General News of Wednesday, 11 February 2015
The Government is sinking Ghana into a life of “hopelessness,” Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has told Ultimate Breakfast Show host Prince Minkah.
“We are getting our priorities wrong – even in the recently approved budget, the corruption we are witnessing in this country – and that we are lending ourselves into that life of hopelessness”, Mensah Bonsu said Wednesday.
The main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) intends going on a demonstration on February 18, 2015 to march against the Government over the worsening power crisis.
The demonstration, christened ‘won gbo’, loosely translated as ‘we are dying’, is to protest against the Government’s handling of the power situation.
Ghana is currently shedding between 440 and 650 Megawatts of power during off-peak and peak periods as a result of a production deficit.
The production shortfall has come about as a result of poor hydrology in the three main hydro-electric power stations – Akosombo, Bui and Kpong – as well as lack of gas from the West Africa Gas Pipeline in Nigeria to supply gas to various thermal plants in the country.
As a result, both domestic and commercial consumers are bearing the brunt of the crisis, which Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor recently promised will end by December 2015.
“As a responsible political stakeholder, the NPP considers it a national duty to bring the deep suffering of the Ghanaian people and the intolerable state of affairs today to the attention of this government, which is obviously incompetent, insensitive and uncaring,” General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong said at a press conference Tuesday February 10, 2015.
“We commence that struggle with a street protest…We call on all Ghanaians of different shades of opinion, including our NDC brothers, civil societies, labour unions, market women, unemployed youth, barbers, tailors, hairdressers etc., to join us on that day in order to send a clear message to the Government that indeed ‘won gbo’ – we are dying,” the former flagbearer aspirant said.
The party said: “The Government continues to show its inability to deal with the energy crisis,” adding that: “When we were leaving in 2009, we bequeathed them with enough generating capacity. So the question cannot be that of generating capacity. It is more of poor management of our power sector.”
According to General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong, “the situation becomes more mind boggling when we consider the massive amount of resources that have been available to this administration over the last six years.
“Between 2009 and 2014, the NDC government borrowed the equivalent of some $27billion, which is more than four times the amount of money the NPP borrowed during its 8 years in power.
“The NDC Government collected Ghc62 billion as tax revenue in the last six years, which is in contrast to the NPP’s Ghc15.2 billion between 2001 and 2008. A similar comparison can be made with regards to gold and cocoa exports. In the same period, 6 years, the NDC has exported $14.5billion worth of cocoa as against $8.7 billion in the 8-year period of the NPP.
“The export of gold in the 8 years of the NPP amounted to $9 billion, whereas, in the 6 years of the NDC, gold export amounted to $25 billion,” the party said, and noted that some $13.7 billion of oil revenue have accrued to the country for the past four years since Ghana started exporting oil.
Apart from the power crisis, the NPP also bemoaned the depreciation of the Cedi by “almost 300% since 2009 when the NDC took over the reins of Government.”
“In addition, Ghanaians today are paying one of the highest pump prices for petrol in the world despite the fact that the world market price has plummeted to below $50.
Apart from the NPP’s planned demonstration, a group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians has also announced its intention to go on a similar demonstration on Independence Day March 6. The Police have, however, said that date is not appropriate. Similarly, pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) is going on a similar demonstration.