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Statement By The Dynamic Youth Movement Of Ghana (DYMOG), An Assessment Of The First One Hundred Days In Office Of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo.
THEME: GHANA DESERVES BETTER
The leadership and entire membership of the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG) extends warm felicitation to all Ghanaians.
The main purpose of this special project is to bring to bear an objective and evidence based evaluation of the first one hundred (100) days in office of the Nana Akufo-Addo led Government.
By far, Government is highly deserving of our admiration for chalking the under listed successes.
- We commend Government especially the Economic Management Team for taking steps to stabilize the Cedi against other international currencies.
- Government has worked with the Central Bank to reduce the Policy Rate by 200 basis points from 25.5% to 23%. This will surely boost lending and business activities in general.
- We commend the President, for giving the Youth enviable slots in his Government. As a Youth Movement we see it as a step in the right direction. Giving the likes of Abu Jinapor, Eugene Arhin and Fatimatu Abubakar the opportunity to serve is highly remarkable.
- We also commend Government for abolishing some Taxes such as the 1 % special import levy, the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on domestic airline Tickets, the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on Bank financial services among others. We admit that these tax reliefs if implemented will benefit those it is targeted at.
- We also commend Government for subsidizing the price of fertilizers by 50%. For instance, the price of Compound Fertilizer (NPK) which was GHC85 in 2016 is now selling at GHC 57.50
- DYMOG also commend Government for putting in measures to reduce inflation to 12.8% for the month of March, 2017. This is the lowest inflation rate since 2013.
- It is important we also commend Government for registering its interest to convert corruption from a crime of misdemeanor to a crime of felony.
Fellow Ghanaians, despite the above mentioned achievements, there are monumental shortfalls exhibited by the Akufo Addo led Government in its one hundred days in office.
- “PROTECTING THE PUBLIC PURSE”
Fellow Ghanaians, running up to the 2016 general elections, then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo promised Ghanaians lots of mouthwatering policies and paramount amongst them was his unalloyed commitment to ‘PROTECT THE PUBLIC PURSE’. His message of protecting the public purse was well trumpeted and a good number of Ghanaians bought enormously into it. This reflected in the landslide victory of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo and it was the expectation of all Ghanaians that the President is going to reduce government expenditure, curb corruption and put to judicious use the scarce resources of our dear Nation. Sadly, a careful analysis of the chronology of events since he assumed the reins of power, clearly points to the fact that President Nana Akufo-Addo is not protecting the public purse but rather draining it heavily in his first one hundred days in office.
Fellow Ghanaians, under this section we will delve deeply into issues relating to;
- The funding for the Ghana at 60 celebrations,
- The large government size of His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo,
- The skyrocketing increment in the rent allowance for members of Parliament and
- Finally, the record breaking budget allocation to the office of the President.
- Ghana at Sixty (60) Celebration
Fellow Ghanaians, it was great news for our Nation to turn sixty and an opportunity for all Ghanaians to be part of the commemoration. At the official launch of the Ghana at Sixty Celebration, it was estimated that the total amount needed for the celebrations will cost a whopping Twenty Million Ghana Cedis (GHC 20,000,000). And I quote His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo on the 10th of February at the official launch of the Ghana at 60 Committee at the Jubilee House when he said “My ambition is to commemorate this anniversary with minimum or no burden at all on the National Treasury”. By this statement, all Ghanaians were of high expectation that the funding for the celebration will be fully funded by the donations from Corporate Ghana. DYMOG can confirm that the donations received from Corporate Ghana are as follows:
Unibank GHC 300,000,
EIB Network GHC 200,000 (worth of airtime)
Express Capital Savings and Loans GHC100,000
Omni Bank GHC50,000
Ghana Chamber of Mines GHC2,000,000
State Insurance Company (SIC) GHC 200,000
GCNET GHC 250,000
Total GHC 3,100,000
These donations were made public and payments were made by Cheque except EIB that came in the form of airtime.
