By Iddi Muhayu-Deen
Today marks exactly 100 days of the inauguration of His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo and His Excellency Vice President Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia into office. Today marks 100 days of the CHANGE Ghanaians voted for. On this milestone occasion, the Ghanaian people surely have cause to reflect on the CHANGE they voted for. The Ghanaian people have cause to assess the performance of the Nana Addo government even though everybody reckons that ‘100 days’ is too short a time for any serious assessment of a government’s performance.
For a government that has a 4-year mandate which translates into some 1,468+ days, it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that there can be any serious assessment of the government’s performance within just 100 days. In other words, the government has spent less than 7% of the period it has to govern and so, really, any such assessment at this period, would only be cosmetic and for academic purposes.
That notwithstanding, this exercise has become part of our subculture and so, I am also joining the rest of Ghana to do an objective assessment of President Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days in office. In the clear absence of a marking scheme, I would, for this exercise, use the party’s 2016 manifesto; which document, contains the social contract between the NPP and the Ghanaian electorates.
But before that, it is gratifying to observe that President Akufo-Addo has made history by being the first President in this Republic who has been able to successfully constitute the full complement of his government within the first 100 days upon assumption of office. This enviable record is surely worth mentioning and approbating. Now, let’s move on with our assessment of the government’s performance using the NPP manifesto as our guide.
Let’s start with the ECONOMY because it is the single most important and nonnegotiable aspect of the Ghanaian life. Everything, you agree, starts and ends with the economy. If we get our economy right, then automatically, every other thing would work for us and we are good to go. On the other hand, if we get our economic fundamentals wrong, then absolutely nothing will work for us.
The following points summarize the performance of the Akufo-Addo government in the area of the economy, which is being headed by His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President:
The Ghanaian currency (GH₵), which is the most important economic indicator has not only stabilized but is actually making SIGNIFICANT GAINS against the dollar (US$) and other currencies in the forex market. For instance, a dollar (1$) which went as high as GH₵4.85 in the early part of the year, is today, worth less than GH₵4.10. This is an indication of growing confidence in the Ghanaian economy and for that matter in our cedi.
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana has significantly reduced its key lending, otherwise referred to as Policy Rate by as much as 200 basis points to Commercial Banks in the country. The Policy Rate now stands at only 23.5%. This reduction is said to be the biggest cut in over 10 years.
Inflation has since January, been declining consistently. The inflation rate now stands at only 12.8%, which is the lowest since November 2013.
Ghana’s international or foreign reserve has in 100 days of Nana Addo’s presidency, witnessed a significant appreciation from US$6 billion to US$8 billion.
What this means is that, in 100 days, the Akufo-Addo government has been able to lay down a rock-solid foundation for our economic takeoff. That is, if we have not taken off already because as you can clearly see, all the economic indicators are pointing to a positive direction. And this is consistent with the NPP’s manifesto pledge of stabilizing the Ghanaian economy and putting it on the path of growth and posterity.
OTHER 100 DAYS ACHIEVEMENTS:
Abolishment of nuisance taxes in fulfillment of the NPP’s manifesto promise. The taxes that have been abolished include among several others, the following:
✅17.5% VAT on financial services
✅17.5% VAT on trading activities
✅ 17.5% VAT on domestic airlines
✅17.5% VAT on medicines that are not produced locally
✅ Import duties on spare parts
✅ Energy sector levies
✅Special petroleum taxes
Also, some of the seemingly overambitious campaign promises of the NPP are also being realized within its first 100 days in office. They include:
The establishment of a Zongo Development Fund with a seed capital of GH₵219.00 million. In fact, this was preceded by the creation of a whole Ministry, called the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development.
The famous 1-District-1-Factory Initiative, which is going to be spearheaded by the private sector, has received a major boost in these 100 days of Nana Addo’s presidency with the allocation of over GH₵456.30 million in the 2017 budget.
Government has also set-aside an equivalence of US$275.00 million in the 2017 budget to be allocated to each of the 275 Constituencies in the country in fulfillment of the famous 1-Constituency-$1m pledge. Three development authorities are being established to oversee to the disbursement of this fund and for that matter the realization of this flagship promise.
The government’s PLANTING FOR FOOD AND JOBS campaign, which is expected to create over 750,000 jobs annually, has also taken off in earnest with the inauguration of the national implementation committee. Again, implementation sub-committees have been inaugurated in some of the regions. Of course, as we all know, in the 2017 budget, an amount of $120 million has been allocated for this project.
The Akufo-Addo government has in 100 days, significantly dealt with the dumsor issue; something, the previous NDC government couldn’t do in three and half years.
Government has increased the capitation grant to basic schools by as much as 100% and this is evidenced in the 2017 budget statement.
Government has also released an amount of GH₵ 1.587 million to settle all outstanding salary areas for teachers.
Government has also advanced plans and preparations for the smooth implementation of its flagship intervention in the area of education. I am talking about the famous free SHS, which would takeoff in September this year. An amount of GH₵400.00 million has already been allocated in the 2017 budget for this programme. Moving forward, the free SHS would be financed from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) and other domestic sources spelt out in the budget to make the programme more sustainable.
In its quest to significantly boost agriculture, which is undoubtedly the bulwark of our economy, government has in these 100 days, reduced the price of fertilizer by as much as 50% in order to provide relief to our gallant farmers. Government has so far imported 300,000 tonnes of fertilizer to be distributed to farmers at this highly subsidized rate.
Government has within its first 100 days in office, increased the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Youth and Sports by over a 100% in order to enhance sports development in the country. The sports budget has shot up from GH₵21 million to GH₵45.8 million, which is unprecedented in the history of this country.
Again, the necessary budgetary allocations have been made for the complete restoration of teacher and nursing trainee allowance.
Government has given financial clearance for the employment of over 11,000 nurses who have been sitting idle after completing their courses from 2012 to 2016. Clearance has also been given in these 100 days, for the immediate employment of all unemployed doctors in the system.
Government has also given approval for the payment of an upward adjustment in National Service allowance from GH₵350.00 to GH₵559.04 constituting some 60% rise. This is the highest increment in NSS allowance since its introduction in 1973.
From all indications, if I am to continue telling the story of what this government has been able to achieve in just 100 days, I wouldn’t finish anytime soon. But for want of time and space, kindly permit me to take a break here. But before that, I am very quick to admit that, just as there have been a lot of positives, there have also been some negatives in President Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days.
Inarguably, the biggest challenge for this government in its first 100 days has to do with the excesses of some political “vigilante groups” associated with the governing NPP. Their acts of lawlessness, regrettably, have taken some shine away from the incalculable positives of the government of His Excellency President Akufo-Addo.
I am however happy that significant arrests have been made and prosecution is ongoing, which is giving true meaning to RULE OF LAW. We didn’t see much of this in the past government. This government is also having to contend with the debilitating galamsey menace, which is a generational problem but has now assumed the greatest attention ever.
All in all, you would agree with me that the government’s story so far, has been rosy and cozy. And if you consider the fact that the government has been in power for ONLY 100 days out of the 1,468+ days or 4 years, then you can imagine how significant this is. You can also imagine how refreshing the narrative would be at the end of the government’s first 4 years in office, ceteris paribus.
In the nutshell, President Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days in office has been 100 days of economic stability; 100 days of relief for all; 100 days of growth and development; 100 days of jobs; and ultimately, 100 days of hope and prosperity for the Ghanaian people. I am happy to say, this is the CHANGE majority of Ghanaians campaigned and voted for. Once again, Mr. President, you have given me more than enough reasons to proudly say, I AM A GHANAIAN; a citizen not a spectator.