NPP Punches Budget
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has dismissed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s budget statement, describing it as lacking ‘concrete and credible’ solutions to the socio-economic hardships that Ghanaians are currently enduring.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper, presented Ghana’s 2013 budget statement elaborating a long list of planned projects for the year. However, no specific mention was made on how government intends to tackle the crippling power and water shortages in the country.
Earlier, President Mahama, in his state-of-the-nation address, had outlined similar planned projects.
‘Neither the President’s state-of-the-nation address nor the Finance Minister’s budget statement offered any concrete, credible solution to these dire difficulties Ghanaians have been going through,’ a statement released and signed by the NPP’s Director of Communication, Nana Akomea, on Thursday, said.
The statement, titled ‘Bitter and Deplorable Ghana Despite Huge Expenditures’, outlined the reasons the NDC might be a misnomer for Ghanaians.
According to the NPP, the NDC was easily the luckiest government to rule the country because since independence, it had earned more revenues through loans and oil proceeds than all previous governments, yet this had not translated into better lives for Ghanaians.
‘The last four years of the National Democratic Congress administration have been very disappointing to Ghanaians. In the last four years, the NDC government contracted the biggest loans in the history of this country. The debt stock rose from $8 billion to $18 billion, that is an increase of about $10billion in just four years,’ stated Nana Akomea.
‘The government boasts of a growth rate of about 7.5% for 2012. It is shameful that oil rich Ghana under the NDC is growing slower than the 8.4% growth rate a non oil economy under the NPP achieved in 2008, ‘ the NPP observed, saying, ‘The NDC government has been the only government to benefit from the much sought after oil economy.’
‘Official statistics show that in the last two years, the government has benefitted from extra revenue of $1.5 billion from crude oil exports revenue, however, it had overspent its budget to the tune of GH¢8.7 billion.
‘The big question is, after all of these huge loans, oil revenues, and profligate speeding, what do Ghanaians have to show for? Rationing of electricity (i.e. dumsor dumsor), rampant and perennial gas shortages, rationing of water, acute unemployment, harsh cost of living, and poor state of public services, amongst other have been the lot of Ghanaians over the last several months. On top of all that, we still have GH¢5.4 billion arrears still owed to SSNIT, NHIA, COCOOD, GETFund, DACF, contractors, etc.,’ fumed Nana Akomea in the statement.
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Finance Minister in the NPP regime, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, was predicting more economic hardship, as the nation struggled to find lasting solutions to the shortage in the supply of utilities.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu suggested that the Mahama-led government should rather focus on reducing borrowing and cut down on expenditure. According to him, this would lead to the creation more jobs and an improvement in the living conditions of the people.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran