Politics of Friday, 20 January 2017
Having had unsuspecting Ghanaians buy into his lofty promises and sometimes, outright fabrications about the erstwhile Mahama government which led to his resounding victory in last December election, President Nana Akufo-Addo is reported having sleepless nights over how to redeem his mouth-watering pledges.
President Akufo-Addo, The aL-hAJJ gathered, is also fretting over his government’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund, Millennium Challenge Agency and the People’s Republic of China after threatening to review agreements entered into with the immediate past Mahama government.
The then NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, ahead of the 2016 elections warned he will review agreements (the party described as unfavorable to Ghana) entered into with China. The NPP also called to question the 3year Extended Credit Facility Program signed between Ghana and the IMF.
Another of President Akufo-Addo’s headache is the disbursement of the controversial $490 million dollar MCA facility subject to the privatization of Electricity Company of Ghana.
The NPP has openly kicked against the erstwhile Mahama government’s agreement with Millennium Challenge Agency of United during they (NPP) were alleged to have sponsored persons to use the law court to frustrate the program, but to no avail.
Already, the Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation designate, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, has hinted of plans by the Akufo-Addo government to renegotiate aspects of Ghana’s bailout program with the IMF which should end this year.
Ahead of the December 7 elections, the IMF had insisted the programme, which it described then as “broadly satisfactory,” would not be affected should there be a change of government
But after the immediate past Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, in his last press interaction following the elections confessed that government will miss the fiscal target, the Fund appears to have relaxed its earlier tough posture, saying “We will deepen our engagement after the new finance minister has taken office,” according to a report in the B&FT.
The NPP’s often hostile attitude towards these international institutions in opposition, sources in government say, puts the President in a very “dire situation and has kept him thinking how to engage them.”
While leading members of the NPP and supporters are still celebrating the party’s victory after spending eight years in opposition, the president is said to be a worried man. “Nana has been brooding over how to fulfill his numerous promises, particularly those with timelines”, a reliable source close to the presidency told this paper.
President Akufo Addo, the source further explained, “knows it will be very difficult if not near impossible to fulfill most of the promises he made during the campaign and giving how Ghanaians bought into these promises to vote for us, he has been ‘thinking’ of either fulfilling them or be frank with Ghanaians… telling them the bitter truth.”
This revelation comes few days after Managing Editor of the The aL-hAJJ, Alhaji Bature Iddrisu stated on UTV that even though President Akufo-Addo has been happy he won the epic election, he is “mourning inside” due to the challenges ahead.
“Running a government is not the same as being in opposition as this is the time reality hits you in the face. If you look at the promises he (Akufo Addo) gave Ghanaians, he would have no option than to find a way to let us know that most of the things are not feasible,” Alhaji Bature stated.
Confirming Alhaji Bature’s assessment of the situation, an aide to President Akufo Addo confided in this paper that the president and his handlers are suddenly beginning to see the enormity of the challenges the country faces and therefore, “may be difficult implementing some of the policies and programs we promised in the manifesto…the President, I can tell you, is not a happy man at all.”
Among some of the promises that is said to be giving the President nightmares include full implementation of the free Senior High School concept, One district, One factory, One village, One dam, One district, One million dollars, reduction of VAT from 17.5% to 3% for SMEs, reduction of corporate tax from 25% to 12.5%, reduction in utility bills and fuel.
Others are the restoration of trainee nurses and teacher allowances, scrapping of some taxes, free import duties on raw materials, payment of deposits to DKM and other financial institution customers whose monies were locked up, new harbors at James Town and Keta, railway services from Takoradi-Kumasi to Paga and industrial parks for all ten regions.
The rest include, Stadia in Brong Ahafo, Eastern region, Upper East and West, and Volta regions, police hospitals at Bolatanga and Sunyani, two new police training schools, increase compulsory retirement in the Ghana Armed Forces from 25 years to 30 years among other promises.
Revealing that it will be difficult implementing some of the promises, the source said what the President and his advisors have resolved to do in the coming days is “to prepare the minds of Ghanaians that the economy is in a mess and therefore some of the pledges may have to be shelved for the time being.”
Leading members of the NPP have resorted to blaming the Mahama government for bequeathing Akufo-Addo’s government with messy economy.
Speaking at a durbar of Zongo chiefs and Imams at Fadama in Accra over the weakened organized by the Chief Imam to mark the birthday of Holy Prophet Mohammed, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia told the gathering that the NPP government inherited a “very difficult” economy from the NDC administration.
“…We said that when by the grace of Allah we get into government, we will undertake a number of policies and by the grace of God we have gotten into government, we have looked at the economic situation, it is not an easy one, it is a very difficult one but by the grace of Allah we intend to keep all the promises that we made to the people of Ghana.
“You have already seen that we mean business; we are going to deal with the economic challenges, after all, that is what we were elected to do,” Dr Bawumia said.
President Akufo-Addo has in the past few days in office, been busy forming his government with the naming of Ministers and reviewing handing over notes submitted to him by his side of the transition team led by Senior Minister designate, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo.
Both President Akufo-Addo and Mr Osafo Marfo have also been complaining about Ghana’s economy, describing it as not in the best of shapes to demand immediate economic takeoff as Ghanaian’s would have wished.
At a press briefing to announce his last batch of ministerial nominees at the presidency last Thursday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo painted a totally different picture on the economy from what Ghanaians were told by his predecessor.
“Our economy is in difficulty and it is therefore time for all of us to put our shoulders to the wheel, work hard and have the appropriate policies in place that will enable us to lift our economy and bring relief to our population,” he noted.
Supporting the President’s position, Senior Minister designate told newsmen immediately after his announcement as minister that Ghana’s economy is bleeding profusely. “We are extremely, heavily indebted but not poor. The economy is fundamentally very strong. It is the management that has been a problem.”
“Ghana’s budget deficit is currently around 8 percent. A figure higher than the 5% expected under the IMF agreement,” he noted.
But immediate past deputy Finance Minister, Hon Ato Forsons has debunked these claims by President Akufo-Addo and Mr Osafo Marfo that the NDC government left behind a ‘very bad economy’ with debt to GDP rate hovering around 72 percent.
He said if the NPP “continuous from where the NDC left, the suffering of many Ghanaians would soon be a thing of the past.”