Politics of Thursday, 22 November 2018
Ex-President John Dramani Mahama has since the start of his campaign to contest the presidential primaries of the opposition NDC to lead them in the 2020 election, questioned the government’s implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, insisting it was rushed.
In some instances, he has hinted at a review of the policy should he win the 2020 elections.
While addressing NDC delegates at Nsuta Kwaman Beposo in the Ashanti Region as part of his campaign tour, he said, “When these students graduate, where they will get employment? Some of that money should go into investing in the productive sector so that it can generate employment opportunities, so that as the children are coming out of free SHS, they can get work to do. But when we say it, they don’t heed”.
But speaking to citinewsroom.com, one of the Deputy Communication Directors of the governing NPP, Mame Yaa Aboagye, said former President Mahama’s comments were unfortunate.
She asked the former President to rather apologize to Ghanaians for failing to listen to hear their cries when he had the opportunity to.
Throwing more light on why the Akufo-Addo-led government is keen on making education free for all, she said, “The NPP is not a social democratic party like the NDC, but rather a liberal conservative party. As a matter of fact, it is not in the DNA of the NPP to design and implement social intervention programs like we are doing today, but times have changed so we have to adjust our policies and programmes to meet the social demands of our people. It is therefore for good reason that the Akufo-Addo-led government has made it a priority to ensure that no child is left behind uneducated”.
“It is the agenda of the NPP and the vision of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to empower the private sector to create jobs and champion development” she added.
She said the NDC on the other hand, which prides itself as a social democratic party, has failed to portray the ideals and principles that it should stand for.
“They have not as at today designed or implemented any social intervention programme in this country. If they have, they should name just one to earn the applause of Ghanaians,” she challenged.
According to her, it was the NPP under former President John Agyekum Kufuor that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Metro Mass Bus Transit (MMT), the School Feeding Program and the National Youth Employment Programme (Now Youth Employment Agency – YEA) among others were introduced to make life better for most Ghanaians.
Responding to issues of youth unemployment and what the government was doing about the situation, Mame Yaa Aboagye said “So far, the Akufo-Addo government has implemented a lot of policies such as 1D1F, NEIP for entrepreneurs, reduction of taxes for businesses and industry, reduction of tariffs and others to help the private sector thrive and empower it to create jobs for the citizenry. Graduates can take advantage of all these policies to better their lives and that of the next generation” she said.
“It is an open secret that about 60% of government revenue is used for the payment of the public sector wages Bill. This means that, government has just about 40% of IGF to invest in developmental projects and also to service debts” she noted, saying she finds it puzzling that after about two years in opposition, Ex-President John Dramani Mahama and the Opposition NDC still do not have better alternative ideas to match that of the NPP in tackling the canker of unemployment.
“Facts do not lie; and Ghanaians can attest to the fact that within just 22 months in office the NPP government has been able to resuscitate the broken economy they left Ghanaians with. And so it is only out of sheer ignorance and mediocrity that the former President Mahama will engage in such debased frivolities.”
She concluded by saying “If Ex-President John Dramani Mahama had any good advice to give on governance and key government policy implementations, the NDC wouldn’t have been in opposition today”.
‘Ignore Mahama, he’s always been against Free SHS’ – Oppong Nkrumah
Speaking at a press conference recently, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, took a swipe at Mr. Mahama for repeatedly questioning the ‘sense’ in the Free SHS and the double track program.
“It is not senseless, to give some an extra 500,000 students free education in Akufo-Addo’s first term”.
He said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is not overwhelmed by the comments of the former President on the policy due to his constant opposition even during the campaign periods in the build up to the 2016 general election.
“Others may be shocked that a former President who in his days was noted for calling on Ghanaians to be optimistic and not cynical about national programs, will be the one to make such a comment to undermine a national program. The Akufo-Addo government is not the least surprised. Mr. Mahama has never been in support of the Free SHS program. You recall that he campaigned heavily against it even as a sitting President”, he added.