President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cast himself as a change-maker during his inaugural address and promised he would be unlike his predecessor John Mahama.
Although the first year of his presidency has not been worse as was witnessed in the past regime, it had not been as he anticipated. Not much progress was made.
And for a leader who made highfalutin promises to the people, his performance the past year has been disappointingly bad, especially after sharing in the “pains and sacrifices” of Ghanaians during the tenure of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Akufo-Addo Tracker concedes the president has achieved some substantive goals, including the abolishing of some nuisance taxes introduced by the Mahama-led regime, implementation of the free senior high school (SHS) programme and rolling out the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
But he also failed to make good on some promises, such as aggressively pursuing industrialization in order to create jobs and deepening the culture of the rule of law among others.
Akufo-Addo Tracker is convinced the president has been pathetic in the area of job creation, industrialisation and security.
While the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) made some emphatic promises on page 133 of its 2016 Manifesto, it had not been committed in action. To realize a good governance, the party had promised to deepen the culture of the rule of law by:
(a) Upholding and promoting the separation of powers. The NPP government will make adequate provision to secure the independence of the Judiciary and will help to strengthen the institutional capacity of Parliament, and
(b) Promoting and instilling within the state security agencies an enhanced ethics and culture of respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens.
But its achievement in the area of security has been horribly poor and security expert Dr Kwesi Aning captured this when he said: “Most of what has been done has been on the rhetorical side.”
The unrestrained activities of pro-NPP vigilante groups who brazenly attacked their party members and opposition opponents created an atmosphere of general insecurity in the country. Ironically, the more president Akufo-Addo talked tough about clamping down on those groups, the more their attacks on innocent Ghanaians.
These groups became visible to the extent that they seized public toilets, transport terminals and public offices such as District National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and Youth Employment Agency (YEA).
Truth is, whatever economic gains made by the government will be of no value if the citizens are not safe to enjoy the fruit of their pains and sufferings. Sustainable development thrives in areas where there are peace and security.
(b)One district, one factory:
The one-district, one-factory programme can create millions of jobs in the country if the government is committed to its implementation.
The NPP on page 31 of its 2016 Manifesto said it will collaborate with the private sector to implement the ambitious “one district, one factory initiative.” The programme aims at ensuring at an even, spatial spread of industries.
But after promising to set up about 51 factories in 2017, nothing has been heard of the government or the one-district, one factory secretariat that has been hiding from the media because of the failed agenda.
Surprisingly, the unemployment situation in Ghana has not changed since president Akufo-Addo took over from his predecessor. Today, more than ever, young people complete school after acquiring their qualifications and end up being jobless, burdening their parents or guardians.
The president’s promise on pages 23 and 24 of the NPP Manifesto to address the issue of unemployment has not been fulfilled. He had pledged to do that by:
(1) pursuing aggressive industrialization and value-addition to agricultural produce
(2) providing tax and related incentives for manufacturing businesses in sectors such as agro-processing, light industries, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, garments and textiles, among others
(3) providing a reliable and cost-effective mix of energy supply for businesses
(4) providing the necessary incentives for private sector participation in health service delivery
(5) pursuing policies that will reduce interest rates
(6) implementing policies that will reduce the cost of doing business
(7) stabilizing the currency
(8) providing incentives to the hospitality and creative industries that will enable them to create jobs
(9) investing in skills training and apprenticeships, and
(10) promoting exports, especially of value-added agricultural produce and light manufactures.
The only jobs the president has created since he took the oath of office were the ones for his 110 Ministers and Deputy Ministers, presidential staffers and Board members and Chairpersons.
The government’s response to emergency health situations has also not seen much improvement despite the promises of the president. The NPP on page 115 of its Manifesto promised to safeguard the health right of all Ghanaians through an established health sector with the sustainable ability to deliver affordable, equitable and easily accessible healthcare.
It had promised to do that by the:
(a) introduction and implementation of NHIS and free maternal care
(b) implementation of the Community Health Planning and Service concept
(c) establishment of the National Ambulance Service
(d) expansion, equipping and increasing the number of health facilities
(e) capacity building and increase the number of health professionals
(f) establishment of the Ghana Postgraduate Medical College
(g) introduction of Regenerative Health and Nutrition through health promotion programmes
(h) improvement of the provision of vaccine for preventable childhood diseases
(i) provision of highly subsidized anti-retroviral medicines for HIV/ AIDS patients, and
(j) introduction of sanitation programmes.
But these initiatives could not stop the spread of meningitis and swine flu especially at Kumasi Academy (KUMACA), resulting in the death of more than 11 SHS students. The sad aspect was when it had to take the Health Ministry and Ghana Health Service (GHS) several days to establish the cause of deaths.
Today, Health Minister Kwaku Ageyman Manu is needlessly fighting with University of Ghana authorities over the ownership of the school’s ultramodern Teaching Hospital.
The past year has been a fascinating, exhausting and predominantly jaw-dropping 12 months in the life of the government. As the president starts his second year, Akufo-Addo Tracker will be examining his actions and their impact.
We’ll also delve into corruption allegations levelled against some of his appointees especially the alleged sale of presidential seats.
Akufo-Tracker is dedicated to neutrally reviewing the actions of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and comparing them to his promises made on the campaign trail. Follow Akufo-Addo Tracker on Instagram: @realbrakopowers. It is written by Austin Brakopowers a journalist with Joy99.7FM. Views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Multimedia Group or Myjoyonline.com editorial policy.