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Opinions of Friday, 31 August 2007

Columnist: Asante, Francis Opoku

Osafo-Maafo vs Atta Mills; Managerial competency analysis

As credible behind the scenes report indicates that most of the delegates are settling on Osafo-Maafo for the flagberership with the belief that Osafo-Maafo is the man to razzle-dazzle Atta Mills due to the former’s track records in numerous spheres, it becomes significantly imperative that as a democratic nation, we delve deep into the managerial competency analysis of the two Gentlemen within a more scholarly framework approach in the sole interest of the good people of Ghana. The dimensional basis will be in the areas of the economy (which will be the emphasis on the campaign), security, health, social issues and most importantly, whose managerial skills have proven to be positive result oriented enough to warrant him the highest office of the land (the presidency). With no intent to exert any shock waves on the NDC quarters, the performance indicators aspect of managerial competency will be the center stage of our analysis. It is also fair for readers to recognize the acronyms of the two gentlemen, with Osafo-Maafo as “Oseadeeye” or “oyeadeeyie” (meaning, someone who delivers on his promises or simply, a visionary leader) and Atta Mills as “asomdweehene” (meaning a peaceful man or simply Mr. Peace) The acronyms were unanimously awarded them by Ghanaians based on their informal assessments of the two distinguished gentlemen. Oh! How interesting it has become that unlike few years ago, majority of Ghanaians have now come to terms with most of the aspects of democratic dynamisms which has made it possible for such a healthy discussion. To chip in with just a minute digression, multiparty democratic system is so workable in the civilized countries such as Ghana, hence, no one knows why Jerry Boom Rawlings was fiercely against it until finally pressured by the would be powers and internal democratic cohesive force to finally give in to multi-party system. Now back to our competencectomy of the two gentlemen right under plane radar.

(1)DIGESTING THEIR MANAGERIAL COMPETENCE DRAWN FROM PREVIOUS RECORDS

The managerial skill set of presidential candidates is very significant, most especially, as Ghana studiously aspire for some economic renaissance based on the resilience of our current economy which has been possible within less than 4 years by Osafo-Maafo and a concerted effort of the NPP government . Even though, a 20 year trial an error scramble of the defunct PNDC/NDC could not do it. As Osafo-Maafo promulgates his solid records on the economy and many areas which have impacted monumental transformation in Ghana’s economy, Atta Mills disseminates his lone message of “asomdweehene”, his facilitation of VAT’s introduction and his direct supervision of VAT as well. So let’s examine how Atta Mills managed VAT and if it had monumental effect on the economy. VAT (value added tax) was first introduced on March 1st 1995 .The then Vice President Atta Mills was drafted by Jerry Boom Rawlings for his direct supervision. The legislation was presented to parliament on November 11the 1994. Interestingly, disturbing views were expressed by MPs who supported the Bill and those who opposed it as well. I remember that MP for Klowor made a submission, and I paraphrase, if some of us does not return to parliament in 1996, then you must know that the electorates have expressed their disappointment. J.H. Mensah and the likes of Osafo-Maafo called for amendments but their submissions were not taken by the then defunct PNDC/NDC (Remember the majority NDC MPs were 189 as opposed to the then NPP who were in the minority with just 11 MPs). The legislation was hastily passed into act in 1994 (Act486) at 17.5%. Mr. J.H. Mensah then dubbed it “Very Augmented Trouble’ (VAT) because the NDCs lost sight of the unfavorable situation on the ground and did not heed to any advice from the opposition side. The year’s budget had already increased the prices of petroleum and the GPRTU had subsequently increased car fares’ so VAT at 17.5% quickly sky-rocketed prices of goods and services. Ghanaians were therefore overburdened. The then opposition party called for an amendment for the purpose of loosening the burden on Ghanaians or else its abolition. The TUC called for amendment on VAT. Importers, wholesalers, retailers etc also called for amendment. But all to no avail. Alliance for Change (AFC) was formed to call for an amendment or else its abolition. This led to a massive demonstration dubbed “Kumi Preko” (meaning you must as well kill me now) that led to the death of four people who were allegedly shot by the Association of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (ACDRs) .Remember that VAT was under the direct supervision of the then Chairman of the Economic Management team (Prof. Evans Atta Mills). In April 1996, Jerry Boom Rawlings expressed hypothetical concern due to the people’s outcry and external pressure .It was after that when Atta Mills withdrew VAT in his May Day speech on May 1st 1995.If Atta Mills and his “culprits” had adhered to the amendment submission by the then opposition, the first introduction would have been successful. They finally listened and slashed it from 17.5% to 10% for a reintroduction due to an extra-ordinary effort that emanated from the then opposition (NPP). It is on record that the NPP called for an amendment on the part of the provision and not a total abolition until the promised amendments were not forthcoming. So let’s set records straight. The first fiasco was attributed to a poor management, lack of foresight and reckless implementation without recognizing the economic situation of the country as of that time. So the so called tax professor (Atta Mills) couldn’t even manage VAT. VAT was rather refined by the calls from the NPP that was in the minority as of that time.

