MY CLOSING ARGUMENT: RE-ELECTING NANA AND THE NPP ENSURES WE PROTECT OUR PROGRESS AND REMAIN ON THE PATH OF TRANSFORMING GHANA FOR ALL

(Includes Extensive Extracts from Official NPP Documents and Speeches)

When Ghanaians elected President Nana Akufo-Addo at the end of 2016, it was because the then Mahama-led NDC government had failed spectacularly: in economic management, in creating jobs, in fighting corruption, in protecting the vulnerable and disadvantaged through social protection programmes, and in improving public safety and security.

This state of affairs was the culmination of a long-term decline over the two terms of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from 2009, underpinned by its lack of the policy credibility and execution competence to address the critical issues that Ghanaians were grappling with.

A bleak, dark future was the only thing Ghanaians could look forward to under Mahama.

Unholy Trinity

Three issues – Dumsor, Economic Mismanagement, and Corruption – and their impact on households, businesses, and industries, looms large over Mahama’s record in office, and his flailing bid to return to government again as President of an NDC government this 2020 election cycle.

The Lights Went Off

The most visible representation of the “Decade of Decay” under the Mahama-led NDC government was the long-running Dumsor, spanning five years, described in a Bloomberg article (April 8, 2015) headlined essay planning example thesis.com https://www.carrollkennelclub.org/phrasing/research-papers-for-kids/6/ web developer resume california examples of contrast and comparison essays see url click max raabe viagra lyrics get link http://www.cresthavenacademy.org/chapter/free-pre-written-research-papers/26/ go thesis nicosia soften cervix cytotec enter https://behavior.org/typer/controversial-essay-on-school-uniforms/31/ pay to get calculus annotated bibliography https://plastic-pollution.org/trialrx/seroquel-grogginess/31/ https://www.myrml.org/outreach/college-essays-buying/42/ darkness heart of darkness essay levitra generico contraindicaciones https://home.freshwater.uwm.edu/termpaper/uq-phd-thesis-format/7/ creative writing of a place amoxil amoxicilina precio sildenafil colombia essay scorer com prentice hall see thesis statement examples good and evil writing a paper using apa style bombay ed pills diferenas entre cialis e viagra https://kirstieennisfoundation.com/dysfunction/levitra-and-overdose-and-blind/35/ custom best essay ghostwriting services “Ghana’s Success Story Goes Dark”, as follows:

“Just a few years ago, Ghana seemed to be one of Africa’s few good news stories. The country was on a path to paying back the international creditors it had relied on for decades, and was widely lauded for managing five peaceful and democratic transitions of power since 1992. When U.S. President Barack Obama visited the country in 2012, he called it “a wonderful success story economically,” and praised its government for ‘working for the people of Ghana, and not just the few.’

But that same year, blackouts became a regular occurrence in the capital city of Accra; just three years later, they’ve become an ongoing catastrophe.

Residential power outages take place in 12-hour blocs, every 36 hours; commercial ones can be even longer. When the lights go out, factories go idle in the middle of production and people conducting business are forced to make their way to the lobbies of hotels that have their own generators.”

With Dumsor came mass job losses to compound the already escalating high unemployment situation, income losses, preventable deaths on operating tables, disruption in the lives of ordinary Ghanaians, and destruction of equipment and electrical appliances of businesses and in homes.

It was estimated in 2014 that on average, the country lost production worth US$2.1 million per day as a result of DUMSOR. In 2014 alone, the estimated loss was about US$680 million, translating into about 2% of GDP.

The impact of Dumsor on the economy, excluding the damage on the national psyche and its confidence, was devastating.

The Economy Went off The Cliff

In addition to Dumsor, every aspect of governance was in shambles, particularly the management of the economy, to which, in response, the NDC government resorted to an all too familiar, draconian fiscal formula of “tax, borrow and spend” and neglect of productive economic activities. It did not matter to it that there was little room for raising taxes: as long as it “moved,” the Mahama-led NDC Government’s policy was to tax it.

What the NDC government failed to grasp, and still do, is that everything thrives or dies on the back of the economy.

“A strong economy creates opportunities, and inspires more people to start new businesses. In much the same way, a strong economy encourages existing businesses to make new investments, to grow, and expand. More and well-paying jobs are created, the private sector hires more people, and citizens prosper. Public sector-driven job creation interventions and initiatives also require a strong economy. Social services such as the National Health Insurance Scheme, free quality basic schools across every part of the country, the School Feeding Programme, good roads and a wider and cheaper transport network, affordable housing, stable and affordable electric power: all of these require a strong economy. Supported by a good business environment, a strong economy is defined by its stability, its growth rate, the levels and number of taxes, the extent of value-addition, the creation of wealth, and the prosperity of citizens. Having jobs and livelihoods provide security for individuals, families and communities as a whole. When people prosper, the peace is largely secured.”

