The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has made a strong case for the retention of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in office ahead of next month's election.
At a characteristic, data-ladden presentation Thursday night [November 26, 2020] at the University of Ghana in Accra, Dr. Bawumia told the Akufo-Addo government's story, taking his audience and Ghanaians through a trajectory of the challenges Ghanaians faced under former President John Mahama, the "dire" economic conditions the Akufo-Addo government inherited from the Mahama-led NDC, the key promises the NPP made in 2016, the successful programmes and interventions in the last four years by the Akufo-Addo government, as well as its vision beyond 2021.
Economic challenges under Mahama
Dr. Bawumia set the tone for his presentation by recalling the mismanagement of the economy and its accompanying harsh conditions that had hit the country under the administration of former President Mahama.
"I am aware you need no reminders of the dire economic conditions at the time we came into office. You lived and breathed it, and bore the human cost of the economic mismanagement that was visited upon us by the Mahama-led NDC government," Dr. Bawumia said.
The Vice President reminded Ghanaians about the many challenges, which included: growing unemployment leading to the formation of Unemployed Graduates Association, the effects of four years of 'dumsor' which led to job losses, high electricity tarrifs, collapsing NHIS and ambulance service, lack of basic facilities like textbooks and chalks in public schools, cancellation of nursing and teacher trainee allowance, backlog of unemployed nurses, non payment of teachers, burdensome taxes and what he said were series of scandals.
"It was clear that the Mahama-led NDC government had lost its way, failed Ghanaians, and did not have any idea how to get us out of the ditch it has driven us into."
Akufo-Addo govt's 2017-2021 governance blueprint
Dr. Bawumia noted that having been overwhelmingly voted for by Ghanaians in 2016, the Akufo-Addo government set out to roll back the human cost of the economic mismanagement by the previous government and to create the foundation for an inclusive, prosperous Ghana.
The Vice President added that the Akufo-Addo government's vision was broadly anchored on seven objectives, which he said were to: "stabilise and grow the economy, transform the economy, create jobs, especially for the youth, modernise, digitise and formalise the economy, make development inclusive and protect the vulnerable, fight corruption and create a safe, secure environment for citizens and businesses to thrive."
Promises fulfilled by Akufo-Addo in 4 years
Having stated the Akufo-Addo government's governance blue print for its first term, Dr. Bawumia then provided in detail, how the government has achieved its seven six stated objectives and how they have positively impacted on the people.
On the first policy objective, which was to stabilise and grow the economy, Dr. Bawumia noted that before Coronavirus devasted the world's economy this year, the Akufo-Addo Addo government had achieved it objective of stabilising and growing the economy it inherited from the NDC.
"Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic which has impacted all economies in the world, we established the economy. We reduced inflation, doubled economic growth in our first three years, reduced the rate of exchange rate depreciation; the exchange rate depreciation stabilized with Ghana recording the lowest depreciation in the last 28."
"We have also reduced the fiscal deficit (pre covid-19), improved our external payments position, which is stronger today than it was in 2016 (notwithstanding the pandemic). Interest rates are on the decline in line with decline inflation expectations.
The Vice President also referenced the clean up of the "mess in the financial sector that we inherited," including government's decision to pay up to 50,000 to all customers of affected Fund Management Companies on "compassionate grounds".
"We took the decisive decisions to avoid the collapse of the financial sector, save the deposits of 4.6 million depositors and save jobs. Thus far, government has spent GH¢21 billion to clean up the sector. 99% of depositors of the affected banks, microfinance and savings and loans companies have been fully settled."
The Vice President noted that the impressive performance of the Akufo-Addo government, led to Ghana becoming the investment destination of choice in West Africa and has led to new opportunities for Ghanaians and businesses.
"The relatively strong performance of the economy, among other things, led to Ghana becoming the destination of choice for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in West Africa according to the 2019 World Investment Report by UNCTAD."
Just two days ago, Bloomberg reported ad follows: "Ghana was one if the first countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to lower interest rates to counter the virus shock and its economy has performed better than forecast even as the pandemic stalled activity and the oil price slumped."
