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Opinions of Friday, 1 April 2016

Columnist: Baafi, Alex Bossman

I am for change

By Alex Bossman Baafi


The upcoming 2016 general elections are going to be the most keenly contested elections in the annals of the election history of our country. It will be the first time a ruling party is seeking a consecutive third term in office with the president seeking to avoid being a one-term President. These will motivate the ruling party and the sitting president to leave no stone unturned to secure victory.


Since our democratic journey in 1992, no major opposition party has remained in opposition for the third consecutive election years. That will be the drive of the largest opposition party, the NPP to cruise to victory with the determination and hard work. Again this will be the last time the leader of the biggest opposition party would be vying for the highest office of the land and therefore the zeal and passion to work for victory is unprecedented.


Much as president Mahama will go all out to avoid being the first to be one-term President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo–Addo will also avoid being the first to keep his party in opposition for the consecutive third terms. He will also avoid being the first to keep his party in opposition for the third term. He will also avoid being the first to fail for the bid for presidential office for the third consecutive shots. These make our impending general elections crucial for these two leaders, their parties and for that matter the good people of our country.


As part of their campaign messages, Nana Addo and his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia have promised to build people-friendly and business-friendly economy. I believe that is a great vision. It will be a drastic departure from the excessive tax driven and corruption - infested government of Mahama administration.


People-friendly economy means putting people at the center of every policy formulation of the government. As part of running people-friendly governance, the government must invest in social infrastructure in public transportation. Revamping the railway sector alongside mass public transportation must be among the priorities. The government must ensure public safety and the promotion of welfare programmes. Good healthcare and education must be fashioned for the good people of our country. Issues relating to affordable housing could be revisited.


Business friendly government means tax cuts instead of abusing government tax policy by resorting to excessive taxation. It means reducing cost of doing business in our country. It means proper exchange rates management for businesses to do proper planning. It also means keeping inflation low to support the low cost of doing business. The government must also be fiscally discipline. That means not resorting to excessive borrowing to crowd out the private sector from getting access to investment capital. These measures will create the enabling climate for businesses expansion and for that matter creating more jobs for our unemployed masses.


Business-friendly economy would require government also to invest heavily in the energy sector to ensure constant, reliable, efficient and uninterrupted power supply to industry, commerce and small scale businesses. Measures must be put in place to ensure strong and vibrant economy as said earlier with stable currency, low inflation, low interest rates and proper management of exchange rates to guarantee healthy public finances.


There must be certain deliberate policies to boost growth in agriculture, industries and services sectors of the economy to ensure decent jobs for our Ghanaian people. Tax cuts, breaks and exemptions should be carefully introduced to enable the country enjoy investor and consumer confidence and in the process create more jobs for the people of our country. Such policies will let the youth face the future with hope.


To free and reallocate more resources to ensure people and business friendly economy, efforts must be made to fight corruption. Corruption makes governments unpopular and renders their aim of improving the lots of our people to nothing but failure. Government appointees, politicians and people in public services, through means that are illegitimate, immoral or incompatible with ethical standards, milk the state to the detriment of the masses. Corruption such as bribery and misuse of funds had been the bane and hence failure on the part of governments to provide meaningful social services to our people.


To succeed, the Nana Addo-Bawumia government must ensure transparency. It means shedding more light on shady deals, weak enforcement of rules and other illicit practices that undermine the good governance, ethical businesses and society at large. This is critical because corruption corrodes the fabric of society. It undermines peoples trust in any political and economic systems, institutions and leadership. It can cost people their freedom, health, money and sometimes their very lives.


It is for these and other good governance messages promised by Nana Addo-Bawumia in course of their campaign that I am for a change.