Ghana: President Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days, controversial bond reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The Ghanaian media once again focused on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s first 100 days in power after vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia held a public forum on Monday to highlight the government’s achievements during the period.

But the opposition immediately dismissed the achievements as extolled by Dr Bawumia triggering claims and counter claims by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The media also highlighted a controversial US$2.25 billion bond issued by the government.

“More than 103 achievements recorded in 100 days – Veep,” was the highlight of the state-owned Ghanaian Times on the press conference by Dr Bawumia, who said the government recorded over 103 achievements in its first 100 days in office which fell on Monday.

He said although President Akufo-Addo did not make any promise on what to deliver within 100 days, his administration had implemented sound policies which had produced positive results with successes recorded in the areas of agriculture, energy, health, education, the macro-economy, among other areas.

Within three months, he said, the government had appointed all ministers and deputy ministers and had developed a budget that had shifted the focus of the economy from taxes to production.

He said the 2017 budget had abolished import duties on vehicle spare parts, reduced national electrification and public lighting levy, special petroleum tax rate, among other major changes in the country’s tax regime.

On agriculture, the Vice President said the government had trained about 1,200 agric extension officers and had imported over 300,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser to support farming.

The state-owned Graphic said Vice-President Bawumia rendered an account of the government’s 100 days in office on Monday, saying it had succeeded in rolling out policies and programmes aimed at transforming the country.

He said the government’s efforts to steer the country onto the path of progress, growth and prosperity were commendable.

He said the government inherited a very difficult economy and assured the people of Ghana of its ability to cure the challenges that had bedevilled it, even in the face of critics describing that as mission impossible.

However, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) dismissed the claims of the government describing them as 100 days of broken promises.

In a story with the headline, “Minority dismisses government's achievements,” the Ghanaian Times said the Minority in Parliament described the appraisal of the Dr Bawumia as nothing but a plethora of propaganda, half truths, and unsubstantiated claims.

According to the Minority, the first 100 days of the Akufo-Addo government had been characterised by post-election thuggery, unlawful dismissals, bloated and wasteful size of government, a wobbling economy and capping of statutory funds.

The Minority, at a press conference addressed by Deputy Minority leader James Klutse Avedzi, in Accra, said the performance of the government had been “abysmal”.

He said contrary to the pledge by the President to protect the public purse and avoid wasteful expenditure, he has appointed 110 persons as ministers to put a strain on the public purse.

“It has been 100 days of broken promises, gross incompetence, shameful plagiarism, hardships, deceit, wasteful expenditure,” Avedzi said, urging the Vice President to recognise that elections were over and that it was time to be truthful to the facts.

“Stop celebrating average performance – CPP tells NPP,” was the headline of a story in the Graphic that quoted the small centre-left Convention People’s Party (CPP) as calling on the government to stop celebrating its self-acclaimed 103 achievements within 100 days in power and focus on a bigger picture.

“The CPP rates the 100 days of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government as an average performance. Ghanaians voted for rapid change in the social-economic-political sphere and not an average performance,” Professor Edmund N. Delle, CPP Chairman, told newsmen in Accra on Monday.

He said that Ghanaians needed to feel and see rapid economic transformation.

“Three groups commend govt on first 100 days,” was another story in the Graphic which reported that the first 100 days of the government had been described as “good” but with more room for improvement. It said this was the assessment of the heads of two institutions, the National Peace Council (NPC) and the Christian Council of Ghana.

However, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, said the first steps in getting the economic fundamentals right for the creation of jobs had been excellent.

The Graphic said the Chairman of the NPC, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, and the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, were both of the view that the government had so far, credited itself with its budget, the prompt appointment of ministers and its efforts to ensure that the change agenda in its manifesto was achieved.

“So far so good, we have had a peaceful transition, Parliament is in session, ministers and deputy ministers have been appointed, we do not have the municipal and district chief executives yet, but I think it’s a process,” Rev. Prof. Asante said.

However, in relation to peace building and mobilising Ghanaians for improved development, the government was indicted by both men for the incidences of vigilantism.

With his major concern being the creation of jobs, Dr Baah said indications so far showed a positive trend in stabilising the economy.

The Graphic reported on red flags being raised by the opposition NDC on a US$2.25 bond issued by the government alleging conflict of interest against the Minister of Finance.

In a story under the headline “Minority calls for inquiry into US$2.25bn domestic bond,” the Graphic said the Minority in Parliament was calling for a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the bond issuance.

The Minority said at a press conference that Finance minster Ken Ofori-Atta cooked the bond for his friends and cronies. He also breached Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution which requires international transactions to be approved by Parliament.

Minority spokesperson on finance Cassiel Ato Forson said although the bond was meant for domestic investors, a huge chunk of it was issued to Franklin Templeton Investment Limited, an American global investment management organisation.

The US company, he stated, had a Director, Mr Trevor G. Trefgarne, who also doubled as the Board Chairman of the Enterprise Group, a company partially owned by the Finance Minister.

“We also wish to point out that this bond issue is clearly an international economic/business transaction within the meaning of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution. Therefore, we expected that the bond issuance would have been brought to Parliament for approval.”

But vice president Bawumia said it was unfortunate for such comments to be coming from people who should know better.

“It shows a lack of understanding, the Minority have never understood this economy. It is amazing that people on that side who were actually in charge of managing the economy will be making such statements, it shows ignorance and I am so sad when I hear that from people who should know better,” the vice president said.
-0- PANA MA 22April2017

22 april 2017 06:53:36

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