Many a Ghanaian, including some journalists of whom the loquacious, fearless and seemingly stubborn Captain Smart of Angel FM and formerly of Adom FM, features infamously, accuses President Nana Akufo-Addo and his NPP government of borrowing more money than any other government in the political history of Ghana. The president is repeatedly accused of borrowing more money amid lambasting, by his detractors of whom again, the NDC leadership and their sycophantic supporters and members are very vociferously conspicuous.
Much as I am against the leaders of Ghana going on borrowing spree only to end up squandering a chunk of the loan so taken, I have no qualms about borrowing provided the money is put to good use of long term collective benefit to the citizenry. If the money so borrowed is prudently invested in infrastructures of nationwide benefit that can yield better returns to pay off the loans but not invested in projects of limited benefit to a few persons of same tribal background as the president, there should not be any cause for alarm.
To go straight to the point, what is the benefit to the nation and the people considering the following scenarios? A president goes for a loan of say, US$5 billion from China or America or the World Bank. He decides to construct roads, build hospitals, schools and carry out other essential developments. He constructs tarred roads of surface thickness of say, two and a half inches. This is what the civil engineers may call surfacing. In less than six months after completion of such roads, you will find the road inundated with potholes with portions of the road washed away by rainfall. When you come to the schools, the president will build Day Schools in remote areas inaccessible to many. The hospitals will be built at double their actual cost price. The overall cost of the projects will be huge owing to the fact of sole sourcing them out instead of opening them for tender. Part of the money so borrowed has found its way into the long but stinking pockets of the president and his ministers and their cronies.
In another scenario, a president will borrow say US$10 billion. This president will construct asphalted roads of thickness of say, ten inches that can last years without seeing potholes in them. He will tender any project for competitive public bidding before they are awarded for contract. By this, the nation can get value for money spent. Some of the money will be invested in developing the nation’s human resource base via granting free Senior High School education to all eligible school-going children in the nation without discrimination. Part of the money is channelled into well-defined agriculture in the hope of making the nation almost self-sufficient in their food needs, if not to acquire surplus for export. In this second scenario, the president knows and sees water, food and air as life and the means for human survival and sustainability in the country, if not on earth. Therefore, he invests in combating a cancerous devastation of the nation’s water bodies, fertile and arable lands and pollution of the air by some unscrupulous and faceless illegal surface and alluvial miners in what is “galamsey” in the local parlance.
Considering both scenarios, which president will you go for? Will you choose the first one who is personally corrupt, myopic, incompetent and clueless? He is also the one emboldening illegal surface miners to continue with their intensification of the destruction of the ecology of the nation through their mining activities. He is not ready to invest a Cedi in curbing the destructive activities by the miners.
The second president is visionary and invests in projects of long term benefit to the nation and the people.
I do recollect our elders saying, “For the fact you have promised me this or that, even if you are unable to fulfil your promise, for having the mere intention to do as you have promised, I thank you”. However, here in the second scenario is a president who although has borrowed more money, he is investing the money in projects of long term collective benefit to Ghanaians without embezzling any.
Subsequently, to seek to tarnish the image of the president for cheap political score, accusing him of borrowing too much money is simply malicious and irresponsible.
The fact he has borrowed too much money does not mean he can fix all the country’s problems in one go. Therefore, those NDC guys sponsored by power-crazy former President John Dramani Mahama to hit the streets agitating for the president to fix all the problems of the nation are simply out of their mind. Who do they think they are fooling, if not themselves and other equally ignorant Ghanaians?
A 30 to 50-year development plan will be needed to fix most, if not all, of the nation’s problems.
Let me join the chorus of those calling on the president to fix the problems of insecurity, armed robberies, official corruptions, murders and devastating illegal mining facing the nation now! He has no excuse to downplay the importance and urgency to rid the nation of these critical problems.