This means that there was a budget deficit of Sixteen Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC16,900,000) needed to fund the Ghana at 60 celebrations. Since the President was very emphatic of not burdening the National Treasury, DYMOG demands the following:
- The source of funding the budget deficit of GHC 16,900,000 for the Ghana at 60 celebrations
- The full list of Donors for the Ghana at 60 celebrations
- Finally, we call on Government to publish the comprehensive Total Income and expenditure report for the Ghana at 60 celebrations, backed with the appropriate source documents like cheques, receipts, invoices inter alia.
As we await Government’s response to this issue, DYMOG can confirm emphatically that Government, through the Controller and accountant General released an amount of Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 10,000) each to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies for the Ghana at Sixty Celebrations. This means Government released Two Million, One Hundred and Sixty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 2,160,000) to our 216 Districts. DYMOG asks, is this amount of GHC 2,160,000 part of the GHC 20,000,000 Budget or not? Fellow Ghanaians there are lots of questions begging for answers and we call on Government to demonstrate undiluted Transparency, Probity and Accountability in this mind boggling matter.
Fellow Ghanaians, there is even a more melancholic side to this Ghana at 60 celebrations. We Ghanaians face the biggest threat to our Environment and Survival. We are talking about illegal Mining (Galamsey). DYMOG is of the unshakable believe that His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo could have abolished the extravagant celebration of the Ghana at 60, with the funds channeled into the fight against “Galamsey” which is leaving the future bleak for posterity. Fellow Ghanaians, this is not anything new, in 2015 President John Magufuli of Tanzania ordered the cancellation of the 54th Independence Day Celebration of Tanzania and this was his reason when he addressed his Nation “it will be shameful to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when our people are dying of Cholera”. What prevented the Government of Ghana from doing same to protect the public purse? Ghana deserves better! In summary, we believe the spending of GHC 20,000,000 on anniversary celebration is misplaced, a drain on the public purse and a breach of the social contract between the Government and Ghanaians.
- The Colossal Size of President Nana Akufo Addo’s Government
Fellow Ghanaians, it came as a great shock to all of us and the international community when the President appointed an unprecedented one hundred and ten (110) ministers of State. Apart from these appointments characterized by duplication of roles and an explicit demonstration of ‘job-for-the-boys’, these appointments have a serious financial implication. This conspicuous implication, which the Akufo-Addo led Government is mindful of, is the heavy drain on the public purse. Fellow Ghanaians, revised salary structure for public holders makes the average Minister earn an average of Fifteen Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 15000). This means per month, the Tax Payers money of not less than One billion six hundred and fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 1,650,000) will be spent on our Ministers Salary. In a year, about Twenty Million Ghana Cedis (GHC 20,000,000) of our money will be needed to pay the Ministers of a “broke” economy like the Ghanaian economy in the words of our President. It is interesting to note that the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo has appointed 30% more than his predecessor, thus 26 more ministers. This implies that the Nation is catering for an extra amount of about Four Billion Six Hundred and Eighty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 4,680,000) in a year and about Twenty Million Ghana Cedis (GHC 20,000,000) in four years if the status quo is maintained. Aside these Salaries, these Ministers are entitled to fuel allowances, state sponsored accommodation, home staff and personal assistants. All these costs will be paid for by the Tax Payer. This means, the more Ministers we have, the more the state coffers is drained. It is therefore astonishing that President Nana Akufo-Addo is draining the public purse by appointing this large size of Government. In fact, it’s the highest in the history of Ghana. Fellow Ghanaians, once again cutting down of Government size is not anything new. Some African leaders have trimmed down the size of their Governments to signify their unrelenting commitment to their promise to protect the public purse if voted into power. Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and John Magafuli of Kenya and Tanzania respectively, drastically cut down the size of their governments to signify ‘change’ when they assumed the reins of Power. Many of us, were highly optimistic that President Nana Akufo-Addo was going to follow this noble precedence of such ‘Public Purse protection activists’. But sadly, the President once again breached the social contract he signed with Ghanaians on 7th December 2016. His elephant size Government will cost the tax payer a lot when we were expecting the exact opposite.
