Government has noted a number of false and or misleading claims attributed to Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the third time running mate to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer.
At a party event in Wa, Dr Bawumia among other falsehoods claimed that;
1. The NDC government had borrowed US$ 37 billion out of which it accounts for only US$ 7 billion
2. That there are six reasons why Ghanaians should reject what is contained in the ?Accounting to the People? book.
We are constrained to respond as follows;
1. It is instructive that after years of living in denial that these projects exist, he has finally acknowledged their existence except that he wants to tread down the path of discrediting them for partisan gain.
Dr. Bawumia?s latest untruths is only a last-gasp effort to create doubts about the unprecedented investments made in all spheres of our national life by President John Dramani Mahama?s Government. It is borne out of a morbid fear that the overwhelming evidence provided in the 210-page book, shatters the many unsustainable falsehoods churned out by him, the NPP and their allies about the performance of President Mahama.
On the specific claim, without source, that this government has borrowed US$37 billion since 2009, we wish to put on record that this is false and a desperate attempt to find basis for the flawed conclusions he churned out at the event.
At paragraph 127 on page 36 of the 2016 Budget presented to Parliament in November,2015, the Minister for Finance clearly indicated that our total National Debt stood at GH�92,161.84 million or US$24,285.07. This was made up of GH�54,488.26 million (US$14,357.91million) for external debt and GH�37,673.58 million ($9,927.16 million) for domestic debt.
This represents our entire national debt since independence and includes US$8.1 billion bequeathed President Atta Mills? Government by Dr Bawumia?s NPP in January 2009.
Given that his claims on our debt which forms the basis of his accusations are false, it stands to reason that his weak inferences with regards to how much has been spent on the projects highlighted in the book ?Accounting to the People? are problematic and unacademic. In deed Dr Bawumia cannot feign ignorance of the use to which loans contracted are put. Every external loan contracted by Government is subject to Parliamentary approval and the use to which it is put is clearly stated in the documents presented to Parliament. By constantly pretending not to know this, Dr Bawumia is casting aspersions on the competence and diligence of his NPP MPs who help to approve these loans.
2. Regarding his claim that his phantom total loan amount could have been supposedly used for six things he itemised, we wish to state as follows:
a. Claim 1: The money could have been used to develop the Rail network from Accra to Paga and Transformed many parts of our country by this Investment.
Response: A review of the NPP?s 2000 and 2004 manifestos reveals the basis for this claim.
The NPP promised at page 15 of their 2000 manifesto to ensure a ?Modernization and extension of railway network and Connection to the Northern Regions?.
At page 25 of their 2004 manifesto, the NPP also promised to ensure ?Preparatory work towards the expansion project to link Ghana by rail to its northern neighbours of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.?
The records show that Dr Bawumia and his NPP failed spectacularly to fulfil their promise. The records also show that the railway sector collapsed under the NPP and in some instances they sold existing rail tracks as scrap.
We entreat Dr Bawumia to peruse pages 94, 95 and 98 of ?Accounting to the People? where irrefutable proof our superior performance in the Railway sector has been provided.
b) Claim 2: The money could have solved the water problems in Ghana.
Response: Once again, Dr Bawumia inadvertently sets his party up for mockery. The NPP holds the most abysmal record in the provision of water by any government in this fourth Republic. In all their 8 years in office, they increased water coverage by a paltry 2%.
We invite him again to turn to pages 58 to 65 to learn about the unmatched record of President Mahama with regards to the provision of water. The facts as presented in the book show that since the NDC came to office, water coverage has increased from 58.5% in 2009 to 76% in 2015.This is set to increase to 85% by close of this year when an additional 20 water projects are completed around the country. In absolute terms we have provided 77.5 million gallons of water per(MGD) day for 4.2 million Ghanaians as of the end of 2015. By the end of 2016 this will increase to 110million (MGD) for a total of 7 million Ghanaians. In all 52 years preceding the NDC in 2009, available water capacity could only serve 14 million people.
c) Claim 3: Solve the energy problem
Response: Between pages 69 and 78 in ?Accounting to the People?, incontrovertible proof is provided on work done to increase our generation capacity which has not only ended load shedding but, made available for the first time in our history reserve capacity to take care of eventualities.
d) Claim 4: Put in place at least 1000 kilometres of asphalted roads in each region. There will be no major road problem left in any region after this.
