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Opinions of Sunday, 6 October 2019

Columnist: K. Badu

No thanks mate, I have a mind of my own, I can’t join TPP!

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

I felt really insulted when my long-term friend in the United Kingdom tried desperately to persuade me to join a supposedly social enterprise group, with a descriptive nomenclature, ‘The People’s Project (TPP).

Apparently, prior to my best mate’s fruitless persuasion, I had an opportunity to listen to the convenor, detailing the aims and objectives of the social enterprise group.

I was indeed scandalised to hear the vociferous convenor disclosing, albeit with an impertinent boldness that he intends to gather about three million eligible voters with a view to directing them to cast their votes in a particular direction. How demeaning?

The convenor went on to opine somewhat bizarrely that after gathering such a sizeable number of Ghanaians, he will then invite the leadership of both the NPP and the NDC to persuade the TPP members as to why they should vote any of them into power. How pathetic?

Upon listening attentively to the seemingly confident and ebullient convenor, the immediate question I asked myself was: ‘how on earth can anyone sit aloof and allow an individual to decide and vote on his/her behalf?’

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong for anyone to solicit for votes for his /her preferred political party or candidate.

But there is indeed everything wrong to directly ‘hold’ someone’s hand and point where he/she should place the ballot.

But that said, can we really blame the convenor? I do not think so, because the members have a mind of their own.

Absolutely, no one with a critical mind of his/her own will obsequiously buy into the shenanigans of a patently aggrieved geezer with a non-existent score to settle.

We should, however, not lose sight of the fact that universal adult suffrage is a sacrosanct and exclusive democratic right that should not be given away anyhow.

Make no mistake, the Akufo-Addo’s administration has not completely transformed the life of every Ghanaian.

We cannot also deny or ignore the fact that the NPP government has moved Ghana’s economy from a disappointing 3.4% under Mahama to a favourable 8.6% and 15.4% inflation to a single digit.

It is, therefore, not the least surprising that Ghana’s economy has received thumbs-up from the likes of the seasoned journalist, Malik Kweku Baako, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who have been commending the Akufo-Addo’s government on its excellent economic performance in less than three years in office.

In 2017, the Bloomberg News, for example, predicted Ghana to become “Africa’s fastest-growing economy in 2018 “and Ghana was proclaimed “Star of Africa in 2018 Lenders’ Economic Forecasts”.

And, in reporting on the same fiscal policy achievements, Le Monde pointed out that “Ghana’s economic success is not just as the result of an oil-driven boom, but is also due to prudent economic management, an entrepreneurial population, the role of traditional leaders, and good governance.”

The latest on the list of observers on Ghana’s propitious economic standing is the Nigerian scholar, who recently gave a presentation at the NDC’s most recent forum, in which he emphasised Ghana’s thriving economic growth under the NPP government.

In assessing Ghana’s auspicious economic position, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde, observed that the Ghanaian economy is in a better place than it was in the previous years under the John Dramani Mahama’s administration.

Ms Lagarde thus opined that the Akufo-Addo’s government had made important gains towards macroeconomic stability, including inflation, which had declined to a single digit and now within the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG’s) tolerance band; buoyant growth, averaging about five per cent between 2015 and 2018, and, over six per cent in 2017-18) and a primary surplus in 2017 for the first time in 15 years (IMF 2018).

In the same vein, following his working tor in Ghana, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, observed: “Ghana met the targets for halving extreme poverty and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water, and it achieved the goals relating to universal primary education and gender parity in primary school.

In fact, the seasoned journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr hit the nail on the head when he pointed out on Joy FM’s political show (News File) on Saturday 6/04/2019 that the NPP administration led by President Akufo-Addo has performed exceedingly better than the erstwhile NDC government led by former President Mahama.

Comparing the state of the economy in first two years of the two administrations, Kweku Baako Jnr aptly concluded that the economy is in a better shape under the Akufo-Addo’s administration than it was under Mahama’s administration.

Baako Jnr, therefore, asserted poignantly: “There’s no doubt that the Akufo-Addo administration has done far better than the Mahama administration; it’s as simple as that, the figures and the records support it (, 6/04/2019).”

So how can a certain social enterprise convenor convince yours truly that the GH16598.49 I am pocketing from the Akufo-Addo’s Free SHS as a result of my three nephews who are receiving free secondary school education that such an amount is not enough?