It is very imperative to realize that Atta Mills’ mismanagement of the economy was also apparent in the Quality Grain Scandal at Aveyime .When as a supervisor of the project he recklessly allowed an African American Teenager (Miss Cotton) to dupe the country to the tune of $20,000 million with other additional cost which led to the implication of some public officials for causing loss of quantum amount of money to the state.

Moreover, Atta Mills as the chairman of the Economic Management Team (EMT), left inflation at a record high of 40.5%, budget deficit of 6.5 of the GDP instead of 1.7% and the negative pattern went on and on. So if a whole tax law professor couldn’t manage VAT, the Quality Grain project at Aveyime, and the economy was in shambles under his watch, then the conclusion is in your hands

Now readers, lets put Osafo-Maafo (oseadeeye or oyeadeeyie) or if you will, the visionary leader under perspective. His track record on the economy and other spheres epitomizes both his managerial skills and visionary skills.

The Honourable Osafo Maafo was hired by President Kuffour as the premier Finance Minister in his first administration to purposely resuscitate the periled economy as at that time and make it more resilient. It was a monumental task as the state of Ghana’s economy was bleak and all the macro-economic indicators were crippled by gross mismanagement of the PNDC/NDC. Hon. Osafo-Maafo took up the challenge and without wasting time instituted prudent economic policies. He efficiently managed and implemented the policies with discipline. This led to Ghana’s current economic success. (1)Hon. Osafo-Maafo first opted for the HIPC initiated and promised for a quicker completion point and he did just that. This led to the cancellation of more than 1.644 billion US dollars owed to the Paris Club. Other debt cancellations followed. This led to a high credit rating of Ghana. Remember how Atta Mills was pushed by Jerry Boom Rawlings to politicize the whole HIPC policy. No wonder his own NDC guys calls him Jerry Boom’s yes man. Thank God and Osafo-Maafo that Ghana can now directly access loans from the international financial institutions without middle-tiers. This reaffirmed his managerial and supervisory skills even dating from the days of the NIB, UNDP, and Nestle etc. A very important point to note is that the honourable stabilized Ghana’s currency against other major currencies. That was a major dream comes through for Ghana (2)Overall budget deficit reduced from 6.5% of GDP to 1.7% of GDP (3) Ghana qualified amongst the first nations in May 2004 to benefit from the Millennium Challenge Account instituted by the United States Government (4) Financial sector reforms including the new banking law and other bills to modernize the legal framework for payment systems, the preparation of an insurance bill and draft bills on money laundering, insolvency and financial institutions Fellow readers, the Honourable’s achievements on the economy are enormous and as such time will not permit me to relay them all to you. However, significantly, the Honourable demonstrated his ability to manage areas that fall outside his area of specialty by successfully leading the black stars (Ghana) to the world cup for the first time. It all underlines the fact that the Hon.Osafo Maafo’s ability to manage, supervise and exert creativity was well felt in all organizations he handled. From UNDP,CIB,ADB,AU,OAU,WORLD BANK,GHANA STOCK EXCHANGE, West African monetary zone convergence council, African Development Finance Institutions, TO THE FINANCE MINISTRY. It is also imperative to note that the Honourable Osafo-Maafo is his own man, unlike Atta Mills who has promised to consult Jerry Boom Rawlings 24 Hrs a day. There is nothing wrong with consulting former presidents on their expertise once in a while but not 24Hrs a day. This re-affirms the notion which emanated from the NDCs themselves in the run up to their congress that Atta Mills will always be Rawlings’ yes man. Ghana needs a visionary leader, an achiever, someone with great managerial skills, a candidate who has been tested and met the test of time. Osafo-Maafo fits in perfectly.

conclusion

It behooves on each and every one of us to educate the electorate for the selection of a visionary leader and to the NPP faithful, educate the delegates to vote Osafo-Maafo for president. With Oseadeeye the future of the NPP and for that Matter Ghana, is bright! KUKRUDU!! ESHIE! RADO, RADO.

Written by:

Francis Opoku Asante (Nana Poku)
Former SRC President of University of Cape Coast
E-mail: nanapoku_2007@yahoo.com


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