With less than 30 days to the Ghana’s December 2020 elections, the possibility of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama emerging victorious gets firmer by the day.
The consequential goodwill boding well for the ex-president and his party finds traction in the track record of his stewardship in the recent past which has remained topical and in most cases, keeping the score-card of the Akufo-Addo-led government shrouded in obscurity.
The incontrovertible evidence of the superior record of the Mahama/Mills-led administrations in the area of the progressive transformation in the country’s economic infrastructure compelled the Akufo-Addo –led NPP government to engage in a fishing expedition to gather and showcase their MONUMENTAL achievements which ended in the showcase to Ghanaians the mediocrity this government has fed Ghanaians with over their tenure.
The one-cubicle biodigester toilets, non-existent road, school and health projects got officials and supporters of the NPP so embarrassed, they needed to look for some diversion to ease the pressure.
It is interesting, however, to state that, similar to many more ongoing projects across the country, these toilet projects were undertaken under a World Bank-funded project started by the NDC in 2013.
The conspicuous absence of any record by the government in the provision of any meaningful health facilities, educational and trade infrastructure, roads, bridges, and the failure to continue with the critical road, school and hospital projects commenced under the previous government is one of the issues which increasingly firm up the case for the return of NDC and Mahama to office.
In the critical area of economic management where NPP successfully turned the hearts and minds of Ghanaians against the previous NDC rule in 2015/2016, the ruling party’s record has been so fractured, thanks to its senseless appetite for debt, against its own campaign mantra of “sika no wo ha”(the money is here) and “yete sika so, nanso ekom di yen” ( we are hungry while sitting on money).
Any bragging rights envisaged by the NPP government based on the 8.5 percent GDP growth in 2017 and 7.2 percent 2018 is only a mirage, already deflated by the historical facts. Way back in 2015 and 2016 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank had predicated these projected growth rates on the heavy investments made by the Mahama administration, including investments in the new oil and gas fields of TEN and Sankofa.
Sankofa, a predominantly gas field was to serve as the undergirding factor for the solution already found to the energy crisis as it would make gas easily accessible and affordable to the thermal plants built along the coast for power generation. Till date, the NPP government has not been able to provide any details of economic decisions it took in 2017 and 2018 which culminated in the GDP growth figures it hinges its arguments on.
Rather, Ghana’s sovereign debt has risen to over 270 billion Ghana cedis, over the last three and half years, more than double the 120 billion cedis bequeathed to them by all previous governments between 1957 and 2016.
In sharp contrast to what pertained under the NDC/Mahama administration, when the evidence of economic and social returns on these debts were abundantly visible, it is easier now to find a needle in the desert sand than pointing to any tangible economic project undertaken with the huge debt the NPP government has saddled this dear nation with.
The spiraling debt levels have taken Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 76 percent, which is beyond the threshold for HIPC, and a projected 14 percent fiscal deficit for 2020. The country’s debt service (interest payment)-to-revenue ratio is projected at 63 percent by end of 2020 as revenue to GDP ratio fell to 12 percent in 2019.
Furthermore, inflation is still in double digits at 10.4 percent, while Ghanaians have to exchange 5.7 cedis for one US dollar. And as Bawumia did say in his campaign days, “if your fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you,” the exchange rate is exposing the epileptic economic management style of the Akufo-Addo-led government.
Projections by economists point to the fact that if the current debt was to be shared equally among all Ghanaians, each person, whether a labourer, or a university professor, or a destitute, a lawyer, or a banker, rich or poor, would owe nearly 10,000 Ghana cedis.
Meanwhile, the most critical question the media must ask His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, as well as finance minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta is how these huge debts have inured to the benefit of all Ghanaians, to lift them out of the doldrums of the hunger they complained about in 2016, and save nurses, teachers, drivers, hairdressers, etc from the quagmire of suffering Bawumia and Samira complained about in 2016.
This question is critical since the social and economic infrastructure projects which serve as low hanging fruits for all governments around the world to bring a semblance of benefits to the broad masses, have been abandoned by this government.
Talking about human development and human security, every hospital, clinic, polyclinic and CHIP compound project abandoned, represents thousands of lives left at the risk of death, pregnant women left at the risk of complications and death, more still-borne babies, and children under five left at the mercy of infections.
Every school project abandoned represents huge numbers of SHS students who cannot go to school at regular schedules for quality tuition as the nation grapples with the increasing enrolment figures occasioned by the rushed FSHS implementation.
No more schools under trees can be transformed into civilized school structures befitting Ghanaian children whose leaders feed fat on the resources of the state. No more children would be willing to go to school as they see no attraction in school structures that perpetually look more like death traps.
Every road project abandoned under the guise of auditing represents thousands of communities cut off from market centres who cannot transport their farm produce to sell for legitimate incomes. More tomatoes will therefore get rotten, more yam, cassava, gari, agbelimor, garden eggs, plantain will get rotten as a result of these ugly decisions, while businesses slow down by slow-moving traffic, women in labour can’t be transported easily to the health centres for critical medical intervention, leading to unnecessary complications and death.
Abandoned road projects also represent barriers to huge numbers of farmers bitten by snakes and can’t be transported easily and quickly to health centres for medical intervention, and roads that have become death traps for commuters, and the cause of extra unnecessary expenditure on vehicle servicing for users.
Abandoned water projects for communities mean many people in Ashongman Estatesm Kwabenya, Oyarifa, Blekusu, Amasaman, Taifa, Dome, Gbegbeise, Kakasunaka, Ada, etc, Ho, Lolobi, Atwima-Kwaoman, Savelugu, Bunkpurugu, Digengen, Poase Cement, Dambai etc, have to continue transporting water in Kuffuor gallons over many kilometers when treated water could have reached them in their homes, as required under the Sustainable Development Goals if these projects were continued and completed.
Abandoned infrastructure projects also mean, artisans and professionals as well as laborers working on these projects have lost their livelihoods and must go in search of new non-existent jobs.
It also means suppliers of inputs for construction have their supply lines dried up, while many ancillary businesses that depend on the construction sector are plunged into complete destitution.
Every abandoned development project under this government means a contractor has lost his job, and cannot recoup investments made into machinery, staff and materials; cannot repay credit taken from financial institutions, leaving the balance sheets of financial institutions so bad, making them easy preys of intentional and orchestrated collapse by the state, with its attendant loss of savings, investments and jobs in the financial sector.
With the evidence abundantly clear that the Nana Addo-led NPP government has been abysmal in its performance, this is the time radio and TV stations aligned to the NDC and some of its so-called members who benefitted from some “largesse” when the party was in power should do proper professional programming to bare these facts to Ghanaians, who are the jury in-wait for December 7.
It is time these media houses stop playing softball with the failed Akufo-Addo-led NPP government and support the Rescue Mission with all that the space available to them.
Step up the game, guys!!!