*My Reading of the 2019 Budget*
Reading through President Akufo-Addo’s 2019 budget as read by his Finance Minister, the philosophy behind it is vividly clear. It achieves 2 things: gives a comprehensive mid-year review of (1) the mess that was inherited and what has been done and is being done to clean it all up and (2) what is being done to take Ghana to the next sustainable level of her development and how it is all about you, your future and the destiny of Ghana. The budget sets to address what is becoming the sing-song of Ghanaians even now: hardships.
It succeeds in reminding Ghanaians where we were and what it was that led to that big mandate the NPP got from them on Dec 7, 2016; the intensity of the hardships then, especially under 5yrs of Dumsor. It takes us back to why oil rich Ghana, under John Mahama, had no choice but to ran to the IMF to help him and his team stop the ship from sinking and try to manage the Ghanaian economy; the constrains that the IMF programme necessarily had to impose; how those constrains contained the maneuverings of Govt then and the NPP Govt in its first 2yrs; how those constrains affected you and I; how the NPP has still managed to implement its flagship programmes in spite of it all and the exciting growth opportunities that are ahead of us as Ghana seeks to regain its fiscal sovereignty after exiting the IMF programme in December 2018; but with a pledge not to compromise on the adherence to, what should be, eternal discipline on how our economy is handled so that we never again have to cede our sovereignty to the IMF.
The budget does very well to make the point that, yes, indeed, this Govt has gone far to fix many of the things that were broken and listed them to remind us all. It reminds us, with evidence, that the hardships under the NDC were more intense then and, with considerable modesty, admits people are still struggling today; but then, here are the reasons why you are better off now under NPP and these are also the reasons why things would have been even worse if change did not come and, more importantly, how things are shaping up for the best.
It then tops it all by stressing on the big ticket items that are being done which should significantly transform our society and enhance the lives and dignity of every Ghanaian individual. Even when you pay taxes —the Finance Minister stresses and with a long list of social interventions that are now being rolled out, the gains made by this Govt in giving you value for money in public contracts awarded today, etc— you should know that your money, as a Ghanaian taxpayer, is being put to better use and it is all for the good of you and your country. So, it calls for more patience, perseverance, sacrifice, hard work, partnership and ownership of Project Ghana, confident in the knowledge that what is being done now is what the country needs done and should take us there if we all put our minds, hearts, and energy behind it under a healthier, vibrant atmosphere of democratic exchanges.
The big and credible multinationals in the world are seeing the new and exciting Ghana and are, accordingly, lining up to come here, something they were not doing just two years ago. It is not per chance. To top it all up, we must remember that all these things have happened in less than 2yrs. Please, please, keep the faith! This is a Govt that has a plan; this is a Govt that is working according to a plan; this is a Govt that knows what it is doing and that the welfare and wellbeing of the Ghanaian is at the heart of it all. And, that Ghanaian, is you! *#StillTheAlternativeIsScary*