The ghost of the wild overshooting of the 2012 budget by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has wasted no time in coming back to haunt President John Dramani Mahama’s government, yet to complete its first six months in office.
Monday’s violent demonstration at Ashaiman over repeated promises to fix the municipality’s roads was the latest and the most dramatic of paybacks for the NDC government for proverbially eating the goose that laid the golden egg. Or to paraphrase the President, for consuming the meat till only the bone is left.
Right from the moment it took office, the government has been confronted with demands by teachers, doctors and contractors, which have been carried over from the previous year or years.
But fresh demands have also come from party foot soldiers who say promises of jobs and small contracts have not been forthcoming.
This picture of scarcity contrasts sharply with the electioneering era of plenty, characterised by free laptops, supply of mini saloon cars, huge billboards, and multiple advertisements.
The connection between the few months of plenty and the current difficulty of government in meeting pressing social and economic demands has been hinted at by some; but what has been accepted officially is that there was huge over-expenditure by some government ministries and agencies in the few months to the elections.
Accounts of pro-government groups taking cash from state agencies under the guise of fund raising come close to offering some explanation, but the full story is yet to be told.
What is not in doubt is the fact that the level of deficit carried over from last year has substantially reduced the government’s financial space as it managed to overspend the 2012 budget, whose threshold had already been raised by a supplementary budget approved only in July 2012, by a record GH₵8.7 billion.
As a demonstration of the government’s difficulties in meeting its expenditure, the case of the Ashaiman roads presents an interesting case study.
This is a road that has witnessed a lot of rhetoric but little action.
The people of Ashaiman have regularly been promised that the road would be done.
The then Minister of Roads and Highways, Joseph Kingsford Gidisu and the MP for Ashaiman, Alfred Kwame Agbesia had jointly mounted the platform more than once to assure the people that the road would be fixed before last December.
Indeed, last July, Mr Gidisu terminated the contract of Lomex Construction, the contractor who was working on the road.Mr Gidisu based his termination of the Lomex contract on what he described as
“ineffectiveness and non-performance” on the part of Lomex.
A new company, Legna Construction Limited, was then contracted to construct the 5.7-kilometre Ashaiman Timber Market Roundabout-Adjei-Kojo underpass dual carriage road.
However, by October last year Legna Engineering was already demanding arrears for work it had earlier done in Tema.
Source: George Koomson/The Finder Newspaper/Ghana
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