told by the President and the NDC, going into the 2012 elections. Even the attempt by Mahama to fix his own Dumsor mess, has him making highly silly rental investments in Power Ships, which many analysts warn, our nation will pay dearly for, for years.

"The promise is to “change lives and transform the economy””. “The reality for most Ghanaians is that the economic policies of this government have destroyed many lives as young graduates are unable to find jobs, people are unable to pay school fees for their wards, people cannot pay for hospital fees, businesses are collapsing, etc." "The reality is that the people are suffering under this government and there is no transformation.” Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

A well-trained professional, who was making about 3000 GHS by the time President Kufuor left office, lost his job. Fortunately for him and unlike many other citizens, he found another job quickly, making the same income. Yet, even he, one of the fortunate ones, told me that due to inflation, his 3000 GHS now is worth only about 1000 GHS!

This is what the next election is about. Are we going to reward the unprecedented Oil “Asiwa” borrowing and new unprecedented oil revenues, for such poor economic results, by this President? Where have all the loans, new revenues from ever increasing taxes and our new-found oil, gone? How come a nine-fold increase in our national debt has rather worsened our economy, while we get drowned by interest payments?

At the rate Mahama is going, will he not bankrupt Ghana, if he is not saved from another 4 years in power? His arrogance is increasing. He is insulting his elders all over the place. Police brutality is increasing. State institutions are being bastardised more and more. Power is certainly getting into his head. Yet the economy remains in tatters.

Surely the President wants to hold on to power, presumably to enjoy its trappings and protect what even the NDC Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin refers to as government of “family and friends”. However, for the nation’s sake, should we rather not give President Mahama and the NDC a break, after 8 long years of power and abysmal performance and, grab the opportunity to elect and Dr. Bawumia the opportunity to resuscitate the suffering economy?

Why should we listen to the paid and/or partisan analysts who say no one can do better? Even Mahama and his friends and family themselves may be relieved, like the PDP and Former President Jonathan seem to be nowadays, if we change them and things get better. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, etcetera, have shown that it takes the right leadership, to get an economy back on track. Surely, we too can do it.

So, instead of getting distracted by expert NDC propaganda, bribes with our looted money, orchestrated internal opposition party conflicts, etcetera, we entreat Ghanaians not miss the opportunity to elect Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia to fix our country and economy. Dr. Bawumia has shown real credibility, work-ethic, knowledge and experience to fix the economic mess. Let’s elect him to fix our economy for us.

Prince Ofosu Sefah.
Member, NPP Canada Communications Team. | +647-977-3753 | |