It was no wonder then that the Mahama-led NDC government’s cataclysmic failures in economic management imposed a wider, negative system-wide cost and human suffering.

It is a record of mismanagement Mahama will have a hard time trying to make us forget quickly. As the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) concluded in January 2020, It will be difficult for the NDC under Mr. Mahama to portray itself as the better custodian of Ghana’s economy.”

Recently, (February 11, 2020), in another article headlined “Ghana’s Mahama Pins Vote Bid on Economy He Struggled to Grow”, Bloomberg said, among other things, that “under Mahama’s watch, crippling power blackouts shuttered factories and growth slowed to the weakest pace in three decades. At the same time, the cedi’s value against the dollar more than halved, while ballooning debt forced the government to ask the International Monetary Fund for an almost $1 Billion bailout,” adding, “John Mahama wants his third run at the presidency to be a verdict on the economy. His track record weaken[s] his case. [Our emphasis].

And Things Went Cloudy Under the Cover of the Darkness

The dire situation was not helped by the fact that the Mahama-led NDC government institutionalised a pernicious, pervasive and extensive state of corruption. As revealed recently in the Airbus and AKSA Energy Bribery Scandals, Mahama, and members of his family, are complicit in the solicitation for, and acceptance of millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for contracts in the purchase of aircrafts and electric power deals.

To date, over forty associates and members of the Mahama-led NDC government are currently in court over the US$1.9 Million GYEEDA case, the US$65.2 Million Cocobod Fertiliser case, the $4 Million NCA case, the US$66.8 Million SSNIT case, the GH¢24.52 MASLOC case, and the Capital Bank and Unibank cases which collectively involves US$127.6 Million and GH¢2.2 Billion.

In Comes Progressive, Transformational Stewardship

In four years, we brought our best minds together in creating the necessary thinking and execution capacity in the management of national affairs, during which we have stabilised the economy, created over two million jobs in the formal sector alone, kept the power on to power homes, businesses and industries, invested in massive infrastructure development at both the local and national level, and implemented far-reaching social protection programmes and set millions of Ghanaians on the path towards growth, prosperity, and equal opportunity through programmes like Free Senior High School and Planting for Food and Jobs. The stellar performance, over the last four years, of the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government has not resulted only in stemming and reversing the decline witnessed under the NDC: we have fixed Dumsor, built the foundations necessary for fiscal irreversibility and accelerated growth, and vigorously fought corruption.

Early in January this year, the world economy, Ghana included, faced grave uncertainties as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The World Bank forecasted “unprecedented reversals in capital flows”, foreign exchange pressures, and tight fiscal conditions on top of the disruptions in the real sector such as hospitality, agriculture, and global trade. “This makes the Great Lockdown the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis.” The Managing Director of the IMF summarised the situation best: “this is a crisis like no other. It is: more complex, with interlinked shocks to our health and our economies that have brought our way of life to an almost complete stop; more uncertain, as we are learning only gradually how to treat the novel virus, make containment most effective, and restart our economies; and Truly global. Pandemics don’t respect borders, neither do the economic shocks they cause. The outlook is dire. We expect global economic activity to decline on a scale we have not seen since the Great Depression.”

Before the full effects of the pandemic was felt, we have doubled growth (from 3.4% at the end of 2016) to an annual average of 7% (Real GDP), tamed debt levels (Debt Stock) to just 1.6 times (compared to 12.5 times in 2016), contained Fiscal Deficit to below -5% annually (-4.8% at end of 2019 compared to 6.8% at the end of 2016), reduced Headline Inflation to below 10% (at 7.9% compared to end 2016 at 15.4%), reduced Average Lending Rate to 24% compared to end 2016 at 31.7%, grown Real Private Sector Credit to 4.70% (compared to -0.90% at the end of 2016), the Trade Balance which had been negative for years was in positive territory with a steadily improving Current Account Balance and Gross International Reserves averaging 4 months of import cover, and the Cedi had been relatively stable and better-performing than under the NDC.

Better management of the economy under the NPP ensured, even at the critical stages of the Pandemic, that investors retained hope for a rebound.  As early as February (17, 2020), Bloomberg online, in a story titled “Ghana Is Fast Becoming Frontier Investors’ New Best Friend,” reported that “the cedi is the best-performing currency in the world in 2020,” and that “Investors seem confident that the central bank is on top of its game”, and Fitch expected a “swift recovery after the coronavirus pandemic shock” while affirming our “B-Stable” ratings.

