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Opinions of Thursday, 23 February 2017

Columnist: dailyguideafrica.com

Refreshingly different, full of statesmanship

The majority of Ghanaians, who are financially distressed and impoverished by a sustained period of economic mismanagement, need to be given hope, having lost it and wondering what awaits them tomorrow.

President Akufo-Addo did just that when he engaged his compatriots last Tuesday during his exceptional State of the Nation Address.

Hope is what a distressed people need after going through the kind of political and economic mismanagement the country went through these past years, its painful times never to be forgotten by the victims.

We were not left in no doubt that given the sincere presentation, we can smile that indeed Ghana, which suffered a troubling period of economic stagnation, would work again, especially with a man in a hurry at the throttles.

The wind of the first budget statement by the new political administration has started blowing.

Even the President mentioned that in his address yesterday; a financial assignment which when delivered by the Finance Minister would define properly how the new administration was going to apportion funds for the various projects.

We have observed that financial indiscipline has been the bane of the terrible times we have had to encounter in recent times and how the President has not glossed over it.

It was gratifying therefore to hear the President announced his commitment to pulling the breaks on this counterproductive attribute in our body-politics through various measures.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor, which would soon be a reality in our estimation, would go a long way to provide the necessary compliment in the war against corruption and other forms of financial malfeasances.

They have frowned upon who have benefitted from the spoils of corruption even as this has dragged the country backwards.

Financial indiscipline and corruption, going hand in hand, have punched serious holes in the state kitty, the effects of which affect the ordinary persons who have to endure the fallouts from both direct and indirect taxation.

The previous government’s proclivity to taxation, especially on petroleum products and others, have had telling effects on the general wellbeing of Ghanaians.

We do not doubt the President’s commitment to walking his talk regarding what he intends doing to ensure financial discipline in the country.

Whopping amount of monies has gone into private hands, cronies of top government functionaries, the stories of which have made negative and sickening headlines.

It is amazing that even after so much talk of retrieving these, nothing remarkable has been done in that direction.

It is also appalling that in spite of these economic realities, former managers of the economy would want Ghanaians to pat them on the back for a job well done.

Indeed had their claims been true, we would not have found ourselves here scratching our heads for a way out of the economic quagmire.

With their unsurpassed record of managing the largest volume of funds at their disposal, oil-driven, there is no gainsaying the fact that we are where we are today because of incompetence and mismanagement of the economy to enrich themselves; which they have done ignominiously.

Is it not surprising that in spite of the realities of their mismanagement of the economy, they still have the guts to query the facts when they were laid out in the SONA?

We are delighted, as other Ghanaians, that the President is not sulking about the battered state of the economy but fired up to fix it.

The next time the President is engaging his compatriots on the state of the nation, he would be able to point at the emerging positive results from the initiatives he has kick-started. We wish the president and his team Godspeed.