New Patriotic Party (NPP) standard bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has promised a ‘new beginning’ as Ghanaians prepare to elect a new president on December 7.
It is going to be a simple decision, either to retain incumbent President John Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) or change them; and ahead of the crucial exercise, the NPP leader is highly optimistic that Ghanaians would choose him and his NPP to form the next government and change the course of development for the better.
“We go to the polls to elect members of parliament and the president of the Republic on December 7. I am honoured to be the presidential candidate for my party, the NPP. We are presenting the country with a manifesto of fully costed programmes that we term, ‘An Agenda for Jobs,’” Nana Akufo-Addo stated in Newsweek, an international magazine, explaining in detail why change is coming to Ghana.
Change For The Better
The article posted on Friday at 4pm stated, “We are hoping to win the forthcoming elections and are determined to do things differently to be able to give our country a solid and sustainable change for the better.
“After 60 years, we have run out of excuses for our poverty and slow rate of development. My party is committed to the establishment of the office of a public prosecutor to reassure Ghanaians that decisions about prosecutions are removed from political considerations.”
According to the NPP leader, President Mahama’s government “has mortgaged our future,” adding that the NDC government had “borrowed heavily against our future to increase spending, but none of it has strengthened our economy, our well-being, or our regional or global standing.
“As attention to African markets expands, we find ourselves competing with other nations we used to outrank. But the good news is that, after eight years, the people of Ghana are looking for change.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said, “How Ghana manages its oil wealth will determine how we are viewed by the world. But more importantly, it will determine what our people think of our nation. On December 7, Ghana has the opportunity to restore hope and set the country on the path of prosperity.”
No Economic Dividend
He said that Ghana is peaceful but under President Mahama, “There are no economic dividends.”
He said youth unemployment had reached alarming levels and that it is the greatest threat to the country saying, “The government has been on a borrowing binge that, if not stopped, will impoverish our nation and its people.
“Nobody would question borrowing to invest, but the IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde has said that Ghana’s large borrowing was not generally used for investments, but was instead used to finance large recurrent spending.”
Nana Addo said the Mahama government has abandoned “all transparency in procurement, and big national projects are contracted out without any competitive bidding,” adding, “There are open accusations of corruption in government that have not been properly addressed. The 2016 Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance cited Ghana as one of the two worst deteriorations in governance in the last decade among African countries.
“Ghana’s economic growth rate topped 14 percent in 2011, but collapsed to under 4 percent in 2014, driven by a sharp contraction in the industrial and service sectors. The Ghana currency went into freefall, inflationary pressures rose and today bank base rates average about 33 percent.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said the best way to describe Ghana’s economic situation currently “is one of wasted opportunities. The IMF predicts that our GDP growth in 2016 will be 3.3 percent – the lowest since 1994. Our GDP growth this year will be the lowest it has been since 1994.”
He said that national borrowing and spending were so out of control that “lenders no longer consider us a good risk,” adding, “As oil output increased, Ghana slid back into becoming a highly distressed indebted country.”
He continued, “We are again dependent on payouts from the IMF, and negotiating national policies and reforms with foreign institutions. Foreign investors have been discouraged by the unstable economic conditions, and by the electricity crisis that has left Ghana with shortages and outages.”
The NPP flag bearer noted that President Mahama, after succeeding the late President Mills, went on a spending spree just to ensure that he continued in office; and it came at a huge cost to the country.
“In order to retain the presidency in the elections, President Mahama went on a dramatic four-month spending spree that tipped the current account deficit into the double-digit zone. He managed a disputed slim electoral victory but the consequences have stayed with us. My party went to court to contest the election results and, as our presidential candidate, I accepted the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in favour of the result and we maintained the peace of our nation.”
He said economic progress has stalled under NDC, in spite of the massive oil discovery by the NPP. “By 2012, as we approached elections, Ghana was having economic difficulties: real GDP growth dropped from 14 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2012, and the fiscal deficit increased from -4 percent to -11.6 percent in the same period due to unbudgeted election-year spending,” Nana Addo recalled.
He said the NPP government under President J.A. Kufuor – under which he served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice and later Foreign Minister – had inherited what he called “a desperate economic situation” from the same NDC, but the ‘brave’ decisions the then government took brought Ghana on the path of economic progress,” to the admiration of the international community.
“As President Kufuor prepared to retire, the then opposition NDC rolled out a clever query during the 2008 elections: ‘Where’s the money in your pockets?’ Their campaign, fronted by then vice presidential candidate John Mahama, was based on the premise that macroeconomic stability did not matter; infrastructure development did not matter; the establishment of a National Health Insurance Scheme did not matter; Ghana halving poverty did not matter; Ghana becoming one of the first countries to meet the stringent conditions of the United States Millennium Challenge Account and signing for a $500 million grant for infrastructure development in 2006 did not matter,” Nana averred.
By William Yaw Owusu