...Says challenges ahead daunting
Less than a month after The aL-hAJJ reported of President Akufo-Addo having sleepless nights over how to redeem his numerous mouthwatering campaign promises to avoid incurring the wrath of ‘impatient’ Ghanaians, the President has been hinting of the daunting task ahead of him.
Without openly admitting that he has been planning on how to convince Ghanaians that some of his promises may not be fulfilled, President Akufo-Addo has been lamenting how the erstwhile Mahama administration left behind a “poor economy.”
Speaking at a press conference to announce his ministerial nominees for the ten regions, the President was blunt in admitting that things are not rosy as he would have wished to bring the kind of transformation he promised, assuring that “…but I’m a firm believer in the statement that when times are tough, the tough get going.”
Though the president’s Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta have attested to strong economic fundamentals, President Akufo Addo said “we have inherited an economy in poor shape and I suspect from what I’m hearing, the evidence that is coming to me that it is in even poorer shape than we anticipated.”
Sounding confident when he appeared before the appointment committee, Mr Ken Ofori Atta assured that: “the country may seem broke but actually not broken and that there are ways in which the infrastructure base could be improved.”
The aL-hAJJ recently reported that President Akufo-Addo have been fretting over how to fulfill his lofty promises and his government’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund, Millennium Challenge Agency and the People’s Republic of China after threatening to review agreements entered into with them by the immediate past Mahama government.
Sources at the seat of government confirmed to this paper that the President has since taking office been a worried man. “Nana has been brooding over how to fulfill his numerous promises, particularly those with timelines”, the source revealed.
President Akufo Addo, the source further explained, “knows it will be very difficult if not near impossible to fulfill most of the promises he made during the campaign and giving how Ghanaians bought into these promises to vote for us, he has been ‘thinking’ between how difficult fulfilling them could be and/or, to come clean, be frank with Ghanaians… telling them the bitter truth.”
Among some of the promises said to be giving the President nightmares include full implementation of the free Senior High School concept, One district, One factory, One village, One dam, One district, One million dollars for each Constotuency, reduction of VAT from 17.5% to 3% for SMEs, reduction of corporate tax from 25% to 12.5%, reduction in utility bills and fuel.
Others are the restoration of trainee nurses and teacher allowances, scrapping of some taxes, free import duties on raw materials, payment of deposits to DKM and other financial institution customers whose monies were locked up, new harbors at James Town and Keta, railway services from Takoradi-Kumasi to Paga and industrial parks for all ten regions.
The rest include, Stadia in Brong Ahafo, Eastern region, Upper East and West, and Volta regions, police hospitals at Bolatanga and Sunyani, two new police training schools, increase compulsory retirement in the Ghana Armed Forces from 25 years to 30 years among other promises.
Another source disclosed to this paper that giving the present state of the economy, the president and his economic management team believe the best way to water down the expectations of Ghanaians is “to prepare their minds by telling them the economy is in a mess and therefore some of the pledges may have to be shelved for the time being.”
In order to achieve this crafty target, the President only recently, while painting a gloomy picture of the economy, had this to say “this is the time that we have to show leadership and commitment to our nation. I continue to be an unrepentant optimist.”
He added that “we are a special people and we have a special destiny and I’m going to do everything within my bones to make sure that that destiny is realized in the years ahead of us.”
Adopting similar strategy, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia at a durbar of Zongo chiefs and Imams at Fadama in Accra organized by the Chief Imam to mark the birthday of Holy Prophet Mohammed, also said the NPP government has inherited a “very difficult” economy from the NDC administration.
“…We said that when by the grace of Allah we get into government, we will undertake a number of policies and by the grace of God we have gotten into government, we have looked at the economic situation, it is not an easy one, it is a very difficult one but by the grace of Allah we intend to keep all the promises that we made to the people of Ghana.
“You have already seen that we mean business; we are going to deal with the economic challenges, after all, that is what we were elected to do,” Dr. Bawumia noted.