It is important we also reveal, that once a Minister is appointed; he or she is entitled to an ex-gratia package of over Four Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 400,000). This means the whopping amount of over Forty-Four Million Ghana Cedis (GHC 44,000,000) of Tax Payers money awaits to be paid to these Ministers after their tenure of office.
Fellow Ghanaians, DYMOG also wants to uncover the reality that the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo earns a monthly Salary of about Thirty Thousand Ghana Cedis(GHC 30,000). This is double what the former President, John Mahama was earning. Even though this was not fully supervised by the sitting President, we as DYMOG were highly expectant the President was going to reject this quantum payment. President Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America on his post-election TV interview to CBS, pledged to refuse his Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(USD400,000) that comes with his position. True to his words, President Trump has walked the talk and he takes an annual salary of One United States Dollar($I). Even in Ghana, former Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffour Senior, under the President Mills Administration refused to take his Salary.
Fellow Ghanaians, why will a President who describes the economy as “broke” be accepting this salary? In the least scenario, we expect the President, to review the Emoluments of Article 71 holders as approved by Parliament which is even not in tandem with what the Professor Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh Committee recommended. DYMOG highly expected the President, to swiftly review this package with the same swiftness he is applying in reviewing the Ameri deal among others, all in the best interest of the public purse. This has not been done and once again this in sharp contrast to his promise to protect the public purse.
- The Payment of GHC 90,000 as Rent Allowance to Members of Parliament
Fellow Ghanaians, another action of the President that is highly astonishing, is the 90% increment in the rent allowance approved for our members of Parliament. DYMOG keeps asking, is this the “broke” economy we still find ourselves in? An increment from Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 50,000) to Ninety Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 90,000) is highly unwarranted in a “broke” economy and we are highly disappointed the President did this in less than two months in office. This means an exorbitant amount of Twenty-Four Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 24,750,000) will be used to pay the rent of our Members of Parliament annually. Thus in four years the Tax payers of this country will cough out a whopping amount of Ninety-Nine Million Ghana Cedis (Ghc99,000,000) to pay the rent of MP’s under the first term of His Excellency Nana Akufo Addo. Clearly once again, the President has reneged on his promise to protect the public purse. Ghana deserves better!
- Budget allocation to the office of the President
Good people of Ghana, the office of the President, popularly called the Office of Government Machinery has received the highest budgetary allocation in the history of Ghana as a Nation. In the 2017 Budget, the President has allocated a whopping One point five Billion Ghana Cedis (GHC 1,500,000,000) to his office alone. This is double the amount of the previous government which was Seven Hundred and Thirty-Eight Million Ghana Cedis (GHC 738,000,000) in 2016.
Surprisingly, Budget allocations to the Presidency in 2012,2013,2014 and 2015(4 years) if put together is still less than what the President has allocated to his office alone in his first year. It’s also important to establish the fact that this budget allocation is more than 27 Ministries.
So we ask, if the President has appointed 110 Ministers, why does he still allocate this whopping amount to his office? Fellow Ghanaians, the best way to curb corruption and over spending is to reduce the expenditure from the office of the President. Protecting the public purse will have to begin from the office of the President. DYMOG strongly believes, the best way to prove competence is to use minimal resources to produce monumental results. This record-breaking allocation to the office of the President is a clear demonstration of a breach of trust between Government and the good people of Ghana.
- ABOLISHED TAXES
Fellow Ghanaians, in as much as we commend Government for the abolishment of some Taxes, there as some Taxes which Government wants to abolish that comes with serious adverse implications. Under this section DYMOG focuses on the following:
- Energy Sector Levy Act(ESLA)
- The “Kayaye Tax”
- Import Duty on Spare Parts
- Energy Sector Levies Act (ESLA).
