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FEATURE: When Will NDC Own And Start Fixing The Broken Economy?   
 
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23-Nov-2009  
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When the NDC assumed power in January, they were quick to point out to Ghanaians that our economy was broke and insinuated they had no idea why they voted into power.

With almost one year down and three more to go in Millsí presidency, they are yet to hit the ground running to fix the broken economy. So far, itís as if Mills' presidency hasn't really started. The broken economy is still hanging and living in Ghana is becoming harder every day.

Mills and his team are still taking inventory of the Kufuor years. Over the last 11 months, he has over- talked about the huge budget deficit, TOR debt, the Vodafone deal, OMCís, Sahara Deal, Kosmos deal and everything that the past administration inadvertently did wrong. Instead of hitting the ground running and delivering a better Ghana, the Mills administration have developed a compulsion to attack and blame the past administration whenever there is a squeak in Ghana.

11 months after promising a better Ghana, the nationís unemployment rate is still stubbornly high, the economy is still crawling towards a better Ghana, armed robberies are soaring, petrol prices have hiked against low world oil prices, interest rates are out of the reach of Ghanaian businesses, human rights are being abused with impunity, the Bawku crisis is continuing with no solution in sight, and Ghanaians are generally feeling the real impact of the NDC change.

Voters surely will have plenty questions about the economy when they cast ballots in three years' time; did NDC do better with the economy, is it messier than NPP left it? Should we blame NPP for all the economic mess in Ghana? Those will surely be asked and answered in 2012.

The Mills administration has a plethora of blames why they are not doing well: The NPP administrationís 15% deficit for 2008, OMCís indebtedness to TOR, lax in fiscal discipline, and then... and then. Recent utterances by NDC functionaries strongly suggest that blame should be placed on Kufuor and his NPP administration whenever anything goes bad.

This phenomenon is reminiscent of the old Soviet joke where:

Stalin in 1953 called Khrushchev on his sick bed.

"Niki, I'm dying soon but don't have much to leave you. Just three envelopes. Open them, one at a time, whenever you get into big trouble."

A few years pass and Khrushchev opens envelope number 1 after his first crisis, only to find these few words "Blame everything on me. Uncle Joe."

After a few years, a yet bigger crisis hit. Envelope 2 is opened: "Blame everything on me-Again. Good luck, Uncle Joe." Were the few words inscribed.

More years passed and the mother of all crisis came, Niki opened envelope 3 only to read: "Prepare three envelopes."

This is a perfect dramatization of what has happened with the Ghanaian economy in the last eleven months. Unlike the 3 envelopes in the Russian Joke, there are 99 or so such blame-NPP free passes the NDC inherited. By a simple calculation, Mills has already burned through a good number. Is there anything he hasn't blamed on Kufuor and NPP yet? The economyís retrogression, petrol price increases and shortages, the numerous committees, the high interest rates, the dwindling investor confidence, the lack of money in our pockets, the Bawku crisis, the seizure of lorry parks and public toilets, withdrawal of import subsidies, increased corruption -- everything but the Hajj Village.

If the NDC has forgotten reasons why they were voted into power, then I will like to remind them that they were voted into power because Ghanaians knew for-a-fact the challenges they faced under the NPP and the Better Ghana agenda sounded like utopia to our ears. After all, if Ghanaians thought the NPP were doing excellent, then they would have been maintained in power. Mills and his team should stop the blame-shifting and deliver a better Ghana. Let it be known to Mills and his administration that they were voted to work and not to form committees and complain about the past.

Its eight months into the Mills administration and after enormous support from the Bretton Woods institutions, there are little signs of them owning the economy- just like many other Ghanaians, I believe the NDC should bear responsibility for current and future economic conditions in Ghana- at least for the next three years.

It is a great skill to make people believe you are doing something, and even an absolute political ingenuity to seem to be doing something to win the trust of the populace- these skills Atta- Mills clearly lack. Obviously, Most Ghanaians werenít hoping for a miracle in months but in years but at the same time, we were not expecting everything achieved over the years to take a down ward spiral. The majority of Ghanaians have no idea when the economic hardships will abate because they see no policy direction and there is a largely hopeless thinking about what the president and his crew are doing to put money in our pockets.

Even as the public trust keeps falling in the Mills administration, they keep telling Ghanaians that the NPP administration left dry the national coffers and research shows that people are blaming Mills for their economic woes and not the out-gone NPP. Public opinion in Ghana shows that far from blaming Kufuor for our economic predicaments, the public majority still believe that that the Mills administration have not been able to fill the big shoes left by the Kufuor Government.

Lots of Ghanaians including the man who brought Mills from obscurity to prominence doubt his capability and everyone is watching and patiently waiting for him to deliver a better Ghana. If the administration is to gain some confidence from the people, they will need to grab the bull by the horns and work harder than they are doing now.

The nation is still waiting for the day when the Mills administration will own the challenge and start fixing the broken economy.

God bless our homeland Ghana.
 
 
Source: Ouborr Kutando - Senior Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Policy and Research Analysis (GCPRA)
 
 

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