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Opinions of Monday, 24 August 2020

Columnist: Assibid Dauda

Bawumia’s Website Infrastructure a hoax?

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice president of Ghana Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice president of Ghana

‘If they were into music ee, they would have sung hip hop very well paa, hahahahaaaa’.

This was the reaction of a morning show host on Joy Prime Tv to Bawumia’s claim that the NPP was not building infrastructure but building a nation at his Infrastructure Forum on Tuesday 18/8/2020.

The attempt to deceive the people once again by Dr.Mahamudu Bawumia fell flat as he contradicted himself during the delivery and ended up launching the NPP’s ‘online green book’.

The NPP continues to claim the NDC’s green book of achievement is a gallery of non-existing photoshopped projects but have copiously learned from this initiative because among them it is an important novelty. The book has scared Bawumia to run away from infrastructure to shift the debate to building a nation from building infrastructure. Indeed, this is the most important admission of the NPP that they have not, and can never match the infrastructure records of the John Mahama administration.

As usual, he turned the whole exercise into comedy when he dishonestly claimed the infrastructure projects of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is second to none. This claim does not support the reality on the ground. Apart from copying NDC’s projects into their records as theirs, he misled his audience to believe the cost of Mahama Projects were bloated. The Tema Motorway Roundabout, Pokuase Interchange, and Danquah interchange are Mahama projects which were either commenced or had funding secured for them before the NPP came to power. If these projects’ cost is bloated as insinuated then Bawumia needed to check his false facts.

Ignorantly, the Vice President specifically mentioned the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange cost of $260million as bloated. That project cost €74million. Careful research could have saved the comical political quantity surveyor from the embarrassment he is subjecting he and his family members to.

Again, he did not understand the scope of the project properly. This is the largest, most complex four-tier interchange ever built in this country. It has many ancillary projects including the mausoleum and extended anterior roads. Bawumia needed to be schooled to understand these facts to appreciate them. Indeed the feasibility assessment of this huge project alone is enormous. Singing the same song they sing in opposition when they are in government now and have access to all documents about the project is disgraceful. It exposes Bawumia as a plain-faced liar.

Bawumia has, as is characteristic of him, failed to touch on the cream of issues because he knows the NPP will fall flat. Everyone in this country saw the real green book projects thanks partly to COVID-19. The ‘photoshop green book’ hospitals came to the rescue when Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the NPP were overwhelmed by the pandemic.

The University of Ghana Medical Centre and the Bank of Ghana Hospital became isolation centres in the management of severe COVID cases. Ministers of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government such as the Ministers of Health, Education and Regional Re-organization have enjoyed treatment in these hospitals. The NPP government never built a single hospital.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in frustration of his failure promised to build 88 regional and district hospitals only for his finance minister to say later it was not possible as promised.

He summarised the comic show with the claim that his NPP government initiated 17,334 projects and is only able to complete 8,745; about 50% completion rate by their standards. Assuming without admitting these are substantial projects and are wholly initiated by the NPP, the 50% uncompleted with four months to leave power is a failure that should not be celebrated and become the basis to seek votes to remain in power.

The fact that these projects are existing on websites is more deceptive. The old ladies in Walewale and its environs cannot track them on their yam phones. Bawumia knows many will not have time to verify website projects so just trumpeting it will make them believe.

The self-acclaimed digital champion failed to add digital addresses of locations of the so-called projects in the districts. Most of the ‘projects’ listed have no pictures. Compared to the green book, the website is a digital fairy tale.

Many projects listed include Nkrumah time projects like the Volta Star Textiles Ltd at Juapong. Dr Bawumia probably was a fetus in the mother’s at that time. How he achieved this is a modern-day mystery. The NPP’s woeful woeful record in the health sector left him hiding behind the private sector to claim credit for the Infectious Diseases Centre in Ga East.

Shamefully, he admitted the NPP government is only attempting one district hospital in their entire 4-year tenure. Mahama advanced several hospitals in his tenure including the Military Hospital at Afari in Kumasi and the Ashanti regional hospital at Sewuah; the Bekwai Government Hospital, the Amasaman District Hospital, the UGMC, the Bank of Ghana Hospital and many CHPS compounds.

The compilation admitted the NPP inherited 31 major Health infrastructure projects from the NDC; green book projects they claimed do not exist!

Bawumia was not ashamed to admit that their performance in the road sector is abysmal. Besides failing to pay contractors who worked on the numerous Mahama projects, the NPP is rushing to initiate projects which it cannot complete before they exit power.

The Tamale and Obetsebi Lamptey interchanges they boasted of cannot be completed at the end of 2020. The PTC interchange in Takoradi and the Nungua interchange are yet to commence but are achievements being touted. The NPP counts chicken before they hatch; that’s a pathetic reality of their deceptive tactics.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo himself is in the western region claiming he is doing real roads not green book roads. These farcical comments are at best worth ignoring. Road contractors can attest to the facts of the roads projects undertaken by the Mahama administration.

In any case, Ghanaians need to ask Akufo-Addo which road projects he stopped for investigation when he took over power? Why did his government admit it owed the contractors GH¢2.2billion from those projects and promised to pay GH¢1billion but failed to? Where is the investigation report of those Mahama road projects the NPP spent money to investigate for three years?

Stopping completion of Mahama’s projects to claim they do not exist is a mischievous endeavour to throw dust into our eyes. Stealing NDC projects as Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo projects is disingenuous. Bawumia has lost all credibility and has lost any moral authority to speak on comparing records. In less than 4 years, his smart borrowing surpassed over 30 years combined borrowing from Nkrumah to Mahama.

At the end of March 2020, the NPP added a staggering ¢140billion to take the country’s debt stock to GH¢236.1billion, a situation that resulted in our debt to GDP ratio rising to pre-HIPC levels of 63.46%. It is mind-boggling that the government that prides itself in prudent financial management has consumed this colossal debt without tangible projects to show for it. The smart borrowing has turned into borrowing for hot meals.

Then also is the proverbial “one district one factory” achievement. The 189 factories they are touting as achievements are pure deception.

According to Bawumia, only 28 new projects have been completed while 31 are ongoing. Interestingly, the truth is that the completed projects are private self-financing projects which were registered with the 1D1F Secretariat by their owners in the hope of getting assistance but got nothing.

Most of them are Chinese investments which were frustrated with the usual excuse that their requests had to go to Parliament for case by case assessment. To avoid delays and disappointments, the investors went ahead to do their projects for Akufo Addo to commission to get credit.

One would have expected that the rollout of the Free SHS would occupy a large space in Bawumia’s narratives when it came to the education sector. Interestingly, it got negligible attention. Bawumia stated that one school was built with another two ongoings. This was the only thing he could say at a time students are struggling for contact hours due to inadequate infrastructure.

Mahama initiated 200 Community Senior High Schools and completed over 120 of them to support his Progressive Free SHS. Who is more visionary? The rest of their claims are a narration of the continuation of Mahama Projects.

While we can assume that the NPP digital green book is good at intent, the comparisons with the NDC’s GREEN BOOK are self-degrading. More than half of the 17,334 projects Bawumia claimed NPP initiated are continuations or completions of what the previous NDC regime initiated.

So we are wondering if the NPP was ruling with the NDC by 2016. Again the completed projects are not wholly initiated by the NPP hence the figures are false, ill-conceived and of no use in infrastructure development comparisons. The NPP has yet to complete any major infrastructure it initiated. They will be left for the next NDC government from 2021 to complete