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Opinions of Thursday, 19 April 2018

Columnist: K. Badu

Akufo-Addo is seriously fixing Mahama’s economic mess

Never before had we witnessed so much scheming guiles, sleazes, corruption and unobjectionable incompetence by an elected government.

Given their lacklustre approach to governance, it would be wholly unconscionable for anybody to suggest that to err is human and therefore the terrible economic managers (NDC) must be pardoned and given another chance in 2020.

Dearest reader, how could NDC Members of Parliament knowingly keep double salaries to the detriment of the poor and disadvantaged Ghanaians?

Greed, selfishness and lack of empathy have been the order of the day. It is an illustrative case of ‘every man for himself’.

The unpatriotic and selfish attitudes of the men and women we often put in responsible positions have indeed cost this nation dearly.

In so far as the greedy and corrupt politicians and other public servants continue to steal from the national purse with unabashed disgust, we cannot see any meaningful advancement in our lifetime.

I recall a few months ago, there was a heated political debate between my cousin and yours truly. My cousin, who happens to be a die-hard supporter of NDC, ventured and suggested impetuously that, although, the erstwhile NDC government failed woefully to rescue the distressed economy, the NDC government delivered some infrastructural projects, and hence deserves another chance in 2020.

However, following my cousin’s incautious and somewhat inane argument, I put it to her: ‘what were you then expecting NDC apparatchiks to do for you when you voted them into power in 2008 and 2012?

My cousin retorted passionately and forthrightly that she gave her mandate to the NDC in anticipation that her life would be transformed through implementation of prudent policies and programmes.

But in a state of puzzled countenance, I put it to my cousin: well, my dear cousin, did your life ever transform positively by the NDC government’s much touted slogans -‘better Ghana agenda’ and ‘we are transforming lives?’

My cousin paused for a few seconds, coughed spontaneously and responded morosely by saying that her life and that of her associates never transformed as expected despite the so-called numerous infrastructural projects.

Really! Cousin? I exclaimed in amazement. I posed: so where is your motivation for itching to give NDC another chance in 2020?

My cousin nonetheless sighed deeply, cleared her throat in a rapid succession, and then replied disappointingly that, although her life never transformed meaningfully under the outgone NDC administration, she has been voting for NDC all the time and does not want to depart from such loyalty.

I gave an incredulous stare towards her direction, sigh heavily in a state of utter bewilderment, and then quizzed her: did I hear you right?

My cousin: what do you mean? I retorted: I mean did you mention loyalty? My cousin: yes I did.

Well, my dear cousin, hear me, since that loyalty could not transform your life meaningfully during the NDC’s eight years of empty promises, why then hold on to such a vacuous belief? I enquired in amazement.

My cousin: well, I have been taught by my Pastor to be faithful at all times regardless. No, my dear cousin, debunk such transcendental teachings by the so-called ‘Men of God’, I retorted in absolute disbelief.

I enquired: my dear cousin, tell me, does your Pastor even offer you a meagre portion of the gargantuan church offerings? No. She responded.

I continued: let me tell you then cousin, even the kind-hearted Blessed Theresa of Calcutta would not have kept such unbridled loyalty.

My cousin: But aren’t all politicians the same? So why should I change from one to another?

No. You are wrong cousin, politicians have different levels of competence, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities, so they are never the same, I retorted.

I proceeded: my dear cousin, it would be unfair and incommodious for you to compare for instance, the achievements of Dr Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah to the achievements of President Rawlings.

For if nothing at all, Dr Nkrumah built hundreds of factories and only for President Rawlings to off load all to individuals through his preposterous Economic Recovery Programme.

Similarly, it would be boundlessly infelicitous to compare President Kufuor’s achievements in terms of social interventions to that of President Mahama and his NDC government’s accomplishments during their eight years in office.

Indeed, if for nothing at all, President Kufuor and his NPP government introduced the free Maternal Care, the School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Mass Transport System, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the National Youth Employment Programme, now known as GYEDA and many other social interventions.

In the same vein, my dear cousin, it would be extremely unfair to compare Mills/Mahama’s eight years of average performance to Akufo-Addo’s fifteen months of unprecedented social interventions.

Take my word for it, cousin, it is absolutely true that the outgone Mahama’s government licentiously spent above its means, and, in the process wilfully increased our total debt from GH9.5 billion in 2009 to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.

Believe it or not, cousin, this means that there was virtually no money left in the national purse for the incoming NPP government to turn things around quickly.

Let me tell you, cousin, since assuming power, the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides to improve the ever widening social mobility gap through implementation of poverty reduction policies such as free SHS, one district one factory, one million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others.

And despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 percent in 2017 compared to 3.7 percent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).

“The Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 percent and the Services 4.3 percent sectors.

“Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector's growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.

“However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work 14.4 percent.

“The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017.

“The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.

“The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.

“The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).”

My dear cousin, if you care to know, since taking office, the NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a little over 11 per cent from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016 (GSS 2017).

Cousin, President Akufo-Addo and his government are graciously delivering on their Manifesto promises to the delight of the vast majority of Ghanaians.

Well, my dear cousin, would you be kind enough and name just a single social intervention that has been implemented by your so-called social democratic party? I asked.

Cousin: Well, “I can’t think far”. No. I don’t remember the successive NDC governments ever implementing any social intervention.

You see, cousin, your so-called loyalty is baseless, so, I will beseech you to engage in serious introspection and change your ways, I propounded.

Cousin: You are really making sense more than my Pastor who has been urging me to remain loyal at all times.

I will definitely mull over your poignant message and then make a sensible move during the next election. Many thanks for your incisive counselling my brother.

It is my pleasure cousin. For it is my wish that you depart from your unbridled loyalty, I added.

Cousin: Well, it is my fervent hope that I toss such loyalty, for it cannot transform my life anyway.

As a matter of fact, I walked out of the debate with my head held high, as I somehow managed to persuade my inflexible cousin who has hitherto been clinging on to an apparent hopeless loyalty.

K. Badu, UK.

k.badu2011@gmail.com