Response: Pages 100 to 111 of the book provides pictorial proof of massive first-class road investments across the country. A regional breakdown is also provided for some of the road projects being undertaken in the country. Unlike Dr Bawumia?s dubious claims of expanding the road network by 8 times of what we have done, we have provided proof. We challenge him to list all, and we mean all, these roads and show where they are.
e) Claim 5: Put in place one world class hospital in each region.
Response: Dr Bawumia?s NPP also has the worst record in the provision of health infrastructure. The NPP has the dubious distinction of being the only party that failed to build a single Regional hospital in all 8 years of their tenure under the fourth republic. The President Rawlings Government built the Cape Coast, Ho and Sunyani Regional Hospitals. President Mahama is currently providing world-class Regional hospitals at Ridge in Accra, Sewua in Kumasi, Bolgatanga in the Upper East and Wa in the Upper West Region. In addition to this he is providing two world-class teaching hospitals and 15 District Hospitals. He has already provided 5 polyclinics with another 15 about to start, over forty health centres and hundreds of CHPS compounds. Together these hospitals will deliver over 6,000 additional beds representing the biggest investment ever by any Government in health infrastructure in Ghana?s history.
It is also a fact that every Region in Ghana has benefitted or is benefiting from the provision of a world-class hospital equipment under President Mahama. Regarding the provision of equipment, President John Mahama also holds the record for best performance. In the last four years, US$ 267 million has been invested in the provision of critical diagnostic and treatment equipment for over 150 health facilities nation-wide. This also represents the biggest ever investment in health equipment by any Government. Unshakable evidence of these and facts on the robust performance of the NHIS are set out from page 22 to 39 of ?Accounting to the People?.
f) Claim 6: These investments have not translated into improved services for the people.
Response: It is obvious from this claim that Dr Bawumia and the NPP are not in tune with developments in our communities. The tens of thousands of school children who now sit in comfortable classrooms after almost half of the 4,321 schools under trees the NPP bequeathed know otherwise. The millions of Ghanaians in whose taps water had not flowed for decades but who now enjoy supply of treated water know better and cannot be deceived. The many Ghanaians who can now receive quality health diagnostic care know better.
Indeed, we urge Dr Bawumia to check page 25 of ?Accounting to the People? for evidence of massive improvements in critical human development and health indicators as culled from the Ghana Health and Demographic Survey of 2014. It shows that Infant, Child and under-five mortalities which were alarmingly high under the NPP have reduced significantly under President Mahama.
3. Contrary to Dr Bawumia?s claims, capital expenditures as a ratio of GDP averaged 5.6% from 2001 to 2008 and not 11% as claimed by Dr Bawumia. It is currently within the same band. The resort to ?Capex/GDP? ratios is only an attempt to mask his party?s horrendously appalling record with regards to the delivery of critical infrastructure like schools, hospitals, water, housing, roads, communications, energy among others.
Dr Bawumia is fully aware that a thorough analysis of the actual amounts pumped into these projects vis-�-vis the outcomes will expose the staggering mediocrity exhibited by his party when in Government between 2001 and 2008.
4. On Job creation, Dr Bawumia is encouraged to read pages 137 and 138 of ?Accounting to the People? where evidence of job creation arising from several interventions is given. We wish to assure that Government will continue to do more to ensure that more jobs are created for our youth. It would be recalled however that the NPP is bereft of a sustainable track record when it comes to job creation save for the ignominious tag of deceiving Ghanaians at page 5 of their 2000 manifesto that they will ?Create jobs for all persons able and willing to work and to reward each of them appropriately?.
Let Dr Bawumia disprove this horrible deception by pointing us to which jobs they created for ALL Ghanaians.
5. Dr Bawumia also repeated the discredited mantra of ?inflated cost? of projects as means of chipping away at their positive impact on the lives of our people. In doing so he has placed himself firmly in the ranks of the Political Quantity Surveyors whose modus operandi is to claim without basis, logic or fact that the cost of every project is inflated. This is done for the sole purpose of undermining the projects in question for political gain. But the Danquah-Busiah tradition will no longer be allowed to undermine the interest of Ghanaians for their parochial gains- not anymore!
No amount of falsehoods however will distract Government from investing further in all sectors of the economy to enhance the wellbeing of Ghanaians.
Finally, the public is respectfully encouraged to download copies of the book, ?Accounting to the People? from
www.moc.gov.gh,www.ghana.gov.gh,www.presidency.gov.gh and www.greenbookghana.com
This will further shred Dr Bawumia and the NPP?S campaign of deceit which has failed on two occasions and will fail again because the people of Ghana cannot be neutral between truth and deceit.
Edward K. Omane Boamah (Dr)