Last Saturday, H.E. William Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was formally admitted into the Exclusive Club 193 (Heads of States/Governments with membership in the United Nations). Our new president is also a full member of the Exclusive Club 52 of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Exclusive 54 of the African Union (AU), and the Exclusive Club 15 of ECOWAS.
With the pedigree of the nation he now heads, he will automatically take up the front bench in the AU, and easily recognised in the UN as the leader of a powerhouse from Africa. He looks likely to chair ECOWAS and/or the AU at some point in his tenure as President and Head of State of the Republic of Ghana.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he is entitled to three sets of military uniforms, representing the three main divisions of infantry, air and navy. I have my doubts that he will allow the Armed Forces to incur any cost in clothing him. However, it will be nice to see such a sworn activist of anti-military dictatorship in full military uniform, looking like Idi Amin Dada, Mobutu and co of blessed memory, who, at one time, made OAU meetings look like any military officers mess.
That H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo would find things rosy is like anticipating rainstorms in mid-harmattan. Money is needed for advancing the nation forward, but even though billions of dollars is showing on our accounts, that amount is in deep RED.
It was said that H.E. J.A. Kufuor left a total outstanding debt of over $9.0 billion when he peacefully exited the scene in 2009. Just after eight years, we now pay interest of over $10 billion on the debt we owe. Chineke! There is God. So how much debt did we owe within this short period of a little over 13% of our sixty years?
The same thing happened to Ghana in 2001, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) formed the government for the first time. An ex-National Democratic Congress (NDC) Cabinet Minister was bold to proclaim from the rooftops that “we shall see where the NPP will get money to pay workers.” Meaning, there was nothing in the state coffers, but only $233 million of foreign reserves or three weeks cover.
Luckily there was the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which the NDC had already satisfied all conditions for, and would have declared Ghana HIPC in 2001 and enjoyed the facility. Smart as the NPP was, Ghana went HIPC, and we were saved the embarrassment of not finding money to pay workers who had voted for Positive Change. Now this HIPC Initiative is no longer there.
Today, we have oil resources, though the price of crude has dropped from $143.00 per barrel to well below $60.00 today. The problem is not the drop in revenue, but how much revenue do we get as an oil producing nation. Speculations about the hedging of oil to China over a fifteen year period, and dipsticks that just do not work, can be unraveled by the new government.
How much revenue leaks out to unauthorised accounts will certainly come out sooner than later. New deals need to be entered into, and bad ones scrapped, if the nation is to benefit from the low oil price regime. What will it cost to nationalise our oil fields? Even here, I doubt that this liberal democratic, capitalist-based government will saddle the state with such responsibilities of sole state ownership. Anyhow, it is the hope that H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo should be spared any haste in reconstructing this country.
The real problem is the social security of its people, and this has nothing to do with the institution called Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). The fundamental needs of a person are food, shelter, job, health and security. Once these five are in abundance, man feels free and content. Access to good and adequate food and water; access to safe shelter; availability of well-paid job meaning living wages, where enough savings can be made for rainy days; access to good health with top class professional medics, and the availability of security to protect person and property at all times.
When any, or all of these five are absent, the ordinary man will be discontent with the system, and this was largely what happened to the NDC government, which thought that governance was only all about building interchanges, schools and hospitals (without teachers and medics due to unemployment).
The new government’s promise to build shelters for female head porters is most ideal in keeping these vulnerable women from the diverse effects of the weather and miscreants. Maybe, adding free evening vocation courses can enhance their lives.
Poverty, in the midst of plenty, is serious, and so it was when the electorate took the measurement of their social standings and found it abysmally low and decided on change and disregarded the infrastructural developments. They surely remembered what H.E. John Mahama said against infrastructural developments by President Kufuor in 2008, and took his advice, but this hit him where it hurt most, at the polls.
H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and his government must be given the goodwill, even in bad times, because, even though destruction is easy, reconstruction can be painful and difficult. At the point of independence, Ghanaians were offered Capitalism and Socialism, and we chose Socialism. Of our sixty years, we can say that the pro-capitalist governed for only fourteen years – that is if we are allowed to add the military National Liberation Council (NLC) regime. The socialists, appearing in all sheds of names and colours – African Socialism, Nkrumahism, Consciencism and now Social Democrats – have held on to power for at least forty-six years, and this is how far we have got to as a nation. Granting the Liberal Democrats, at least, twenty un-interrupted years, would certainly get Ghana on top of the Second World nations.
Welcome H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, may God be with you, and have a Holy Spirit filled reign, so that you set the process for the lifting high of this nation.
Hon. Daniel Dugan