The 2016 presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has called on the international community to keep its focus firmly locked on Ghana ahead of the conduct of the 2016 elections, despite the country being held up as an example for the rest of Africa to follow.
With Ghanaians yearning for a change in their circumstances, after being plagued by economic hardships and rampant corruption over the last 7 years, coupled with President Mahama desperately looking for a second term in office, though his NDC government would have spent 8 years in office by 2016, “the stakes are certainly high”, according to Nana Akufo-Addo. Delivering a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a leading Think Tank in Washington on Tuesday, the NPP flagbearer described as worrying, an article in the Bloomberg titled ‘Ghana’s Success Story Goes Dark’. The article explicitly talks about how things had gone wrong for Ghana at least within the last decade. “Even we in opposition did not think our rivals could make things get this bad. What is frustrating for the Ghanaian people is that we believe it is all in essence, avoidable. We believe we have what it takes to make Ghana work again. So my task is not to deepen the gloom but to give both Ghanaians and the investor community a reason to hope. That, yes, the story today may be bad but change is coming,” he said.
The reasons informing the clarion call for change in Ghana, Akufo-Addo said, stems from the mismanagement of Ghana’s economy, rising cost of living, rising cost of doing business in Ghana, rising levels of unemployment, as well as rampant and widespread cases of corruption, amongst others, under the government of John Mahama. Ghana’s public debt, he said, has shot up 1,000% in less than 7 years the NDC has been in office, with the country spending GH¢9.5 billion to service interest payments on loans alone, a figure representing Ghana’s entire debt stock in 2009, when President Kufuor and the NPP left office.
Additionally, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that, over the last 3 years, social and economic lives of the people have been heavily disrupted by ‘dumsor’, the cost of which has been estimated to be $2.2 million a day, equivalent to 7% of Ghana’s GDP, according to calculations made by Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER). “Corruption is perceived to be at an all-time high. Investor confidence is low. Unemployment is worsening as businesses are folding; cost of borrowing is at 35%; inflation keeps rising, at 17.5% last month; cost of living is high; our cedi has been one of the world’s worst performing currencies over the last couple of years. Depreciation and our inability to pay our bills forced Ghana, oil rich Ghana, to apply for an IMF bailout last year. This has put a 10% cap in wage increases, way below the rate of inflation, making people poorer, and a cap on public sector hiring as well,” the NPP flagbearer explained.