Running mate of the New Patriotic Party, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has outlined six reasons why Ghanaians should vote out the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2016 elections.
Dr. Bawumia outlined these in a lecture on the topic “The Role of Financial Discipline and Investment In National Development”, at a National Financial Literacy and Investment Summit organised by the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus.
He has also rubbished claims by the government that it has transformed the country by undertaking a number of projects.
1. More cash but less development
Dr. Bawumia pointed out that the NDC had increased Ghana’s debt in seven years by GHC90 billion, from GHC9.5 billion at the end of 2009 to some GHC99 billion currently; an equivalent of some 37 billion dollars at the time of borrowing.
“First, If you sum the cost of all the loan financed projects listed in the green book (even including those with artistic impressions, it is less than $7 billion. Meanwhile, the government has borrowed the equivalent of $37 billion so where is the rest of the money? Indeed, given the resources at its disposal one should expect at least four times the quantum of investment that the NDC claims to have undertaken”, Dr. Bawumia said, as he began listing the six reasons.
He proceeded to list a number of things the over 30 billion dollars from borrowing the NDC cannot account for, could have done, which proves that contrary to the claims, the NDC has done a bad job at giving Ghanaians their due after undertaking unprecedented borrowing in the last seven years.
“The close to $30 billion of borrowing that was not used for projects could have inter alia:
Developed the Rail network from Accra to Paga and transformed many parts of the country just by this investment.
Solved the water problems in Ghana
Solved the energy problem and not put the country through 4 years of dumsor at the cost of human lives and collapsing businesses and unemployment
Put in place at least 1000 kilometres of asphalted roads in each region. There will be no major road problem left in any region after this.
Transformed Agriculture in the Northern regions, Afram Plains and Ghana through investment in machinery, irrigation and dams
Put in place one world class hospital in each region
Buy at least 1000 ambulances for the Ghana Ambulance service
Set up factories with the private sector across the country to add value to our raw materials and create jobs. On the issue of jobs, the question is, if the government has taken a whole 4 years to solve a basic problem like Dumsor, how long will it take to address unemployment? At this pace, many of the unemployed youths will be over the pension age before the NDC finds a solution to the unemployment problem.
Equip our existing health and education institutions with state of the art facilities
Build an additional 600 of the Senior High Schools the government is currently trying to build”, he said.
2. Declining GDP and Economic Growth
The second reason, according to Dr Bawumia, is the fact that the data shows that contrary to all the claims of the NDC, infrastructure spending as a proportion of GDP has declined from an average of 11% between 2001 and 2008, when Ghana had no oil, to 5.7% between 2009 and 2015.
“To explain this point, if a person tells you they have invested GHC 1000 in the education of their children and another tells you they have invested GHC 2000, you cannot conclude that the second person has invested more in his or her children if you do not compare it against the number of children in the family. If the first person has one child and the second has 10 children, then the investment of the person with one child will be higher (i.e. GHC1000 per child compared to GHC200 per child for the second person).
“It is in this context that when we measure the impact of investment, we look at it relative to the GDP of a country. If as a country, your investment in infrastructure relative to GDP is declining, then your growth is likely to decline. This background is very important to understand what is happening in Ghana today,” he said
3. Overpricing of projects and resort to mediocrity
“The third reason why I say the NDC is attempting to hoodwink Ghanaians with claims of massive infrastructural investments is that most of these projects are over-priced as a result of the single source procurement method, which has become the procurement method of choice for this government, as we saw in the SADA, GYEEDA, KARPOWER, SMARTYS bus branding etc.. I would like to see for example the government explanation from the government quantity surveyors of the costing on the Kumasi airport runway for $23.8 million. However, you and I know that they would not explain because they cannot explain”, Dr. Bawumia noted.
4. Lies about development projects
For the fourth point, he stated that since all governments undertake infrastructural products, it is disingenuous for the NDC to claim that as unprecedented, especially when compared to resources accrued, the NDC has done far less investments in infrastructure compared to the NPP government under former President John Agyekum Kufuor for example, which had less than ten times the resources the NDC has had in seven years.
“The nation’s road network increased by 18,736 km and 29,970 km during the four (4) and eight (8) years of NPP-led administration respectively. At the end of year 2008, the network size met as at the end of December 2000 had been increased about 80%. In contrast, the NDC government has thus far added only 3,772 km to Ghana’s road network. This means that the NPP constructed 8 times more roads (km) than the NDC even though they had 10 times more money. Yet when you listen to Government propaganda, they will tell you of the massive road investments they are making. Unfortunately for them the facts completely disprove their attempt to hoodwink Ghanaians.
“Indeed, it was His Excellency President Mahama who told us that any government touting projects as achievements is conducting an exercise in mediocrity, So what has changed? The real fact is that the NDC has no real achievements to point to outside the undertaking of some projects hence their resort to mediocrity”, he said.
5. So-called massive investments have not translated into job creation & production
“The fifth reason why I say the NDC is attempting to hoodwink Ghanaians with claims of massive infrastructural investments is that infrastructural investment is not supposed to be for its own sake but to increase productivity and production in the economy. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. If you have indeed undertaken massive and unprecedented infrastructural investment, then why is the economy collapsing? –
Why is the NHIS in trouble?
Why is unemployment on the increase?
Why are businesses collapsing?
Why is agricultural growth stagnant?
Why is manufacturing growth negative?
Why is the government having difficulty meeting statutory payments?” he queried.
“The facts therefore show that the impact of the NDC infrastructure investments have not translated into increased output, job creation and better living conditions for the people of Ghana”, Dr. Bawumia added.
6. Ghanaians can relate to a worsening in social services and conditions
The sixth and final reason why the NDC’s claims of projects should be rejected, according to Dr. Bawumia, was the fact that the so called massive investments being claimed by the NDC have not translated into an improvement in social services.
Dr. Bawumia touched on vital areas like Water, Health and Education to explain that despite the huge claims of the NDC, the ordinary Ghanaian cannot relate to an improvement in services and relief.
“The NDC claims to have put in over a billion dollars in the area of water infrastructure. Yet, today many places across the country are seeing the worst shortages of water in decades. So what is the essence of the claims being made by the NDC with respect to investments in water when after seven years, the people are rather seeing worse shortages than they were before these so-called investments?” he asked.
Touching on Health, Dr. Bawumia pointed out that despite the claims of huge investments, the reality for many Ghanaians was the fact that the NHIS is failing. He also noted that despite the claims of massive investments, many existing hospitals are crying for basic equipment to deliver health care to the people.
“What Ghanaians can relate to is the many illnesses and drugs which have been taken out of the NHIS care lists, the Capitation policy and the situation where patients seeking to be treated on the basis of possession of the NHIS Card are turned away in favor of patients with money. For many Ghanaians, the sad reality is that the killer Cash and Carry program, which the NPP worked to cancel, has been technically introduced back as a result of the failure of the NHIA.
“Again, despite these huge claims of investment, our Hospitals across the country, keep crying over very essential equipment and facilities. I had this sad reality hit home when a close relative passed away last year as a result of the lack of oxygen at Tamale Teaching Hospital. The recent closure of certain departments in Korle-Bu also re-emphasizes this point”, he noted
Dr. Bawumia cited the recent gory Kintampo accident as another example of how despite the huge claims of investments in Health, the Ghanaian people cannot relate to an improvement in healthcare.
“So again, what is the point in the claims of massive investment in the Health Sector when after seven years and with over 200 billion in Resources, we cannot sustain the Health Insurance Scheme which was functional when Ghana had less than 10 times the resources this government has had; and cannot provide vital logistics for our existing Hospitals and service our Ambulances to save the lives of our countrymen?”, he probed.
Is every investment necessary or prudent?
Ending his dissection of the NDC claims of massive investment, Dr. Bawumia stressed that investments must be assessed critically on the impact it makes to productivity and lives and not just on the basis of numbers that are bandied around.
“It is therefore clear that despite the huge claims of investment, the reality for many Ghanaians is that livelihoods have worsened and social services are not functioning.
Credit: Office of Bawumia