‘Kasa ye mframa’, ‘kasa tenten nto ponko’ – These are some Akan phrases translated as ‘it is easier said than done’ being thrown at President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as reactions to his performance as president of the country as against what he promised the Ghanaian electorate prior to the presidential elections.
Nana Addo, a renowned politician, had lost elections in 2008 and 2012 but was eager to contest again, not for his own parochial interest, but for the betterment of the country. He insisted that his promises were not election gimmicks, begging Ghanaians to give him the nod when he contested for the third time in 2016, an election that saw him rise from a presidential candidate to the position of the highest office of the land – president.
Aside from the promises which included the Free SHS policy, 1 Village 1 Dam, 1 District 1 Factory – a key component of the industrial transformation agenda of the NPP – Nana Akufo-Addo without equivocation, assured Ghanaians of his readiness and ability to deliver the country from a corrupt and incompetent John Mahama administration.
Candidate Akufo-Addo lamented the high cost of living, depreciation of the cedi, high unemployment rate, fuel price hikes, increment of utility tariffs, low salaries and wages with his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, chorusing ‘Ghanaians are suffering’.
With the emergence of social media, Nana Addo made good use of the platforms in trumpeting his assessment of John Mahama’s administration which, according to him, was not good enough, taking into cognizance the enormous resources of the country.
The narrative was that President Kuffour handed over a juicy economy to the National Democratic Congress; however, due to incompetence and bad leadership, “yete sika so nso ekom de yen” – to wit, ‘we’re hungry despite our resources’.
The electorate bought his ideas, voted for him in 2016 and in 2020 when he asked for “4 more to do more”. Typical of Ghana’s elections in the 4th Republic, the sitting president who was a candidate had his mandate renewed. In his first State of the Nation Address during his second term, Nana Akufo-Addo declared his intention to make sure the clarion call that preceded the 2020 presidential elections for him to do more is realized.
“In spite of the considerable challenges we confronted, and the setbacks we encountered, we were confident our record in office would put us in good stead before the electorate and earn us a second term in office, which it did.
“It means that the reason for which the Ghanaian people went to the polls on 7th December – that is to seek improvement in their living standards and the rapid transformation of the economy – must continue in earnest,” the president stated.
Undoubtedly, the Akufo-Addo administration has delivered some promises but they are not enough to rescue the country from its economic woes. The economy is in crisis and it is a no-brainer. While the president admits that Ghanaians are going through difficult times, he has made excuses, stressing he is not to blame.
“I admit that Ghanaians are going through difficult times; some people are trying to say that it is my fault, but you know that is not the case. Yet, they will continue to say it,” he explained on Saturday, December 18, 2021.
“I know that there is a general sense of anxiety in our nation at the moment. The Ghanaian people are anxious about the economy, cost of living, income levels, jobs for young people and issues that we all thought that we had achieved national consensus on,” the president stated during the presentation of the 2022 State of the Nation Address in Parliament.
The NDC and John Mahama continue to be blamed for the economic catastrophe as well as the Russia-Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A litre of petrol which sold at GH¢6.90 in December 2021 now sells at GH¢9.30 and is likely to increase again. Transport fares have subsequently increased while service providers are seeking for increment in tariffs. The Electricity Company of Ghana is proposing 148% increase while the Ghana Water Company Limited seeks 326% increase in water charges.
The Ghana Statistical Service says the consumer price inflation for April has reached 23.6% from an earlier 19.4% recorded in March this year – this is one of the highest inflation figures recorded in the country since January 2004.
From all indications, the promise to move the economy from taxation to production is a facade. The government has introduced the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) – a 1.5% tax on all electronic transactions above 100 cedis – and although many Ghanaians have expressed fury over the initiative, Nana Akufo-Addo who led the massive ‘Kume Preko’ demonstration against the Rawlings administration in 1990 over the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) has defended that levy.
“It’s emerging as the biggest economy in the country and for a long period has not had any taxation at all. So, it’s important now that they also come into the net. Our country has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios of any country in West Africa and of an equivalent economy,” he explained to BBC why the digital economy is being taxed.
“The ECOWAS area, the general average, today, tax to GDP average is about 18%. Ghana- we are at 13%, so if you’re talking about a country that is already overtaxed, if anything at all, it’s undertaxed,” he added.
Barely days after its implementation, Ghanaians have voiced their frustration on the basis that the government is adding more salt to injury.
Ghanaians are suffering! – Apologies to Dr. Bawumia.
The hardship is too intense that Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a leading member of the ruling New Patriotic Party somehow feels the heat.
“I am not happy with the economy. I don’t think you are happy with the economy; I certainly don’t think the president is happy with the economy because he had made it so; he said so, that, he is not happy. His vice president had repeated that, and his finance minister had said the same. So, we are not happy with the economy,” he said on Asaase Radio.
The reactions of some Ghanaians on social media, if it were a song, would have been Highlife legend, Amakye Dede’s ‘Broken Promise’. Comments Nana Addo made about John Mahama’s administration are being dug out as if to say ‘Wo Na Wo Hye Ho No’ – loosely translated as “You See Your Life?’.