MANASSEH AZURE AWUNI WRITES:
#FixTheCountry Campaign – Here are the False and Misleading Claims in Bawumia’s Response.
LAST Thursday, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia posted a list of the country’s problems which he claimed the Akufo-Addo-led administration had solved or was solving.
This was an apparent response to issues raised by a section of Ghanaians in the ongoing #FixTheCountry campaign on social media.
“We are four months into our four-year mandate. The job of government is to fix problems. This is what we have been doing since 2017,” the vice president said in the Facebook post.
In a tabular presentation, Dr Bawumia presented a list of the problems he claimed the Akufo-Addo-led government inherited and what the government had done about those problems so far. The list spanned different sectors including agriculture, the economy, health, and education.
In this report, Fact-Check Ghana verifies some of the claims made by the vice president and presents the following verdicts and explanations.
Problems Inherited: Weak food security. Ghana placed 78th on global food security index
What we have done so far: Ghana’s position on the global food security index has improved to 58th
Explanation: Ghana’s current position on the global food security index is 77th out of 113 countries. The country has never ranked 58th since President Akufo-Addo came into office contrary to Dr Bawumia’s claim. Ghana’s best position on the global food security index under this government was in 2019 when the country ranked 59th. Below is the rank and score of Ghana on the Global Food Security Index from 2013 – 2020.
Year Rank/ Position Score/100
2013 67th 45.4
2014 78th 43.1
2015 75th 46.1
2016 78th 47.8
2017 76th 47.9
2018 73rd 50.9
2019 59th 62.8
2020 77th 53.0
Source: The Economist
From the Table above, there has not been so much difference in the positions of Ghana under the John Mahama-led government (2013-2016) and the Akufo-Addo-led government (2017-2020).
Problems Inherited: Low Declining Agriculture Output
What we have done so far: Planting for Foods and Job has increased food production. It has led to a 71% increase in the national production of maize.
Explanation: First of all, it must be noted that the percentage increase in maize production quoted by Bawumia is different from what President Akufo-Addo has previously reported.
On March 9, 2021, at the State of the Nation Address, Akufo-Addo said, “there have been increases in maize and rice yields by one hundred and ten percent (110%) and forty-eight percent (48%) respectively.”
Thus, while Akufo-Addo reports 110%, Bawumia reports 71%. Nonetheless, both figures are inaccurate when compared with official data from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
The MOFA presented the data below on maize production to The Fourth Estate when it requested figures on the production of major crops in Ghana
Year Production (In Metric Tonnes)
Source: MOFA *There’s not a confirmed figure for 2020 but a forecast compiled by MOFA from September 2020 when the year had not ended.
From the Table above, contrary to the claim by Bawumia that production was declining when the current government came into power, production from 2015 to 2016 was actually rising.
Comparing the production of maize in 2016 (1,721,911 metric tonnes) with 2019 (2,911,884 metric tonnes), production has increased by 69%. While this is close to the 71% reported by the vice president, the figures are not the same.
Problems Inherited: Average Bank Lending rate at 32%
What we have done so far: Reduced average banking lending rate to 21%
Q1 2021 Budget: Why Ken-Ofori Atta is seeking GH¢27.4bn
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta
Explanation: At the end of 2016, when the erstwhile Mahama-led government ended, the average lending rate was not 32% but 31.2%. This was indicated by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Ata when he read the 2017 Budget Statement in Parliament on March 2, 2017.
On page 16, paragraph 83, of the 2017 Budget Statement, Mr Ken Ofori- Atta said:
“The average lending rate moved up to 31.2 percent in December 2016 from 27.5 percent in December 2015.”
Banking lending rate is the rate of interest at which one repays a loan and a difference of 0.8% can be significant.
Problems Inherited: Parents problem of paying fees for TVET students.
What we have done so far: Government has implemented free TVET.
Explanation: The government began the implementation of the Free Senior High policy in 2017.
However, the free SHS programme only covers a few Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions in the country.
There are over 300 public TVET institutions nationwide which, according to the Ministry of Education, are managed under 19 different ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, and the Ministry of Trade.
Currently, according to the National TVET advocacy team, only the 48 public TVET institutions which are under the Ministry of Education enjoy the free education policy. This has resulted in the advocacy team’s call on the government to ensure that the free SHS policy covers all TVET public institutions.
TVET is tool for national growth, development’ – Graphic Online
There are over 300 public TVET institutions nationwide
Then Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, admitted to this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic when he said: “There is a bill in Parliament which is close to being passed to enforce the realignment of all TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education.”
He added that: “the bill, when passed, will mean that all TVET schools will automatically benefit from the free SHS programme. And so, to re-emphasise, TVET is currently free if the institution is under the GES. The bill seeks to allow those not currently benefiting to also benefit.”
Before the dissolution of the 7th Parliament, the reforms which are contained in the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill has been read twice since it was laid before the house.
The claim suggesting that the over 300 TVET schools enjoy free education is therefore misleading. Only 48 institutions are covered.
“Problems Inherited: Difficulty and inconvenience in buying electricity units for your meter
What we have done so far: Fixed it. ECG customers can now easily buy pre-paid electricity units from wherever you are from your mobile phone.
ECG to add 700,000 smart meters across the country by end of 2020 – Bawumia
Dr Bawumia claimed that it is now easier to buy prepaid credit from mobile phones
Explanation: While it is true that some ECG customers can buy pre-paid using mobile money or some other digital platforms following the vice president’s launch of the ECG Power App and the Company’s introduction of short codes for recharging credit, the opportunity is not available for all customers.
According to ECG’s customer care, the opportunity is available only to the customers who have the company’s new smart meters. These new smart meters with various brand names including Kamstrup Nuri and Smart G were introduced about three years ago, ECG’s customer care centre told Fact-Check Ghana.
Thus, a considerable number of people who have had their meters before 2018 are not able to buy electricity units through a shortcode or an App.
Meanwhile, according to the ECG, it would cost between GH₵ 400 and GH₵ 700, depending on whether it is a single or three-phase credit meter, for one to replace an old meter with a new smart one.