IMANI Punches Holes In Mahama Address


Policy think tank IMANI Ghana has punched holes into the State of the Nation Address delivered by President John Dramani Mahama last Wednesday.

‘The President’s speech sounded more like ideas and less like a strategy in the process of transitioning the country from lower middle income to middle income status,’ IMANI’s communication directorate released on Thursday.

In a review of the President’s address, the think tank – ranked 4 th most influential in Africa for 2013 – said ‘for the President to call the economy of the country ‘sound’ does sound like a slap in the face, to the numerous people who face the loss of their jobs in the mining sector, and the countless unemployed youth, or the industries investing in 100 tankers of water daily in order to keep their businesses afloat.’

Shortage Of Teachers
IMANI however, insisted that in addressing issues such as the shortage of teachers in certain parts of the country, ‘strategies shared by the President were vague.’

‘Statistics such as the present teacher-pupil ratio in urban, peri-urban and rural areas should have been shared, as well as the target to redistribute to these underserved areas; the lack of details conveyed instills low confidence in the solutions proposed,’ it indicated saying, regulators, governmental agencies paid to regulate tertiary institutions, including the private sector, had failed in the execution of their mandate.

Unemployment
On unemployment, IMANI stressed that increasing university enrolment figures is not a solution to the unemployment problem. Rather, the solution first requires the development of realistic and attainable goals for the country, identifying the human resources required to attain these goals, and subsequently boosting education in those areas.

Sheanut & Rice Factories
On SADA and the Western Corridor Development Authority, IMANI said ‘in the 2013 State of the Nation Address, the President promised Ghanaians that his government would establish a Sheanut factory at Buipe, a rice processing plant at Nyankpala and a vegetable oil plant at Tamale, plant five million trees in the Northern regions through the SADA programme and maintain an average 8% growth rate.’ It noted that in his 2014 address President Mahama failed to mention the various agri-processing factories and the SADA programme.

Agriculture, Industry & Manufacturing
IMANI said the President did not update Ghanaians on his 2013 promises of providing 2,000 new tractors, the construction of the Sissili-Kulpawn and Pwalugu dam, the establishment of a College of Fisheries in Anomabo, and the payment of 70% of the world market price of cocoa to farmers as initiatives which his government intended to implement in the 2013 calendar year.

The Cedi
The group said strengthening the value of the Cedi, ‘one of the strategies stated by the President was to begin the production of jute bags in the country. Not only are the gains of such a venture marginal in comparison to the export commodity (cocoa), which the jute bags transport, but he also added that the jute fibres would be imported and then the bags strung together in the country.’ IMANI wondered what value this is to the national economy.

Oil & Gas
IMANI said Ghana keeps discovering million barrels of oil and gas in commercial quantities and asked, ‘How has these been beneficial to the country so far? It added that Mahama should have updated Ghanaians on the ventures the proceeds from these commodities had been channeled into.

Transparency & Accountability
IMANI said the 2013 calendar year ended with a spate of corruption allegations – from SADA to GYEEDA to SUBAH to the Vicky Hamah scandal – but it was shocking that the President failed to mention any corrective measures which his government was taking to retrieve the monies lost to these ‘Ponzi schemes.’

By William Yaw Owusu

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