Building a strong economy is what has enabled us to invest in social protection programmes like Free SHS and the provision of over three hundred ambulances across the country, to withstand the “shock” of cleaning up the mess in the financial services sector, while also being able to, when CoVID struck, keep Ghanaians relatively safe and provide relief to many citizens including the homeless, nurses and other healthcare workers, and small businesses.

The rebound predicted is now in evidence and here to stay: As Bloomberg reported on November 23, 2020, “Ghana was one of 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.”

Over the last four years, we have:

  • stabilised and prudently managed the economy. Disciplined fiscal management, a predictable monetary policy, a sound banking system, lowering of inflation and interest rates, and better access and delivery of public services have become a hallmark of our Government
  • turned agriculture into a major growth driver through our programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, helping improve farmer incomes, meeting local food needs, and exporting to the region
  • sowed the seeds for an industrial expansion through the One District One Factory and Strategic Anchor Industries policies to transform Ghana’s economy from an exporter of raw materials to that of a private sector powered value-added economy
  • reduced the overall tax burden on businesses to stimulate production, and reduced electricity tariffs for all other consumers
  • made investments to balance the infrastructure gaps between major cities and towns, between urban and rural communities, and between suburbs, inner cities and Zongos. Initiatives such as IPEP and the Zongo Development Fund are helping provide much-needed local infrastructure in water, sanitation, and health in order to improve the standard of living of Ghanaians living in disadvantaged communities
  • digitised government services to make the machinery of government work for our people
  • invested in programmes and initiatives to protect the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, and to provide social safety nets through Free SHS/TVET policies, expansion of the School Feeding Programme and LEAP, reduction in utility tariffs for households, increases in funding allocations to Persons Living With Disability (PLWDs), and strengthening the NHIS
  • supported the youth and youth-owned businesses through NEIP, The President’s Business Support Programme, Campus Business Pitch and Greenhouse Villages initiative
  • provided strong, decisive leadership in managing the Coronavirus pandemic and its effects, and committed significant financial resources in helping households, health workers, businesses, workers and MSMEs cope with the disruptions to lives, livelihoods, supply chains, and business continuity, and  
  • vigorously fought corruption by strengthening the regulatory and legal framework to fight corruption by implementing several digitisation initiatives as well as passing into law several pieces of anti-corruption related legislation; applying Open and Competitive Bidding for, and conducted Ghana’s first open bidding round for oil blocks and established a National Register of Contracts/ Register of Petroleum Agreements, as provided for by the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2016 (Act 919); improving the financing of governance and anti-corruption MDAs, and; in addition, more than forty (40) high profile persons have been charged for various acts arising out of actions and activities superintended by the NDC administration involving, in monetary terms a total of US$265.5 million and GH¢2.225 billion. To date, six (6) have been found guilty.

We have shown that, with good governance, we can help make life better for every Ghanaian, young and old, no matter where you live in this country.

And Ghanaians Can Look Forward to a Future of Hope

We want to do more over the next four years towards our overall vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid. In furtherance of this:

