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Opinions of Saturday, 26 November 2016

Columnist: Badu, K

Re: In spite of ‘war of lies’ country is moving forward - Mahama

I skimmed through with absolute puzzled countenance, President John Dramani Mahama’s electioneering campaign address, in which he referred to the tremendous progress the country has made under his administration that makes him feel proud to be the president of the country (See: In spite of ‘war of lies’ the country is moving forward-Mahama; graphic.com.gh/ghanaweb.com, 24/11/2016).

"This country is moving forward, "he said, and added that in spite of the war of lies waged by the opposition against his government, Ghana's respectability among nations had soared tremendously as a result of the progress the nation had made.”

In fact, it becomes extremely difficult for some of us to overcome our puzzlement, when the prominent politicians like President Mahama keep resorting to vague rhetoric and political inebriations designed to deceive the unsuspecting Ghanaians.

It is indeed heartrending to keep reading such unfounded claims from the corridors of the government, given the economic hardships the same government has wilfully imposed on the good people of Ghana.

Well, politicians like President Mahama, having the first-hand knowledge of their apologists servile acceptance of anything mediocrity, tend to take the unsuspecting followers for granted and continue to manipulate their way to power and then provide them with unsatisfactory leadership.

For if that was not the case, how would a president who has superintended so much sleaze and corruptions which have culminated in Ghana’s economic downslide boast of unprecedented achievements?

Where is the progress when you’ve managed to asphyxiate the once flourishing economy?

Didn’t you inherit a favourable economic growth of around 14 per cent in 2012 and have woefully dragged it back to around a mere 4 per cent as of October 2016? So, where is the progress you are blissfully trumpeting?

What about the GH47 billion GDP you inherited in 2012 and have managed to reduce it to GH40 billion as of October 2016? Do you call that progress?

Didn’t you take over an agricultural growth of around 7.4 per cent and have abysmally stunted growth to around 2.5 per cent as of October 2016? Is that represents progress, in President Mahama’s view?

Besides, didn’t you take over a currency exchange rate of around GH1.65 to 1 U.S Dollar and currently stands at a staggering GH4.00 to 1 U.S Dollar? Do you also call that progress?

"I am proud to be President of this great nation," President Mahama said when he addressed a rally at Zorkuor in the Bongo Constituency in the Upper East Region last Tuesday night.”

Well, I have no qualms whatsoever if President Mahama chooses to express his satisfaction for being the president of Ghana.

But then again, the all-important question we should be asking the supposedly patriot President Mahama is: are you competent enough to steer the nation forward?

In fact, the preceding question has become necessary given the wanton sleaze and corruptions; the dumsor that has crippled most businesses; the Malfunctioned NHIS, the unbridled joblessness; the stiff utility bills; the high costs of living; the uncontrolled Fulani herdsmen menace; the degradation of rural areas due to illegal mining activities etc.

So, it is not entirely correct that Ghana has made progress under the current NDC administration as President Mahama would want us to believe. For, if anything at all, the country has retrogressed.

Take, for example, former President Kufuor took Ghana from Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status to a Lower Middle Income Country when he took over from former President Rawlings in 2001. It goes without saying that President Kufuor took expedient steps and managed to quadruple Ghana’s GDP to a staggering GH28 billion within a period of eight years.

The benefits of the HIPC were unprecedented during the Kufuor’s regime from (2001-2008). Microeconomic indicators begun to stabilize and Ghana’s debt stock was significantly reduced by about $4 billion within that period.

The truth is that, as a result of the HIPC initiative and prudent borrowing, Ghana’s external debt stock actually declined from $6.1 billion in 2000 to$3.8 billion by 2008 (the first time in history).

The average GDP growth of the NDC from 1993-2000 was 3.8% while that of the NPP from 2001-2008 was5.2% with economic growth reaching 6.3% in 2007.

However, we have not made any significant economic progress since President Mahama took over the presidency in 2012. Indeed, if anything at all, the economy has shrunk according to the World Bank 2016 report (currently the GDP stands at GH40 billion as compared to GH47 billion in 2011).

Moreover, President Mahama and his NDC government inherited a total debt of GH9.5 billion in 2009 and the debt has since ballooned to a staggering GH112 billion as of October 2016. Is this the meaning of progress?

Actually, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (15.8 as of October 2016). Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

“President Mahama indicated that access to potable water in the country had increased from 58 per cent to 76 per cent owing to the many interventions the government had put in place.”

Well, President Mahama, have you managed to drive out the lunatic fringe of illegal Chinese immigrants who are forcibly digging our natural resources, destroying the environment, including the water bodies which are the main sources of our drinking water?

In fact, President Mahama, you’ve lost touch with the reality. Just visit the rural areas and find out for yourselves how the village folks are struggling to lay hands on good drinking water.

In fact, a carefully considered reflection by any serious and a committed leadership will acknowledge exactly why the illegal miners activities in our rural areas must be thwarted without delay.

How can a supposedly visionary leader look on unperturbed and allow the illegal foreign miners seize our rural areas, forcibly dig our gold, destroy the environment and worst of all, terrorise the rural dwellers?

Obviously, President Mahama is wholly unperturbed about the seriousness of the destruction in our rural areas, hence his refusal to curb the activities of the unscrupulous illegal miners.

Actually, President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks are more interested in winning elections than improving upon the fortunes of the country, so, they will do everything dubiously possible to win power and then create, loot and share.

K. Badu, UK.