Fellow Ghanaians, during the run up to the 2016 general elections, the New Patriotic Party campaigned heavily on the high cost of Electricity bills. Then Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo promised to heavily reduce electricity tariffs. To be specific, Ghanaians were promised that the Energy Sector Levies will be reviewed to provide immediate relief to households and Industry. We remember the popular phrase during the campaign that “the cost of electricity bill is more than rent”. It was the expectation of all Ghanaians, that Government was going to relief them of, the high cost of electricity bills, only to our surprise, there was only a marginal reduction of the Tax rate from 17.5% to 15%. Cost of electricity if reduced, will have a replica effect on households, cost of doing business and finally cost of goods and services. It is therefore so shocking that Government has burst the bubble of Ghanaians since the cost of electricity is still more than rent. We ask Ghanaians, are you relieved of your high electricity bills? Is your electricity bill now less than your rent?
- “Kayaye Tax”
The existence of Kayaye is a perennial social problem. It is a very serious problem that poses a threat to the human resource development of our dear Nation. Kayayes are very active youth who as a result of seeking greener pastures, drift to the urban areas to work as head porters. These Kayayes are vulnerable to all manner of security, shelter and weather hazards. Worse of all, they are not equipped with skills to earn a decent living.
DYMOG commends the NDC Government through the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection for piloting a special intervention for Kayayes. In this Pilot Project, Ten Thousand Kayayes were enrolled freely under the NHIS. Furthermore, Government undertook them through training such as Tailoring, Beads Making, Hair dressing, Tie-and-Die, Masonry, Carpentry among others geared towards equipping these Kayayes with skills to earn a decent living.
One would have expected that, the Akufo-Addo led Government will continue with this special intervention for Kayayes. It therefore comes as surprise that Government is scrapping “Kayaye Tax”. DYMOG believes that scrapping “Kayaye Tax” is an incentive to boom the Kayaye menace thereby amplifying the social challenges it lays on society. DYMOG calls on Government to come out with a clear policy geared towards improving the life of our Kayayes. Kayayes on our streets is a social problem that should be nipped in the bud once and for all and not promoted for political expediency. Our Kayayes deserve better!
Interestingly enough, there is a discriminatory element in abolishing the “Kayaye Tax”. Available information in the grip of DYMOG reveals that, local authorities charge Market tolls as part of their internally generated funds. These market tolls are paid by all persons who do business within the jurisdiction of District Assembly funded facilities such as markets and lorry parks. It is not only Kayayes that pay market tolls. Truck pushers, occupants of stores, traders, commercial drivers among others all pay these Market tolls. DYMOG therefore ask, why single out Kayayes? Are the truck pushers, traders, occupants of stores, commercial drivers not deserving of a tax relief? We believe abolishing the Kayaye Tax is discriminatory and should be extended to cover all.
- Abolished Duty on the importation of Spare Parts
Fellow Ghanaians, the Minister of Finance announced that Import Duty on “Spare Parts” will be abolished. This brought lots of excitement at the localized spare parts industries. However, within the context of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) Protocol; Government in 2012 came out with THE HARMONIZED SYSTEM AND CUSTOMS TARIFF SCHEDULES, issued under the Authority of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Its revealing to know that under this Harmonized schedule, there is no special classification as “ABBOSSEY OKAI SPARE PARTS”. As a matter of fact, the word “PARTS” as used in the tariff schedule refers to parts and accessories of particular classifications of imported goods. Some of these classifications are:
- MACHINERY AND MECHANICAL APPLIANCES; ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT; PARTS THEREOF, SOUND RECORDERS AND REPRODUCERS, TELEVISION IMAGE AND SOUND RECORDERS AND REPRODUCERS; AND PARTS AND ACCESSORIES OF SUCH ARTICLES.
