I read with extreme horror and bewilderment, the alleged reaffirmation of a renowned Ghanaian scholar who works with the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Dr Ivy Ntiamoah, that Ex-President John Mahama built a vision for the nation and should be given another opportunity to transform the country fully.
In fact, I can hardly abandon my fury in condemnation over the scholar’s weird and somewhat baseless suggestion that Mahama worked his socks off and must be given another chance in government.
My indignation stems from the fact that the scholar in question’s place of work-United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs, hereafter, UN DESA, primordial mandate is to collate and analyse data of member states with the view to promoting the right to development in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“UN DESA generates analyses and compiles a wide range of official economic, social and environmental data and information on which Member States draw to review common problems and to take stock of policy options. One of the Department’s primary contributions is providing policy research and analysis for governments to use in their deliberations and decision-making. Throughout recent decades, UN DESA’s in-depth policy analysis has helped resolve many of the world’s most pressing socio-economic issues (UN 2018).”
Based on the mandate of the scholar’s place of work, one would have expected the erudite scholar to revisit the data left behind by former President Mahama and juxtapose with the current data before coming up with such incoherent suggestion.
The said scholar stresses: “John Mahama built a vision of a unified Ghana, the kind of investments he made was strategic and good for the country’s economic take-off and people may disagree with that, but I think that is what Ghana needs at this point in time.”
Absolutely, the erection of developmental projects is crucial in the nation building. However, praiseworthy governance is not reducible to only the provision of social amenities and infrastructural projects. Suffice it to stress that the implementation of prudent programmes and policies is a hallmark of every smart government.
Well, if the renowned scholar cares to know, it was Ex-President Mahama who opined some time ago that the erection of social amenities and infrastructural projects by elected governments is an exercise in mediocrity as every government undertakes projects when in power.
As a matter of fact, former President Mahama hit the nail on the head. This is because we choose to elect a government to oversee our national affairs. And, we, in turn, are obliged to pay taxes to the elected government to run the country smoothly. In addition, the elected government has our unwavering support to go for prudent loans to support the day-to-day management of the country. In essence, we (the citizens) pay for all the expenses pertaining to the management of the country.
After all, to whom much is given, much is expected. It is worth emphasising that President Kufuor left a total debt of around 9.5 billion Ghana Cedis in 2009. However, our total debt ballooned to around 122.4 billion Ghana Cedis as of September 2016.
This means that Mahama and his NDC government added more than 113 billion Cedis within a short space of seven and half years with a little to show for.
The scholar continues: “John Mahama as President between 2012 and 2016 offered the Ghanaians a new Ghana, they need to give him a second opportunity to accomplish his dream and to fully, transform the country.”
I do not want to belabour the point about how Ghana’s economy was regrettably sunk deeply into the mire under President Mahama’s leadership, but for the sake of balanced annotation, I will proceed anyhow.
Let us remind the astute scholar that during the 2012 electioneering campaign, former President Mahama and his NDC apparatchiks went haywire in their desperation to cling on to power. Thus they broke all conventions. Many government departments spent over and above their allocated budgets.
As a matter of fact, the previously single digit inflation and budget deficit doubled astronomically. The GH9.5 billion debt which former President Kufuor and his NPP government left in 2009 ballooned to GH122.4 billion as of December 2016.
Regrettably, Ghana’s economic growth slowed for the fourth consecutive year to an estimated 3.4% in 2015 from 4% in 2014 as energy rationing, high inflation, and ongoing fiscal consolidation weighed on economic activity (World Bank, 2016).
President Mahama and his maladaptive government left a squeamish economic growth of around 3.6 per cent as of December 2016.
In addition, the high inflation rate remain elevated at 18.5% in February 2016 compared to 17.7% in February 2015, even after the Central Bank’s 500 bps policy rate hikes (the inflation stood at 15.8 per cent as of October 2016).
The aforesaid scholar pontificates: “He is able, capable and innovative enough to look at Ghana afresh and I for one am optimistic that with his leadership, Ghana will be that Ghana which he promised,” Dr Ivy Ntiamoah said in the first detailed interview since her appointment by the world body.”
Let us however point out to the renowned scholar that former President Mahama did not do enough to improve on the socio-economic standards of living. Take, for example, former President Kufuor quadrupled Ghana’s GDP to a staggering $28 billion in 2008. While the late Mills inherited oil in commercial quantities and managed to increase the GDP to $47 billion in 2011.
Disappointingly, however, President Mahama reversed the GDP to an incredible $37 billion as of December 2016.
Moreover, the late Mills left an economic growth of around 14 per cent, but President Mahama managed to reverse the economic growth to an amazing 3.6 per cent.
In addition, President Mills left an agricultural growth of around 7.4 per cent in 2012, while President Mahama reversed it to around 2.5 per cent as of October 2016.
President Mahama also obliterated the late mills “unprecedented” single digit inflation and substituted it with double digits (15.8 as of October 2016).
Based on such abysmal performance, how many discerning Ghanaians would wish to have former President Mahama return to the presidency?
Dr Ivy Ntiamoah stresses: “I will never forget the way Mr Mahama found solutions to the numerous challenges he inherited including the energy crisis.”
It is quite ironic that some economic luminaries do not want to acknowledge the fact that Ghana’s economy under former President Mahama was in an unprecedented mess because a large portion of the country’s resources went down the drain from the unobjectionable mismanagement and the wanton sleazes and corruptions amid the business crippling ‘dumsor’.
With all due respect, it would appear that some individuals with the mastery of economics are living in a denial. They have indeed lost touch with the reality.
In fact, we do not have to look any further than the 2016 general elections results to acknowledge how Ghanaians abhorred the business crippling dumsor which the said scholar is claiming that former President Mahama resolved before exiting power.
You may believe it or not, the fact remains that discerning Ghanaians have overcome their electoral benightedness and are ever prepared to vote on issues, if the just gone election is anything to go by.
The fact remains that the vast majority of aggrieved Ghanaians voted against Mahama in the 2016 election largely due to the unresolved business crippling dumsor.
Suffice it to state that the dumsor has since been contained by the NPP government under the able leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo to the delight of discerning Ghanaians.
The scholar opines: “The man’s vision is what Ghana and most African countries need, such a vision needs everybody to rally around the direction, we as a country or the citizens of Ghana need to get back that pride that we should have that we are Ghanaians.”
How can a visionary leader revoltingly present around 58% of Ghana’s bauxite to his sibling, Ibrahim Mahama on a silver platter?
How can we advance as a nation when the siblings of the so-called visionary leaders, out of impertinent boldness continue to scramble for the resources of the nation as if tomorrow will never come?
What sort of a visionary leader would sanction the 30 years bauxite mining lease which was issued by the Ghana Mineral Commission to Ibrahim Mahama and his partners on 29th December 2016, just a little over one week for his brother’s government to exit power?
If a visionary leader could unjustifiably give apologists like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) two four wheel drive cars and a luxury bungalow (estimated to cost a staggering $470,000) for no work done, then may God help us.
What sort of a visionary leader that would allow the cabal in his government to allocate judgement debt amount in the national budget (around GH600 million) with the view to create loot and share?
What sort of a charismatic leader would supervise the scandalous corruption cases involving GYEEDA, AZONTABA, SADA, SUBAH, the purported $250million debt incurred on the faded STS housing deal, the dubious Embraer 190 Aircrafts and hanger for the Ghana Armed Forces and over a US$100 million oil revenue loss between 2011 and 2013 as reported by the Public Interest& Accountability Committee headed by Major Daniel Ablorh – Quarcoon (rtd.).
Take, for instance, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) estimates that monies lost to corrupt and dubious transactions under the presidency of John Dramani Mahama amounted to GHC5billion.
If we are to take the preceding dreadful errors in judgement into consideration, how could anyone suggest that former President Mahama is a visionary leader?
Visionary leaders are noted for their positivism, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individual consideration (Nemanich and Keller, 2007).
Despite the huge economic mess created by the outgone NDC government amid the unpardonable stunted economic growth, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth from a disappointing 3.5 per cent as of December 2016 to over 8 per cent within a short space of time.
In addition, the NPP government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit from a little over 15 per cent as of December 2016.
More importantly, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth within a short space of time. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 percent in 2017 compared to 3.7 percent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).
Interestingly, the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 percent and the Services 4.3 percent.
Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector’s growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.
However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work 14.4 percent.
The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017.
The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.
The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.
The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).
In sum, the dark days of misinformation metastasising is over, so the inveterate propagandists must cease attempting to throw dust into the eyes of discerning Ghanaians.
Columnist: Kwaku Badu