  • We will Consolidate Our Achievements: We will incorporate the lessons learnt from the pandemic to consolidate the progress we have made on all our flagship policies, programmes, and initiatives across the various sectors, including continuing with “Free SHS”, “Planting for Food and Jobs”, “One District, One Factory”, “IPEP”, and “Zongo Development Fund” among the many others
  • We will Build a Resilient and Dynamic Economy and a Regional Hub for Job Creation: We will build on the stable and predictable foundation we have crafted, and make the right investments to develop Ghana into a Regional Hub for Financial Services, Aviation and Logistics, Petroleum, Automobiles, Digital Services, Tourism, Hospitality and Creative Arts; diversify our economy; substitute imports; accelerate technology adoption and build a digital economy; and create more high-value jobs through the Ghana CARES programme
  • We will Accelerate Industrial Transformation: We will build on the successes of “One District, One Factory” and “Strategic Anchor Industries” policies to promote agro-processing, including cocoa processing, add value to our minerals and petro-chemicals, promote labour-intensive and light manufacturing activities, continue the development of the Aluminium, Iron and Steel industries along their entire value chains through GIADEC and GIISDEC, establish a Development Bank to mobilise long-term capital for lending through banks for large-scale agricultural and industrial projects, and leverage our Regional Hub status and as hosts for the Secretariat of the AfCFTA to expand our access to regional and continental markets
  • We will Accelerate Agricultural Transformation: We will continue our investments to strengthen our food security, provide raw materials for our agro-processing industry, create jobs, and increase substantially our foreign exchange earnings
  • We will Invest in Education: We will continue our investments in providing Free SHS and TVET Education, continue with the implementation of the free Wifi for SHS and public tertiary institutions project, roll out the US$219 million GALOP initiative to resource students and teachers in disadvantaged schools, and make sure no student who has obtained admission to a tertiary institution is denied access because they are unable to pay fees, by providing them an option to obtain a student loan without the requirement of a guarantor for the loan, provided the student has a National Identification Number from the GhanaCard, and to defer repayment of the loan after National Service plus an additional one-year grace period
  • We will Investing in Health Infrastructure: In addition to all the interventions we have made in the health sector, including the provision of, for the first time in our history, over 300 ambulances, we will, over the next four years, complete the delivery of the largest healthcare infrastructure investment by any government in the last five decades, including the construction of 101 District Hospitals with doctors and nurses accommodation, 7 new regional hospitals, rehabilitation of the Efia Nkwanta Hospital, 2 new psychiatric hospitals, 3 infectious disease centres for the three ecological zones, a Ghana Centre for Disease Control, as well as complete ongoing projects in the health sector. We will invest in expanding infrastructure in medical schools to train more doctors, and streamline the admission of foreign-trained doctors into Ghana
  • We will Establish a National Rent Assistance Scheme (NRAS):  While we continue to pursue long-term solutions to the development of the housing market, to address, in our second term, the short-to-medium term market failures in the renter-segment of the housing market, we will establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS). In partnership with the private sector, the Scheme will provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them pay rent advance. These loans will be repaid on a monthly basis to match the tenor of the rent, and will be insured to ensure sustainability. Government will seed the Scheme with GH¢100 million which will be leveraged to crowd-in additional investment from the private sector
  • We will Invest in Physical Infrastructure: While continuing investments, our major focus over the next term will be housing, railway, and roads infrastructure. We will deliver roads under the “Year of Roads” project, complete the Tema-Mpakadan rail project and commence all the others. We will also continue investing in the expansion of infrastructure at all public tertiary institutions to enhance capacity and facilities to absorb the expected increases in student population as graduating students from Free SHS pursue further education
  • We will Use Digital Transformation as an Enabler of Growth (Soft Infrastructure): In the next four years, we plan to build a digital services economy through the expansion of the Ghana Innovation Hub project to nurture startups to accelerate the development of applications software, provide regional e-backroom services, and enterprise-level software. The foundational Ghana Card, Digital Address System, Mobile Money Payments Interoperability System, Ghana. Gov Payments Platform, and Universal QR Code, together with a digitised “Birth and Death Registry”, will serve as the key enablers for our digital services economy push over the next four years
  • We will Expand Investment in Youth Development and Entrepreneurship: We have kept faith with the youth by creating over two million jobs in three and half years which mostly benefits the youth. We have invested in youth-focused entrepreneurial programmes and free secondary and technical-vocational too. Over the next four years, we plan to tackle the rental segment of the housing market providing the youth with low-interest loans to enable them pay rent advance. We will also implement programmes to reduce further the cost of data to support youth-focused businesses, and to be the drivers of our digital services. We will implement the US$200 million Job and Skills Project which will provide youth-owned small businesses with grants, training, apprenticeship, and entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, we will designate the creative arts industry as a major growth pole and establish a Creative Arts Fund to support artists
  • We will Leverage Sports for Development: We will, over the next four years, build six additional, fully functional MultiPurpose Youth and Sports Centres of Excellence in each of the six newly created Regions, upgrade the National Sports College into a National High-Performance Training Centre (NHPTC), and, under the Zongo Development Fund, introduce the Zongo Youth Football Talent Hunt (ZYFTAH) programme, a special program for the youth in Zongos, which will help unearth, develop and promote football talents in Zongo communities through competitions and football clinics in collaboration with local and international partners
