General News of Monday, 19 November 2018
Former President John Dramani Mahama has pledged to give the needed support to anyone who emerges as the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the party’s quest to wrest power from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2020 presidential election. According to him, the journey back to the Jubilee House had started and that he would give his best to make that vision attainable.
Addressing delegates at the party’s congress in Accra last Saturday, he said “we have begun our journey back to the Jubilee House, and on my part, I can confidently promise you all that I shall continue to provide the needed support and encouragement on that journey, and it will not matter who the flag bearer of our party is.”
Towards that end, he reminded the teeming crowd of party faithful that it was important for them to keep in mind that the choices they made last Saturday would contribute to the determination of the future of the NDC and Ghana.
“We must, therefore, put our best foot forward to rescue Ghana from the abysmal performance of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the NPP,” he stressed.
Last Saturday’s congress, he pointed out, represented the hopes and aspirations of the country and that it was a divine calling to which they must answer.
“The grassroots of our party, the hardworking farmers, fishermen, artisans, teachers, nurses, other public sector workers, the business and investment community have all seen the clear difference between us and them,” he said.
While stressing the fact that the NDC must not fail the people of Ghana, he said “we must be proud of our party and proud of our record in Government. At each opportunity we have had to serve in government, the people of Ghana have seen more rapid progress in terms of development and improvement in economic activity.”
He recounted that business confidence was at an all-time high prior to 2017 and economic activity and investment in the real sector exceeded the performance in the last two years under the NPP.
Development in the roads, education, healthcare, electricity and water sectors, and also in the aviation and maritime subsectors, he said, were clearly visible for all Ghanaians to see.
“Today, business confidence is down, and economic activity is at a complete standstill. The cry you hear from Ghanaians every day is “Enko yie”, he remarked.
The inept handling of the banking crisis by the government, he said, had led to the almost complete collapse of the local finance sector.
According to him, banks belonging to Ghanaians had been closed and Akufo-Addo administration’s predatory approach towards indigenous investors in that sector, had created a panic run on the remaining surviving Ghanaian finance institutions.
He thus observed that situation had gravely affected small and medium enterprise (SME) lending and led to significant job losses.
“Meanwhile government borrowing continues to spiral out of control. For a party that frowned on borrowing, the current rate of unbridled borrowing represents a hypocritical u-turn where words spoken in opposition do not match actions in government,” he observed.
He said Ghana’s current debt had ballooned from GH¢122 billion at the end of 2016 to GH¢170 billion at end of September 2018, saying that amounted to a whopping accumulation of almost GH¢50 billion debt in a space of less than two years.
Currently, he noted, the NPP administration was only counting on a rebasing of the economy to show an artificially lower debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, but which will still be totally out of sync with a historically low 11 per cent revenue to GDP ratio.