- Has No Statistics On Jobs
- Contractors Refute Payment Claims
- His Debts To GDP Ratio Disputed
- CDD & MFWA Angry At His Corruption Stance
President Akufo-Addo’s Wednesday’s Media Encounter to mark his first year in office, suffered a stillbirth moments after his delivery, as the President was shown not to be on top of his job, per the briefing provided him by his ministers and heads of agencies.
The President’s details on Ministries of Employment, Finance, Education, Communications and Transport and an agency such as the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the responses after the press encounter, shows the man is being misled by his ministers.
Firstly, he had no facts and figures on the number of jobs created by his government since January 7, 2017, to absorb the huge number of unemployed youth per the 2016 Manifesto promises made by him and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The President demanded two to three months to provide data on the jobs created by his government.
Secondly, President Akufo-Addo’s claim that contractors working on government projects and owed more than GH¢1.6 billion, have been paid their monies, has also been disputed by the contractors, particularly those working on projects for the Ghana Education Trust Fund [GETFund]. Road contractors are also saying they have not been paid.
Thirdly, it has also emerged that, the government misled the citizens on the issuance of the Ghana Card, when President Akufo-Addo, said that the cards were going to be issued nationwide by November last year, upon receipt of the first card at the premises of the NIA on Friday, September 15, 2017.
The cards won’t be issued by the NIA under the Communications Ministry led by Ursula Owusu Ekuful, until Parliament passes a law to that effect.
Fourthly, President Akufo-Addo’s debts servicing, have also been disputed and his claims that, the economy grew by 9.3percent in the third quarter of last year, against 3.5 percent for the same period in 2016, was challenged, with experts, saying records from the Finance Ministry, does not support his claims.
Fifthly, on corruption, the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has criticized the president for saying, citizens who make corruption allegations against his appointees should first provide evidence.
A Senior Research fellow at CDD, Dr Kojo Asante, insists the President posture will rather deter whistleblowers from providing information vital to protecting the public purse, adding “It should not be the duty of the citizen. Yes, people can allege, but then it should be a trigger for an investigation by the appropriate authorities to then come to a conclusion”.
Sixthly, the Media Foundation for West Africa [MFWA], has described Nana Akufo-Addo’s submission on the ongoing cash-for-seat bipartisan committee probe as ‘improper’ with the Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, saying the President’s attempt to belittle the ongoing probe is very disappointing.
But of particular interest is the rebuttal by the contractors that, they had not been paid their monies.
President Akufo-Addo, had said that his government had settled most of the arrears owed contractors which were accrued under the previous administration, and was working towards ensuring that the remaining debts are cleared soon.
“I’m being urged to pay contractors, I’m paying them. In 2017, nearly one billion cedis of which the government of Ghana provided three hundred million and the Road Fund provided some 660 million of the 1.6 billion owed road contractors was cleared. In January this year, we have dispersed 125 million out of the remainder of 600 million to the contractors,” Nana Addo said.
“Additionally, we have paid 826 million of the 1.2 billion loan contracted by the previous administration for which the Road Fund was used as collateral. It is important to note that all these debts were accrued under the previous administration. I will also point out that much of the statutory arrears that we met have been cleared.”
However, responding to those claims by the President on Accra-based Citi FM, the head of the GETFund contractors, Daniel Tanoh, said contrary to what the President told the media, many of the claims that had been submitted for payment had not been honoured.
“GETFund contractors do not agree with what the President said. It is not true that GETFund has paid even one-fourth of what the President said. For that reason we disagree with what the President said. The Ministry of Finance is supposed to give money to GETFund to pay contractors. As I speak, since July 2016 till date, those that have placed their claims to GETFund have not received their payments,” he said.
According to him, the government, when it first assumed office in January 2017, made a few payments to contractors, but the negligible amounts released at the time failed to cover the 800 million cedis owed them.
“ GETFund contractors are expecting almost 800 million out of the 1.6 million, and since 2016, there are some claims that have not been catered for. When the new administration came into office, they made three payments. They selected a few [of the claims] – the 50, 000, 15, 000, 20, 000 – many of those were paid leaving the huge ones. I can say with all confidence that a few contractors were paid, but majority of them were not,” he insisted.
Daniel Tanoh stated that, since the President announced that the contractors had been paid, they had come under intense pressure from creditors, who were also demanding payment.
He added that they had written to the management of GETFund for a meeting to discuss how best to resolve their challenges.
“After what the President said, we’ve started receiving calls from our creditors. If the President is saying they have paid contractors, then why are we not paying those we owe? Today is a very sad day for contractors. We are not happy,” he lamented.
“We have presented a notice to the administrator of GETFund that on Tuesday January 23 at 10:00 am, the leadership of the G ETFund contractors will be meeting him to see the way forward as to how our payment issues will go. If GETFund were not owing contractors, I don’t think we’d have such letters.”
On the part of the CDD, Dr. Kojo Asante said once investigations are initiated, the person who made the allegation can then be consulted to assist with information. However, a situation where they are being asked to provide evidence is a wrong move.
“This is not some court of law where the person who alleges is the one that has to come and provide evidence and defend. This is a criminal matter
“So this insistence that people should bring evidence is wrong,” he stressed.
The first year of president Akufo-Addo’s administration has been characterised by a series of allegations against his appointees.
Speaking to Citi News, Sulemana Braimah of MFWA, said what the President said was hypocritical, because he had previously praised his administration for setting up bipartisan committees to probe cases of alleged corruption.
“The lowest point as far as the president’s performance is concerned, is his attempt to dismiss or dilute the ongoing bipartisan enquiry on the cash-for-seat probe, while there is a bipartisan committee interrogating or investigating the matter,” he said.
“In his own introduction, he has alluded to the fact that, in the first year of his administration, there have been a series of bipartisan enquiries and that was something he thought was positive because he said there was none in the previous regime. And if you say this and then later you try to almost rubbish what is going on, then we thought this particular one was not proper at all,” he said.