  • We will Strengthen our Private Sector: We will support the private sector by tackling the cost of power, access to and cost of finance, business environment bottlenecks, including continuing to improve access to land and introducing regulatory flexibility for MSMEs to improve compliance post COVID-19, using our local content strategy to promote Ghanaian participation in supplies and services value chains, export development and diversification, youth development and entrepreneurship, and rethinking public sector capital expenditure so it can better play its role in building a Ghana Beyond Aid. In addition, over the next four years, we will implement a National Equipment Leasing Policy, covering medical equipment, vehicles, photocopiers, printers, and scanners as part of the measures to manage more efficiently our capital expenditure budget. Under the policy, as an alternative to the outright purchase of office equipment like photocopiers and printers, we shall acquire full service operating lease services. Furthermore, to address the lack of a long-term, efficient financing mechanism for commercial transport owners and operators, we will implement Government-backed, private sector-led Lease-To-Own financing arrangement that will provide the long-term financing commercial vehicle owners and operators (taxis, trotros, trucks, and buses) need to replace aged and un-roadworthy commercial vehicles with new Made-in-Ghana vehicles. We will also extend a financing arrangement to teachers, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals to acquire vehicles through Government-backed, private sector leases, as well as support reforms in land administration, including increasing resources to the courts for the speedy adjudication of land disputes
  • We will Protect the Vulnerable and Disadvantaged (Social Intervention/Protection): We will, over the next four years, institutionalise and combine the Ghana National Household Registry and major Flagship Social Protection Programme databases and link them to the National Identification Card to create a “Single Registry” system. This will help manage both the selection, identification, and provision of social protection services and benefits to the vulnerable and disadvantaged. We will also continue, in line with our policy interventions to promote and support women in business, the professions, society, and in politics, as well as the promotion of the health of young girls, their education and participation in sports, pass the Affirmative Action Bill, increase our support for women-owned businesses which dominate the MSME sector and employ many female workers, and support the private sector to ramp up production, locally, of sanitary pads  while eliminating import duty on them until production catches up. In addition existing interventions, we will expand the scope, membership, and mandate of the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee tasked with mainstreaming disability issues in local government, to encompass the implementation, broadly, the provisions in the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), in particular in addressing access to facilities, transportation and equal employment opportunities
  • We will Promote Good Governance and Fight Corruption: Over the last three and a half years, we have strengthened the regulatory and legal framework to fight corruption by implementing several digitisation initiatives as well as passing into law several pieces of anti-corruption related legislation, including the Witness Protection Act, 2018 (Act 959), the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959) and the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2019 (Act 989) to unearth public-sector corruption. In addition, more than forty (40) high profile persons have been charged for various acts arising out of actions and activities superintended by the Mahama-led NDC administration involving, in monetary terms a total of US$265.5 million and GH¢2.225 billion. To date, six (6) have been found guilty. Over the next four years, we will improve the financing of governance and anti-corruption MDAs as we have done over the last few years, to enable them recruit, continue to train, and retain dedicated staff to support the fight against corruption and provide resources for the effective functioning of the Right to Information Commission
  • We will Ensure Security and Safety: Over the last three and a half years, we have invested significantly towards enhancing public safety and security by providing equipment and logistics to the security services, including over 1,300 vehicles, recruitment of over 4,000 police personnel, training of 15,000 Community Police Officers, training and equipping of drug enforcement officials, and construction of housing units and accommodation for the security services and have successfully implemented the Accra Initiative, so-called because of the origin of the idea, involving the consistent collaboration and co-operation of security and intelligence heads from Ghana and our neighbouring countries, namely Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Mali and Niger, continue to be our concrete contribution to the fight against terrorism in our region. We will enhance the capacity of our security forces through the provision of equipment, logistics, intelligence capability, and training to maintain the peace and fight crime within our borders, as well as international terrorists who may seek to destabilise our country. We will continue to tackle the long-standing housing problem that has faced our security services by undertaking significant investments in housing projects of varying sizes for the men and women of the security services, which is ongoing under the National Barracks Regeneration Programme for the military, and
  • We will Build a Resilient Financial Services Sector for Economic Transformation: Consolidating our successes, building Ghana into a Regional Hub, transforming the agricultural and industrial sectors and supporting them with long-term financing, investing in youth development and entrepreneurship, and mobilising resources to finance the recovery and transformation of the economy requires a resilient financial services sector. Over the next four years, we will mobilise private capital to fund part of the Ghana CARES Programme, implement the Ghana Capital Market Master Plan, and complete the implementation of the International Financial Services Centre to help crowd in the GH¢70 billion required to match Government’s GH¢30 billion needed to finance the Ghana CARES programme. We will leverage the strengths of GIFF, the proposed Development Bank, the IFSC, and the AfCFTA to create a regional financial services hub that will contribute in large measure to the deepening of both domestic and regional capital markets to finance our economic transformation agenda.

Ensuring We Protect Our Progress and Transform Ghana for All

It is important, therefore, as we prepare to vote on December 7, to remind ourselves that to protect the progress that we have made and to continue to transform Ghana, we must ensure that the management of the economy continues to remain in the hands of the person who is not only capable, but one who has been able deliver on his promises: that of His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Vote Number 1 on the ballot for Akufo-Addo and NPP MPs.

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