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Razak Kojo Opoku writes: The honeymoon period saga

Opinion

Razak Kojo Opoku

1 month(s) ago
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The campaign promise of using 100 days or less to fix challenges facing the Country has become noise in the ears of Ghanaians due to the lack of honesty and commitment on the part of Politicians over the years.

A lot of things have gone wrong with the governance of this Country, especially under the 4th Republic but sadly many people out of cowardice or due to their selfish interest have decided to remain mute or silent over national issues.

The NPP and NDC only embrace the Truth when it favours their political agenda but completely Reject and Fight same when it undermines their respective chances of winning and maintaining political power. In opposition, Politicians embrace the Truth but in power reject and fight it, and this dishonest attitude is one of the weaknesses of Ghana's democracy. The collective focus should rather be on Ghana First regardless of which party or President is in power. That's why H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo told us to be Citizens, not Spectators. However, those who decided to be Citizens (including NPP members and Non-members) by way of Speaking Truth to Power such as calling for major changes and reshuffle of Appointees are unfortunately ignored by the President.

Now, who is in charge of running the economic affairs of the Country, is it IMF/World Bank, Ken Ofori-Atta or the Economic Management Team led by the Vice?

It could even be possible that the Vice-President and 2024 Presidential Candidate of the NPP might not have been actively involved or consulted on most of the decisions undertaken by the Akufo-Addo-led Government.

Again, it is possible that Vice may not be happy with certain decisions made by Akufo-Addo's Government, and definitely such decisions would require a Honeymoon Period to either cancel or review such policies/decisions when elected on 7th December 2024.

Anyone within the NPP who will challenge this assumption is emphasizing to Ghanaians that, the Vice-President and 2024 Flagbearer of the NPP fully approved all the decisions of Akufo-Addo's Government, which I don't think and believe to be true.

In short, John Mahama is being honest with his request for a Honeymoon Period should he win the 2024 Presidential election.

However, majority of Ghanaians will only agree to the honeymoon request by any President after 7th January 2025 largely based on the  Conduct of that particular government within the first 60 Days in Office.

The size, budget, policy direction and expenditure of the next government will be the key déterminants as to whether Ghanaians will support the requested Honeymoon Period or not.

We have been told by President Akufo-Addo, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, IMF and World Bank that, "Ghana has turned the Corner" but I honestly don't know the particular Corner that Ghana has turned.

Is it a left Corner or right Corner because the prevailing economic reality on the ground is NOT supporting the arguments being put forward by IMF, World Bank, President Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta that "Ghana has turned the Corner".

I just want them to know and understand that we are still in the process of turning the corner. We can only confidently state that, "Ghana has turned the Corner" when the current state of the economy corresponds to the pockets and purchasing power of the majority of Ghanaians.

The best we can say to Ghanaians ahead of 2024 general election is that, "the economy and its indicators are normalizing, getting better and with time everything will be fine therefore Ghanaians should be patient with the NPP".

We can only defeat the opponents of NPP in the 2024 general election if we stay honest, humble and truthful with the economic Facts and Data.

I doubt the credibility of the inflation figures put forward by the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS), especially from September - December 2023.  

From September to December 2023, prices of goods and services were rising coupled with the implementation of some taxes yet we are told by Ghana Statistical Services that inflation rates are coming down. I don't know how they came up with such voodoo inflation figures.

The majority of NPP members are happy because it is favoring the government but in sincerity, NPP would have easily questioned the credibility of the recent inflation figures (September - December 2023) if they were in opposition.

With Ken Ofori-Atta and IMF still in charge of running the economy of Ghana, the chances of NPP in 2024 is at greater risk.

As far as I am concerned, any government after H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo deserves a Honeymoon Period of at least 12 months to right the ‘wrongs’ of the current government and put things in proper order.

The following issues highlighted below deserve a Honeymoon Period by the next President and his vice preferably a Bawumia-led government in 2025 or a future Presidency of Kennedy Agyapong to address them:

1. Debt Exchange Programme and IMF Conditionalities for the $3 Billion Loan Facility.

The Domestic Debt Exchange Programme(DDEP) affecting Pensioners, Bondholders from Individuals to Corporate Entities, and the Suspension of Payments on Selected External Debts of Ghana's Government is a very, very, very serious issues that the next President of the Republic of Ghana has to deal with. Even the next President under NPP Government WILL face this pending HEAT in 2025,2026 and beyond.

Recently, Ghana has won a moratorium with official creditors on debt payments until May 2026. The payments owed on $5.4 billion of bilateral obligations would be repaid by Ghana in 16 and 17 years' time. Ghana is also expected in March 2023 to reach a deal with Eurobond Investors to revamp the $13 billion debt.

Would Ken Ofori-Atta who is negotiating these arrangements still be in office in May 2026 through to 16 and 17 years?

2. Ghana Government owes Power Producers Billions of Cedis.

If this issue is not properly negotiated, Dumsor will definitely come back to further hurt the economy under the next government.

3. The Ghana Road Fund owes Contractors Billions of Cedis

4. General Audit of All Contracts and Procurement Breaches by Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies(MDAs/MMDAs).

One of the most disturbing trends in our body politics and governance under the 4th Republican Constitution is how some CEOs, Ministers, MMDCEs and other Government Appointees allegedly hijack contracts/procurement procedures and resources under their respective outfits to their benefits using:
(a). their own existing companies
(b). new companies established 
(c). Companies belonging to close associates

This bad attitude is seriously undermining governance, and transparency, and limiting general opportunities for all.

5. Review and Suspension of Non-performing Policies under Akufo-Addo's Government and other previous Governments.

6. Review and Suspension of Nuisance Taxes and E-levy imposed by Ken Ofori-Atta and the Finance Ministry/Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) especially the recent senseless VAT on domestic consumption of Electricity.

7. Review of the Galamsey Policy of Akufo-Addo's Government.

8. Review, Maintain and further Improve the Free SHS Policy introduced by Akufo-Addo's Government.

9. Critically Assess, Investigate and Review the Performance of the Officials of Bank of Ghana including the Board, Governor and his Deputies especially the Printing of monies without Parliamentary Approval.

10. Significantly pay equal attention and supervision to the Development of every Constituency and Region as a whole regardless of whether they voted for NPP, NDC or an Independent Candidate in accordance with the Presidential Oath of Ghana.

It is important to conclude that, the next government and President of the Republic of Ghana After 7th January 2025 would need a Honeymoon Period of at least one year to put things in order first before Citizens can fully start holding the President and government accountable to their campaign promises.

source: Razak Kojo Opoku