- VEHICLES, AIR CRAFT, VESSELS AND ASSOCIATED TRANSPORT EQUIPMENTS
- OPTICAL, PHOTOGRAPHIC, CINEMATOGRAPHIC, MEASURING, CHECKING, PRECISION, MEDICAL OR SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS; CLOCKS AND WATCHES; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF
- ARMS AND AMMUNITION; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF
The above classifications are just few of the numerous classifications under which it is not clear where exactly Abbosey Okai spare parts fall. This is because the Finance Minister generalized the abolishment of Duty on spare parts.
It is therefore clear that there are lots of spare parts under the classifications of the HARMONIZED TARIFF SCHEDULES that are being imported into this country
and abolishing Duty on the importation of these Parts and accessories will mean that Government will lose colossal revenue to the tune of millions of Dollars. We are confident that ABBOSSEY OKAI SPARE PARTS does not fall under any of the classifications in the 2012 Tariff Schedules. This will pose a huge challenge since before this duty relief can take effect, Government must do a lot of amendment at the ECOWAS level.
Secondly, why should only Abbosey Okai spare parts dealers be singled out? What about importers of other articles enumerated in the classifications? What about brand new spare parts dealers of various commodities?? We want Government to come clear on this abolishment and initiate clear cut policy direction to bring clarity to this matter.
- CAPPING OF STATUTORY FUNDS TO THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Fellow Ghanaians, this is another vital section of our project. In Government’s bid to create fiscal space, government decided to reduce some statutory funds and redirect them to the Ministry of finance. But this strategy of creating fiscal space has its own challenges.
To achieve this, Government passed the Earmarked Funds Capping, and Realignment Bill into Law. This means Government can now reduce and redirect vital funds such as GETFund, NHIS Fund, District Assembly Common Fund among others to the Ministry of Finance.
It is also revealing to note that, a cap will be placed on Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the remainder to be sent to the Finance Ministry.
DYMOG wants to underscore the fact that reducing the funds available to essential sectors like District Assemblies Common Fund and National Health Insurance Fund is highly suicidal. We all recall how the NPP in the run up to the 2016 elections painted a very gloomy picture of the National Health Insurance Scheme. It therefore comes as a surprise that a scheme as vital as NHIS that is “collapsing” will be starved of resources. Does it mean the NHIS was never on the verge of collapse? Or does it mean that indeed the NHIS is collapsed but Government does not prioritize the health of Ghanaians?
All these are questions begging for answers on the mind of all Ghanaians.
- NATIONAL SECURITY
Fellow Ghanaians, Peace is the most priceless resource available to us, as a Nation. DYMOG as a development oriented group is much concerned about the Just enforcement of the rule of law as a solid consolidation of our peace.
The President as Commander-In-Chief, of the Ghana Armed Forces bears the ultimate responsibility to ensure the sanctity and territorial integrity of our dear Nation. It behooves of Government to safeguard the life and properties of every Ghanaian.
Since the New Patriotic Party was declared winners of the 2016 General elections, we have witnessed several attacks on ex-government officials, vandalizing of state properties, government appointees and recently an attack on the Judiciary with impunity.
These reckless and irresponsible rampages, is a threat to the Priceless Peace and sound Security we are privileged to be enjoying as a Nation. DYMOG firmly underscores the fact that an attack, be it verbal or physical on the Judicial Arm of Government is the most powerful facilitator of breakdown of law and order and subsequently of Peace and security of our Nation.
Peace is an indispensable ingredient in any development agenda. Without Peace Government will not be able to have the conducive ambience to govern this nation and subsequently, efficiently and effectively implement its juicy policies like Free Senior High School Education, one district one factory, one village one dam, planting for food and jobs among others.
We therefore call on Government to prioritize the security of this Nation by treating the root cause of these rampages by disbanding these vigilante groups. DYMOG vehemently assert that, it will be in the best interest of Government itself, to disband these vigilante groups and secure the Peace, stability and Progress of Ghana our beloved Nation.
Our Nation Ghana comes first in all matters. DYMOG remains committed to support Government to deliver its mandate to the good people of Ghana.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.
Daniel Blaise Annan Junior