The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ketu South, Fiifi Kwetey, believes that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is already regretting the numerous promises it made to Ghanaians, as the pressure to fulfill them, is creating a lot of the revenue-allocation problems for the government.
According to Fiifi Kwetey, the NPP did not need to make as many promises as they did to win the elections, and would probably not have made many of those assurances to the Ghanaian public had they known.
“This is a government that won amidst a lot of promises. I sometimes believe that if NPP had a clue that they did not really need to promise that much, maybe they wouldn’t have. Having made all those promises and come into office, they are wondering why they made all so much,” Fiifi Kwetey said on Eyewitness News on Monday.
“I’m sure that if NPP were truly sensing the ground, they would have realised that they didn’t need to have made the kind of promises they made because that has been the biggest difficulty for them. The fact that they went overboard, made quite a number of promises and now they’ve come to office and realized that going through these promises it comes with a lot of economic difficulties.”
The NPP made a number of assurances leading up to the elections last December, including promises to provide free Senior High School education, one factory in every district and one dam in every village in the three regions of the north.
The government has already rolled out the Free SHS programme, which began in September whilst at least 173 factories are reportedly ready to be rolled out as well.
A number of observers have suggested that the promises that were made by the NPP, contributed significantly to their victory in the elections.
However, Fiifi Kwetey argued that the economy was already in a ‘difficult’ position under the NDC, and the lack of jobs had bred dissatisfaction among the Ghanaian youth.
“I believe what really determined the election wasn’t so much the promises of the NPP. It was generally a certain groundswell of dissatisfaction, especially coming from the young people who actually believed that they needed to see jobs. I think the unemployment factor was the most important factor that really went into the loss,” he added.
“Beyond that, cost of living factored into it as well. Between 2013 and 2015, we had to take certain measures that were difficult, we needed to remove subsidies, inflation went up, the cedi had problems. Things were definitely difficult and clearly, everyone knew it was going to be a difficult election.”
‘Gov’t struggling to raise revenue’
The government has come under fire from the Minority for their supposed plan to impose taxes on mobile money transactions in the country.
Speaking at a Breakfast meeting on Monday with stakeholders ahead of the 2018 budget and economic policy in Accra, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, said they are reliably informed that government is nursing such intentions, something they believe will threaten financial inclusion.
Fiifi Kwetey reiterated these concerns, stating that government was only trying to find ways to raise the revenue they had lost as a result of their desire to fulfill promises made during the campaign.
Describing the reported taxes on mobile money transactions as a “big slap to the efforts to increase the formalisation of the economy,” he criticized the government for what he believes is an attempt to take advantage of ordinary Ghanaians.
“The government came amidst a lot of plans to accomplish things and those plans clearly needed to be brought into manifestation by the mobilization of revenue.Unfortunately, because of the promises, the government also was compelled to reduce taxation. So it means that already they had removed some tax handles. Their expectation was that by reducing the taxes, they would trigger the growth of the economy which would offset the reduction but that has not happened,” he said.
“There was talk during the campaign that there was so much corruption that all you needed to do was to reduce corruption and somehow you are going to just free revenue and that is going to be used for development. From every indication, they’ve not been able to do that as well. They’ve really not been able to bring the transformation as far as revenue is concerned which is clearly putting them into difficulties. They now have to find indirect ways of raising money.”