$25,000 For SADA Is Insult – Bawumia

DR. Mahamudu Bawumia , running mate to Nana Akufo- Addo for the 2016 presidential election, has described the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s allocation of GH¢400,000 to the five Sahara Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) regions – or an average of GH¢80,000 ($25,000) per region – as an insult to Ghanaians and the people of the SADA areas.

Dr. Bawumia made this point while speaking to students of the Tamale Polytechnic at a forum organized by the Tertiary Education Confederacy (TESCON) – tertiary wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – in Tamale yesterday.

Commenting on the authority, Dr. Bawumia said, ‘The case of SADA is= especially sad with the misapplication of resources meant for northern development by northerners who should have been more empathetic towards their own.

‘The stealing of these monies has a direct impact on the suffering of our people.

Imagine the number of boreholes that could have been constructed, clinics, schools, etc.’

Dr. Bawumia then proceeded to comment on the government’s allocation to SADA for 2015 as contained in the 2015 budget presented to parliament.

‘To add insult to injury, the 2015 budget allocation is GH¢400,000. i.e. an average of GH¢80,000 per region or $25,000 for each of the five SADA regions for 2014. GH¢80,000 or US$25,000 is just about the amount the government spends on building one 3- classroom block. It cannot even build a 6-classroom block per the government’s own figures. This is against a promise of GH¢100 million per year for 20 years for SADA! In fact, the 2014 budget allocation of GH¢400,000 for SADA is an insult to all of us. How will this amount impact on the development in the north?’ he queried.

Touching on the current sorry state of the Ghanaian economy, Dr. Bawumia explained to the students and other residents of Tamale who had taken time to go to the campus to hear him, that the current malaise is the result of the mismanagement of the economy since 2009 and the ‘unprecedented levels of corruption.’

Using concrete data to support his comments, Dr. Bawumia pointed out that since 2009, the NDC administration had accrued unprecedented resources from taxes, gold, cocoa, loans and oil.

‘In the area of taxation, the NDC government has collected a total of some GH¢62 billion in the last six years (2009-2014). In the eight years of the NPP government, the total tax revenue collected was GH¢15.2 billion.

‘The NDC government has borrowed the equivalent of some $27 billion (i.e. the US dollar value of the debt at the time of borrowing) between 2009 and 2014. During the eight-year government of the NPP (2001-2008) the government borrowed the equivalent of some $5 billion,’ he noted.

Continuing, he recalled, ‘Ghana’s gold exports over the last six years under the NDC government amounted to $25 billion. In the eight years of the NPP government, total gold exports amounted to some $9 billion.

‘Ghana’s cocoa exports over the last six years under the NDC government amounted to some $14.5 billion. In the eight years of the NPP government, total gold export amounted to some $7.4 billion.

Indeed, cocoa and gold prices were some 50% higher in the period 2009- 2014 than the 2001-2008 period,’ the renowned economist pointed out.

Adding the oil factor, he said, ‘Ghana has also become an oil exporter during the period of the NDC government. Ghana has exported some $13.7 billion of oil in the last four years.

There were no oil revenues accruing from oil exports during the 2001-2008 period of the NPP government.’

Dr. Bawumia noted that despite these resources, if the country is broke and cannot afford to fulfil basic statutory demands and payments and had had to seek refuge in the IMF, then it could not be an issue of resources but one of mismanagement and corruption, likening the government to an individual who is blessed with so much resources but ends up broke because of mismanagement.

He also informed the audience that the NDC’s recent claims of undertaking so many projects could not be sustained because the data showed that despite all these resources and the added oil revenue, Ghana is now spending a lesser proportion of its income on capital expenditure/ infrastructure than it did before the production of oil.

‘The increase in oil revenues notwithstanding, capital expenditure as a % of GDP has actually been on the decline from 7.1% of GDP in 2009 to 5.2% by 2015. It is in fact, a travesty that Ghana, before the discovery of oil, was spending a higher proportion of its income on infrastructure investment than after the discovery of oil.

He charged, ‘So next time you here an NDC official try to convince you that they have done a lot of projects, remind them that in fact, they have not.’

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