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The NDC’s Desperation Knows No Bounds – John Boadu
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Deputy Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu
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A deputy Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu has warned that if the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) continues on its borrowing spree, the country may retrogress from its celebrated lower middle income status to a HIPC country again.

He said taking Ghana’s debt stock from $ 8.025 billion in 2008 to $ 13.4 billion in 2011 cannot, under any circumstance, be a sustainable way of managing the economy and that must be a concern to Ghanaians.

Speaking on the Minority Caucus on MultiTV Wednesday evening, Mr Agyeman-Manu said, “You see, borrowing is good, but you have to borrow – let me use that harsh word – wisely.”

He said all Ghanaians must be concerned because apart from the lightening speed at which the government had added to Ghana’s debt, also in the pipeline were colossal amounts the government was still contracting.

“Where they are driving us is very dangerous. This [debt] level is minus the $1.5 billion Korea thing, the STX (housing loan), this is minus the $13 billion arranged Chinese one that has not [yet] been accessed, this is minus SADA's $300 million that was announced just last week, minus the $400 million that became an issue, minus the $1.8 billion for the eastern corridor road because Parliament even hasn’t approved that. So now within the next six months, if we manage to get all these [loan agreements approved] and we begin to access them…where will we get to? Where will we go?, he asked.

Government has argued it is mischievous to seek to add the $1.5 billion STX loan to the debt stock because the houses had not yet been built and government was not obligated to pay a dime, but Mr Agyeman-Manu disagrees. He said that argument is risible at least.

“You have announced to the nation that you have finished, it is coming so we can add on so we may have two budgets; committed debts and non-committed debts plus that.”

Mr Agyeman-Manu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Dormaa West, said it was ironic that the NDC, after complaining bitterly about the debt they inherited and which they blamed for not being able to deliver on their promises, had in two years borrowed $5 billion, representing 60 per cent of the debt left by former President Kufuor’s eight-year rule.

“You see, we should be very cautious and take away some aspects of propaganda and politics and concentrate on the work that Ghanaians have assigned to us [in order] to do the work better so that we can have the moral courage to go back to them to ask for another mandate,” he stated.

The government has been explaining that unlike the NPP which borrowed and didn’t use the money prudently, it is investing aggressively in the country’s infrastructure.

But Mr Agyeman-Manu is not convinced.

He challenged the government to point to one major infrastructural project it had initiated that is work in progress. In his view all the projects the president has gone around the nation commissioning were either GETFund projects or those undertaken by the various Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies. Such projects, he emphasized, have been undertaken with dedicated funds.

As far as he is concerned, central government has not undertaken any serious project on its own. “I have been questioning and asking people to ask our NDC colleagues to point [out] to us, central government projects they have either started, advanced to about 20, 30, 15, 5 per cent completion and what they plan doing. You can’t find any!”

John Boadu, Deputy Director of Communications for the NPP
A former National Youth Organiser of the NPP, Mr John Boadu, who was also on the show, said the NDC government had insatiable taste for contracting loans and yet was not using the loans to better the lot of the people.

He said what the government was interested in was announcing big loans – even if they are bad ones – with pump and pageantry as if merely announcing huge loans by itself will automatically improve on the living conditions of the people.

Mr Boadu accused the government of sophistry, arguing that claims by the government that it had paid the Tema Oil Refinery debt were simply deceptive.

“The truth of the matter is that they have robbed Peter to pay Paul. What they have done is to convert the debt at TOR into a bond for which we are going to pay because if it was true that they have paid all the debt at TOR, what would have happened is that they would have withdrawn the debt recovery levy but we are still paying,” he stated.

Mr Boadu, who is also the Deputy Director of Communications for the NPP, also accused the government of consistently circumventing the procurement laws of the country for obvious reasons.

“The Public Procurement Law states clearly that every year there must be a report of the activities of public procurement over the period, stating clearly contracts that were given on restricted tender, emergency and all that. For years now, if it is now that they are sending the report to parliament, I don’t know.”

He said restricted and emergency tendering had become the modus operandi of the government. “Can you imagine the Dansoman dual-carriage road was given on an emergency contract. As we speak now, the project is at a standstill so what was emergency about that contract?” he asked, “so that we will circumvent the process of open and competitive bidding,” Mr Agyeman-Manu supplied.

Mr Boadu said he was not surprised the government had become so desperate. In fact, the desperation of the government, he argued, knew no bounds, “to the extent that the Vice-President goes into a meeting with the World Bank and IMF. In the middle of the discussion, the Spokesperson for the Vice-President talks to [the Daily] Graphic and says that IMF has given us over $400 million to finish some projects.”

He quoted a friend as saying it appears the NDC leaders don’t really know the value of money else they would not be bandying about figures the way they do.
Source: Myjoyonline.com

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