In fact, the other beneficiaries of the advantageous poverty alleviation Free SHS do not need any social enterprise convenor to tell them that they are suffering and therefore they should vote the Free SHS provider out in 2020.

The NABCO beneficiaries are discerning enough to know that they have benefited from the Akufo-Addo’s administration as compared to the previous administration.

Ghanaian traders have a mind of their own to weigh the numerous incentives they have received under the NPP government and make an informed judgement.

The previously unemployed Nurses and Teachers will be the best judges in the near future.

The recipients of the Nurses and Teachers Allowances are well-aware of the Akufo-Addo government’s sensitivity towards the citizenry.

In a grand scheme of things, the implementation of interventions such as Tax reductions, One million per Constituency, One Dam per Village, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, among others, are transforming the lives of the vast majority of Ghanaians.

Given the pragmatic governance being offered by the Akufo-Addo’s government, it is farfetched for anyone to suggest that all politicians are the same when in power.

In any case, there is enough evidence to counter the sceptics who insist that politicians are the same when in power.

Take, for instance, President Kufuor, who worked studiously to move Ghana from the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) status to a Lower Middle Income status when he took over from former President Rawlings in 2001 cannot be referred to as a laid-back leader.

It is well-documented that “during the year 2001, debt as a percentage of the GDP was not only unsustainably high and crippling but also deprived Ghanaians from money which could have been used for needed developmental and social projects”.

The fact though, is, the benefits of the HIPC were “unprecedented during the Kufuor’s regime from (2001-2008).

Macroeconomic indicators begun to stabilize and Ghana’s debt stock was significantly reduced by about $4 billion within that period (BOG).

There were Rapid infrastructural developments as well as social and policy reforms. Ghana was then moved from an HIPC economy to a middle income economy under the Kufuor administration (Mutaka Alolo, 2012).

By the end of 2008, Ghana's economy had been quadrupled to US$ 28 billion, a period of eight years under the NPP. 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 (Daily Guide, 2016).

Disappointingly, however, during the Mills/Mahama’s eight years, they managed to uproot the good foundation laid by President Kufuor and his NPP government.

Take, for example, under NDC government, Ghana’s total debt ballooned from GH¢9.5 billion to a staggering GH¢122.4 billion by the end of December 2016.

This means that about 93% (i.e. GHC113 billion) of Ghana’s total debt since independence was accumulated under NDC government from 2009-2016.

The previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. To be quite honest, Ghana went into the throes of economic collapse due to mismanagement and wanton corruption under the leadership of Ex-President Mahama.

Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing (dumsor), high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).

Moreover, 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 (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).

Besides, President Mahama dragged the economic growth from around 14 per cent in 2011 to around 3.4 per cent as of December 2016.

So who says that all politicians are the same when in power?

As a matter of fact, it would be most unfair to put for instance, Dr Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah and J. J. Rawlings in the same basket and compare their achievements.

For if nothing at all, Dr Nkrumah was a chivalrous industrialist who built hundreds of factories and only for President Rawlings to off load all to his cronies through his somewhat infelicitous Economic Recovery and Divestiture Implementation Programmes.

In the same vein, it would be boundlessly unreasonable for anyone to put President Kufuor and President Mahama on the same pedestal in terms of the implementation of social interventions.

For if nothing at all, President Kufuor and his NPP government pragmatically 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.

Likewise, it will be incongruous to put Akufo-Addo and Mahama in the same basket.

This is because, the former has prudently introduced important policies and programmes in less than three years in power, while the later failed to introduce a single social intervention in eight years.

In addition, under Akufo-Addo’s presidency, Ghana’s economic growth has moved from a disappointing 3.4% under former President Mahama to around 8%.

And the previously double digit inflation (15.8 in December 2016) has been reduced drastically to around 9% as I write.

Would the convenor please be sincere enough and name just a single social intervention that has been implemented by President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks who claim to be social democrats?

In fact, it would only take a disputatious character to challenge the fact that NPP is miles ahead of NDC in terms of prudence governance.

No thanks, Mate, I am not in a position to join the chorus bandwagon because I have a critical mind of my own and cannot allow anyone to dictate the pace.

In sum, Mate, ‘little did the numerous victims of the flamboyant trickster, Charles Ponzi, anticipate that the conman had something up his sleeves.’

My dearest Mate, in fact, with such a history in mind, it would only take ‘a man from Mars’ to convince yours truly to join any mischievous group which does not have a clear sense of direction and purpose.