A former Member of Parliament for Madina, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho has challenged the ruling New Patriotic Party to line up their achievements in government 23 months after they assumed power.
He has dared the president, Nana Akufo-Addo and his vice, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia to showcase their “so called projects” they claim surpasses that of former president Mahama’s if they truly exist.
Mr Sorogho, who was speaking to Mugabe Maase on Inside politics on Radio XYZ 93.1 on Wednesday, noted that apart from the poorly rolled out Free SHS policy, the NPP government has nothing better to show Ghanaians.
He was reacting to the Greater Accra Regional tour of President Akufo-Addo, where he was set to inspect and commission some projects.
But the former Chairman of the National Fire Service Council believes majority of the projects the president was to inspect and commission were initiated by the government of former president John Mahama.
He said the appointees of the current government have referred to former President Mahama as incompetent yet his tenure was better than president Akufo-Addo’s which is replete with corruption scandals. He added that the depreciation of the cedi, fuel hikes, and the bad economic management Ghanaians are dealing with shows that the country is not being ruled well.
Alhaji Sorogho’s comments come weeks after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the economy was doing well because of government’s “disciplined economic management.”
Presenting the 2019 Budget statement to Parliament last month, Mr Ofori-Atta recounted that: “Economic growth increased from 3.7 percent in 2016 to 8.5 percent in 2017.”
Agriculture growth, he announced, had increased from 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017 while Industry growth rose from negative 0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017. He said Services Sector also grew at 4.3 percent in 2017 as compared to 5.7 percent in 2016.
Mr Ofori-Atta alsso noted that inflation had also declined from 15.4 percent in 2016 to 11.8 percent in 2017, and now stands in single digits at 9.8 percent as at September.
Despite all these figures pointing at the right direction, Majority of Ghanaians say they are not a true reflection of the economy.
Fuel prices that have been slightly reduced to GHS4.98 from GHS 5.20 some weeks ago have not affected the prices of goods on the market, XYZ News has learnt.
Recently, two driver unions: Ghana Committed Drivers Association and Concerned Drivers Union of Ghana who have been agitating over the fuel hikes said the cost of doing business has gone overboard and their members were unable to make daily sales due to the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products.
In the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, scores of traders and drivers are unhappy about the high prices of petroleum products in the country.
The residents who spoke to XYZ News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Jonathan Ofori bemoaned their dwindling sales ever since the fuel prices went up.
Abu, a taxi driver who works on the Dr Mensah and Buokrom stretch in Kumasi told Jonathan he spends almost all his daily sales to purchase petrol at the close of work every day.
“Government does not respect drivers. But drivers are those who drive politicians but officials in government don’t care about us. We will show them,” another angry driver lamented.
Other traders at Dr Mensah and Central Market urged the government to reduce fuel prices and fix their roads in the second biggest and busiest city in the country.
“We will show this government if we continue to live in this hardship,” some others said in unison.
Spare parts dealers
Nana Akufo-Addo, prior to the 2016 elections, promised spare parts dealers some tax reliefs which they say don’t reflect in their businesses.
After the 2019 budget was read, the National Concern Spare parts Dealers Association of Ghana described it as “hopeless” since it was not promising for their businesses.
Speaking to Mugabe Maase on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ 93.1, Mr Benjamin Takyi-Addo, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Association said government “focused only on export and left behind policies for we the importers.”
He said their members were already overburdened with the current tax regime, saying although the government announced that some levies on import had been abolished, their members always pay more at the country’s ports to clear their goods.
“During the term of former president Mahama, we used to pay around GHS 17,000 to clear a container of shock absorbers but today we pay GHS 20,000 to clear same quantity of goods,” he disclosed, adding that such stress was not the change they voted for.
“We thought government had actually scrapped those taxes. We did not understand the budget then. We thought we were not going to pay the nuisance taxes,” he added.
“We are suffering and this budget is not in to offer help. We wish John Mahama was still in power. He is just like our old wife…We pray John Mahama will still be strong by 2020 to become our president. He is just like an ex-wife. We miss him so much and we can’t wait to see him in power again,” Mr Takyi-Addo revealed.
The Association of Road Contractors, Ghana (ASROC) have also said they are going through severe hardships following government’s inability to settle debts owed them for about three years.
Speaking on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ 93.1 Tuesday afternoon, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Road Contractors Association of Ghana, Stephen Attatsi, bemoaned the lack of political will on the part of the Akufo-Addo government to settle their debts that has piled up to about 2.8 billion cedis.
“Our number is in the 1000s and the effect of this is very huge,” he told Mugabe Maase, host of the programme and stressed that the members of the association have had to deal with “pressure” from banks they took loans from to initiate their projects.
Mr Attatsi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Supreme Bird investments Limited, disclosed that because the government has failed to settle the arrears after numerous promises, his bankers are chasing him and other road contractors to repay loans they took to embark on the projects.
Asked whether the government has not settled part of the debt, Mr Attatsi said : “on 3rd September, 2018 government paid about 25 contractors. Government promised to pay in bits afterwards but as I am speaking the government has not paid us as we were promised.” Mr Attatsi said.
“I owe different filling station operators over 300, 000 cedis,” as he disclosed that he has been sued for his inability to pay his workers’ SSNIT contribution.
By: Henryson Okrah/myxyzonline.com