Transforming the economy beyond stability
Dr. Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo government did not only seek to stabilize the economy, but they also took steps to transform the nature of the economy by improving agriculture productivity to reduce dependence on food import, add value to raw materials through industrialisation and reduce the cost of energy and of running businesses and industries in Ghana.
"These we have achieved through Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development and Rearing for Food and Jobs. PFJ has led to a 71% increase in the national production of maize and 34% in paddy rice. Yields per hectare of maize, rice, and soybean have also increased significantly and we now export 19 different food items, including maize, to the rest of ECOWAS countries."
"Again through One District One Factory and Strategic Anchor initiatives, we are adding value to our raw materials through industrialisation. In four years, 76 companies are in operation and a total of 107 1D1F factories are also under construction. We expect every district to have a factory in the next 2 years."
"We have also abolished or reduced 15 taxes and levies to reduce the burden of taxes on businesses and individuals. This is unprecedented in the history of economic management in Ghana."
"We have also reduced electricity tarrifs for residential, business and industrial customers. No government in the history of Gjana has reduced electricity tarrifs in net terms during its term of office."
Jobs for the youth
Vice President Bawumia said, the Akufo-Addo government took the "bull by the horns" to address the major unemployment challenge the youth faced during Mahama's administration.
"In 4 years, we have created over two million jobs in the formal sector, including and through government programmes such as NABCO, (100,000 jobs to unemployed graduates), NEIP, and Planting for Food and Jobs."
"We have also hired nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers, recruited new teachers, police officers, and many others in the public sector after many years of employment freeze under the previous government."
Modernised and digitised economy
Dr. Bawumia also highlighted the fulfillment of the objective by the Akufo-Addo government to modernise, digitise and formalised the Ghanaian economy, which he said was largely informal.
He revealed that when they came into office, "Over 90% of Ghanaians had no unique identity, there was no working address system, over 70% of the bankable public had no bank accounts, most transactions were cash based, less than 10% had Tax Identification Numbers, and clearing goods at the port, obtaining a driver's license, passpirt, renewing your NHIS card, purchasing electricity units, obtaining birth certificates," and many others, were manual and became breeding grounds for corruption as bribes were demanded.
He said the Akufo-Addo government "made the strategic decision to address these chronic problems by digitising the Ghanaian economy as well as the prices of delivery of many government services to increase government revenue, eliminate corruption and ultimately provide public services to citizens more efficiently and more conveniently."
Dr. Bawumia noted further that with the successful issuance of digitised national ID cards to 15.5m Ghanaians in 4 years, the implementation of mobile money interoperability, digital address system and the digitisation of various government services, the Akufo-Addo government has made significant strides in its digitisation agenda.
Dr. Bawumia also showed in detail how the Akufo-Addo government has addressed the exclusion of many communities and citizens from the "proverbial national cake".
He said in fulfillment of his promise to build a Ghana that works and gives each and every one opportunities, President Akufo-Addo has spread infrastructure development projects to every district in the country, and has also introduced many all-inclusive interventions, which everyone is benefiting such as Free WASSCE and BECE exams registration, ambulances for every constituency, one village one dam for farmers in the north, Coronavirus relief package for electricity and water, Free SHS and TVET, among many others.
Elections 2020 and beyond
Dr. Bawumia stated unequivocally that President Akufo-Addo has delivered on his 2016 promises and appealed to Ghanaians to give him 4 more years to continue with his good works and move Ghana ahead.
"We ask you to give us four more years because our Government, borne out of the NPP, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo , has kept faith with you, Ghanaians, by delivering on the commitments we made to you."
Dr. Bawumia said President Akufo-Addo has been able to restore in 4 years, what Mahama and the NDC destroyed in 8 years, and he deserves another 4 years to continue to stimulate economic growth, support industrialisation, accelerate agriculture modernisation, consolidate 1D1F and the implementation of Free SHS and TVET.
"On December 7, remember that we have achieved together, and what, we can achieve together over the next four years, and vote to retain Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as President, and for NPP MPs, all of whom are number 1 on the ballot, so we can deliver once again on our mandate.