President Mahama slams critics over ‘excessive’ borrowing
In a spirited defence of his administration’s profligate borrowing, President John Dramani Mahama has emphasized that the contracting of loans from foreign lenders is well-intentioned and is done solely to finance infrastructural development.
Mahama’s administration has come under scathing criticisms from the main opposition party, the NPP, for its profligate borrowing. Curtly dismissing the criticisms in Tamale on Friday, the President said government borrows for development purposes and highlighted investments in some sectors of the economy to support his claims.
“Government spent more than 1.5 billion Ghana cedis building health facilities and the NPP called it a waste?” he asked, adding that the construction of CHIPs compounds and upgrading regional hospitals was on going.
He continued: “I don’t need to get into argument with NPP, they should not talk about infrastructure; if you borrow and you invest it is not a wrong thing, it is a positive thing. Our short period of being in power brought a lot of infrastructure, NPP can’t compare.”
Access to water: He said access to potable drinking water according stands at 76 percent as against 15 % in 2004.
Roads: Roads are being constructed to facilitate travel and trade, Mahama said. Four roads has been earmarked for construction in the northern region, he continued and they include the Walewale-Gambaga, Tamale-Karaga and Gushegu, Yendi-Saboba, Salaga-Bimbilla and Tamale-Mankaigu-roads. All will received serious attention before the 2016 election campaign, Mahama reassured Ghanaians. The roads, president Mahama said, were part of government’s Regional Capitals Improvement Road Project which started in Accra.
Electricity: With regards to the provision of electricity, President Mahama pointed to the more than 600 communities that have been connected to the national grid. He reassured Ghanaians that the power crisis will end before the 2016 elections.
“If the NPP wants to base its campaign on dumsor, then I am very sorry, it will be disappointed because by His grace it will end soon,” the president stated.
Youth unemployment: As to what is being done to solve the youth unemployment problem, Mahama said a bill is before parliament for the establishment of Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA). Young people interested in developing job skills are urged to enroll in a training program, and registration will start by the end of this year.
Education: President Mahama said his government is constructing two hundred community day schools with 123 already awarded on contracts which will cater to 240,000 children.
Former attorney general’s allegations: President Mahama then turned to the controversy surrounding the recent utterances of former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, pertaining to the work of investigative reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. He described Amidu as an elder brother whom he respected very much and will never ever enter into any altercation with him, but nonetheless, “I will place this on record,” Mahama said, “the government did not sponsor the ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas to expose judicial corruption,” adding emphatically that government did not sponsor Anass judiciary investigations. “We have nothing to do with it.”
However, Mahama conceded that there were occasions in the past when the government did in fact sponsor Anas in his investigative efforts and cited the investigations of the Customs Excise and Preventive Services and the cocoa smuggling issue as examples. The former Finance minister, Kwabena Duffour sponsored Anass in the cocoa investigations but government had no hand in it, the president clarified.