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Opinions of Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Columnist: Asare, Noah Dugubrame

Does President Mills Has Any Excuses?

Fair Minded people no matter their position on any issue like to listen to the excuses of anybody being accused of a wrong doing before making their conclusions. I am one of such people. I hate prejudice. I always like to weigh the circumstance which contributed to a failure before passing my judgement or even going further to blame. It is obvious that Ghanaians have passed through some serious difficulties since the NDC came to power in 2009 to this day. We have seen our debt running above double what we owed. People living below the poverty line have increased in number from 4 million in 2009 to 7 million this year. Everybody is crying because of high cost of living. Generally more Ghanaians are struggling to feed themselves now than it was when the NDC took over. If all these are true my question is does pres Mills as the overlord of Ghana or the NDC as the ruling party have any concrete reason for these hardships and swelling debts?

If Ghanaians will remeber before the fall of the NPP, similar concerns about hardships were raised by the then opposition NDC. The NPP at that time attributed the hardships to the astronomical increase in fuel prices all over the world and the global economic crisis which brought even economic giants on their knees. It was a reasonable excuse although it was not bought by the NDC who said there were better policies they could have employed to counter that external aggression if they were the ones in power at that time. Now the tables have shifted and the resposibility of Giving Ghanaians a better livelihood lies on them(NDC). I have a few points enumerated bellow that will let us know whether or not President Mills and his NDC governmemt has got any justification for the hardships and debt increases Ghanaians are bearing today.

By the start of 2009 unlike year 2000 when Kuffour inheritted a highly indebted poor economy, the NDC had only 8.1 billion debt to manage. World market price for gold and cocoa had increased favorably. Instead of struggling to pay debts, HIPC in-flow was available to us. Anglo gold shares were on sale and was earning Ghana a lot of cash. It was a year blessed for a good start as a government, but because it was a new government and many things needed to be done, I find it unfair to hold the government for any failures that year.

In 2010 Ghana had similar fortunes; cocoa prices kept increasing. Gold was even more expensive. And then by the end of that year Ghana started benefitting from our oil discoveries. Hipc funds were also dropping in. Our inflation, we were told was already in a single digit. All those two years are gone and I will like us to focus this discussion on where we are now, 2011.

In this year Ghana has generated one of the highest internally genrated funds ever in our History. To start with we have been blessed with an amount of 270million dollars from the HIPC innitiative. Oil prices have increased from $70 to $105.8 which means in oil revenues alone we are earning about $670 million. The one we are told. Most of the oil dealings as confirmed by ISODEC today the 8 of August 2011 are done on the blind side of Ghanaians by the Mills led NDC. Our oil production quantity has increased from 76 to about 87(this is a result of the measurement of our oil quantity by a manual meter in this 21st century). This means it could even be higher. Dont forget the meter was even off for a good lenght of time this year. Cooa prices has jumped from £2,187 to £2,970 a ton. Gold prices have risen from $133.5 to $171.3 per ounce this year.

Besides all these earnings, the unsatiable Mills led NDC increased road tolls, Communication service taxes, green Taxes, environmental taxes, and many other levies. From taxes alone Government is generating about 190 million new ghana cedis.

Inspite of all these, the government has borrowed more than 13billion dollars from outside in just two and half years in power. Projects like the Accra Kumasi Road, the Achimota - Offankor roads. Schools, toilets and drainage facilities accross the country were done by the NPP administration without any loan from outside. The Kumasi - Accra and Achimota - Offanko roads were solely a Government of Ghana project from internally generated funds at a time Ghana had no oil, world economic crisis was hot on every country. Yet in those time the government was embarking on another project for affordable houses planned to be done from our own internally generated funds. Of course which NDC has rejected and rather gone in for the catastrophic STX which will be increasing our debt by some $10 billion upon completion. Here the dramma is NPP was earning less and yet was able to undertake such major projects without seeking loan from outside and NDC is earning this much and yet is going for loans left right and centre. Why?

Again the sale of some shares at Anglo Gold has earned Ghana about 306 million new ghana cedis. There is no need mentioning the 450 million grant from world bank or the $500,000 grant from France and other supports we have received from our friends abroad.

If in just 2011 Ghana as a nation is earning all these monies internally, what is the need for the numerous reckless loans we are taking? Ok, lets say we needed all those monies. Where are those monies gone to? No any kind of support what so ever has reached the ordinary man. LEAP beneficiaries are still recieving the same amount they received from the start till now. Price of everything is flying high. Inspite of the pouring in of all these monies into our economy some 7 million people are considered as people who struggle to feed themselves. People are not able to pay the fees. Companies are turning their warehouses into church halls. No subcidies for our farmers. Workers are being laid off on daily basis. Our indegenous investors are folding up their enterprises. No support from anywhere. The only companies you see around belong to Asians, Europeans and others. Government has not turned his neck into any activity relating to industrialisation as advised by Nana Addo to create employment for the youth.

After having this favours, if the government has still not been able to do anything to change the living conditions of the suffering masses, which excuse will he give us? To me, president Mills has no excuses for his failure to fulfil all the wild promises he made to us. There was a lot of money in the economy and I wonder how he will explain how he used these monies without thinking of the suffering Ghanaian.

All these come to what Nana Addo said in Germany that the way to manage the economy to touch the ordinary Ghanaian is to support the private sector and to add value to our products before exporting them. We can get all this earnings but if we fail to invest them wisely we will still be faced by the same old problems. Ghanaians are still suffering because Pres Mills has not employed any policy that could turn these earnings to the advantage of the ordinary man. Nana Addo's call for industrialisation should have been heeded to.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Noah Dugubrame Asare. Frankfurt, Germany.