General News of Tuesday, 20 September 2016
The Kufuor administration and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) wasted reliefs from the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative on “tiny toilets,” the governing National Democratic Congress’ Campaign Spokesperson, Mrs Joyce Bawa Mogtari has said.
Berating a press conference organised by the NPP flag bearer’s Policy Advisor, Boakye Agyarko, on Monday, which accused the Mahama administration of making Ghanaians poorer and prioritising corruption over citizens’ welfare, Mrs Bawa Mogtari accused the NPP of attempting to paint a rosy picture of the Kufuor administration’s eight years in office as if “candy and butter” run through people’s taps during that time.
“… These were eight years of a HIPC benefit that only gave us tiny little toilets in the wrong places and you can still go round the country and look at them …” she added.
This is not the first time the NDC has levelled that accusation against the NPP and the Kufuor administration. On Thursday, 3 December 2015, Mr James Klutse Avedzi, the chairman of parliament’s Finance Committee said President John Kufuor’s government spent $4 billion of HIPC relief funds on just public toilets.
Mr Avedzi made the comment while responding to an assertion by the NPP that although the Mahama administration has borrowed more than any government in the history of Ghana, not much can be accounted for it.
The NPP’s vice-presidential nominee, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at a press conference to critique the 2016 budget that was presented in November 2015, said unlike the current administration, the Kufuor administration achieved a lot with little resources.
He denied earlier comments by President Mahama that the Kufuor administration was responsible for 41% of Ghana’s $14billion external debt stock, adding that the Kufuor government did much more for Ghana though it borrowed little and had no oil revenues to spend.
"The evidence shows that notwithstanding the massive increase in the debt stock, capital expenditure as a percentage (%) of GDP has actually been on the decline from 9.1% of GDP in 2008 to 4.1% by 2015. Capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP averaged 11% for 2001-2008 (without oil) while that for 2009-2015 has averaged 5.7% (with oil)," he said.
Mr Klutse Avedzi, however, told Ekow Mensah-Shalders on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show that Dr Bawumia peddled "untruths."
"He [Dr Bawumia] also said that by the time they left power in 2008, they had left behind $3.8bn as Ghana’s external debt. If that figure is anything to go by, he should come with the truth and say that it is during that same period that they, as a government, enjoyed $4billion HIPC initiative [funds]. But he didn’t come up with that fact," he said.
According to him, if the $4 billion HIPC initiative funds enjoyed by the Kufuor administration were "added to the $3.8billion, that alone will give you $7.8billion."
"Now the HIPC initiative, what can they point to Ghanaians that that is what they used the money for? HIPC toilets and [they are] there for everybody to see," he said.
"$4billion HIPC initiative is used to build toilets. So, there is an untruth that they have performed very well in terms of contracting loans. You might not borrow enough as we are doing now, because you had $4bn dollars to run the state, to build toilets," Mr Avedzi added.