Dumsor exposes Mahama’s ‘incompetency’—Veep praises Akufo-Addo for COVID-19 relief policies
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has lauded the government for showing better leadership skills in managing the economy amidst the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
According to him, the measures that the government implemented to solving the COVID-19 crisis were excellent in alleviating the plight of the ordinary Ghanaians.
Speaking with the Presidential Press Corps in Accra yesterday, the Vice President noted that the robustness of an economy was necessary to be tested during crisis.
“If anyone wants to test the robustness of an economy, it should be tested in times of crisis,” he said.
Available data, Dr Bawumia observed, indicated that the leadership of President Akufo-Addo in crisis management was better than that of his predecessor, the Mahama-led administration.
He explained that when the nation was hit by constant power crisis (dumsor), which collapsed many businesses in 2013 to 2016, the previous government could not manage it as the way the current Government was managing the COVID-19 crisis.
The mitigation measures rolled out by the two Presidents to deal with their respective crises, Dr Bawumia maintained, showed a stark difference in concern and approach, adding that when businesses were confronted by the electricity crisis, the erstwhile governmentdid not introduce any stimulus package for the citizenry but increased their plight.
“Electricity tariffs were increased by 45 per cent, while fuel prices also saw a hike,” he added.
On the contrary, President Akufo-Addo’s Government in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, was absorbing the electricity bills of all lifeline consumers and giving a 50 per cent subsidy to other residential and commercial consumers, for three months.
“There is also free water supply to all Ghanaians for three months. The government has introduced a-600-million stimulus package for small-and medium scale businesses,” he said.
Additionally, the Government is offering tax rebates to all health workers, coupled with 50 per cent top up on the basic salaries of frontline health workers for four months.
“So the difference between the NDC and NPP governments is more stark. Who would you trust in times of crisis? Clearly, President Akufo-Addo has shown leadership and concern towards ordinary Ghanaians,” Dr Bawumia emphasised.
The poorly-managed economy under the previous administration, he noted resulted in high inflation, which hovered around 15.4 per cent in 2016 and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.6 per cent, stressing that it was one of the lowest in the country’s history.
Dr Bawumia further stated that there was freeze on public employment, cancellation of Teacher Trainee and Nurses Allowances as well as a weak public financing and banking system, culminating in International Monetary Fund bailout in 2014.
He also established that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) returned to ‘cash-and-carry system,’ while the macroeconomic data performance of the previous administration was worst since the year 2000.
The data, the Vice President said was very clear and was not a green book data, adding that anyone talking about the issues should use the data to avoid embarrassment.
Before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Akufo-Addo-led government, he observed had implemented a number of social interventions and flagship programmes to alleviate poverty.
He cited the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, Capitation Grant for pupils, employment for 350,000 public sector workers and the engagement of 100,000 graduates under the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo).
Dr Bawumia also cited the Planting for Food and Jobs, One Ambulance, One Constituency, and the ongoing One-District – One-Factory initiatives.
“The Government had also introduced digital programmes in the public sector to enhance service delivery,” he added.
The digital programmes, Dr Bawumia mentioned, included Mobile Money Payment Interoperability, digitisation of the court system (e-justice system), e-business registration, e-passport application, e-renewal of NHIS and digitisation of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA).
According to him, the government had increased resources to anti-graft institutions to fight corruption, saying “it is increased by 50 per cent, the District Assembly Common Fund allowances for Persons with Disability (PWDs) while the allowances for police and soldiers in peacekeeping had increased from 31 to 35 dollars daily.”
He urged Ghanaians to carefully analyse the data he presented to choose wisely the competent person that could be trusted with the economy.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE