The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration that came to office in January 2017, seems to be the administration that has lost the goodwill of the electorate in record time, following its inability to deliver the change it promised the people of Ghana during the election campaigns.
Taxation to production:
In the run-up to the elections, the NPP made a lot of promises to the electorate for their votes. Notable among them were the Free Senior High School (SHS) education, restoration of trainee nurses allowances, reduction in some taxes, one-district-one-factory, one-village-one- dam, graduate employment and many more promises.
The party further promised a change in the dynamics of the Ghanaian economy from taxation to a production economy. The promise to focus on growing the economy through production and productivity instead of taxation was also well received by the electorate. But in the matter of taxation, the administration seems to be doing the very opposite of what was promised.
Overall, it seems the changes promised will take a longer time in coming or may never come. The aggressive production economy that was promised has turned out to be an aggressive taxation one, to the extent that, the Ministry of Finance has cautioned that, beginning from next academic year, September 2019, parents and guardians would have to show their Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), before their children or wards would be allowed to benefit from the free SHS policy.
On the political governance front, all the opposition political parties that contested in the 2016 general elections campaigned for change. But the tide of change flowed in favour of only one of them; the NPP, giving it a clear majority of the votes for the presidency and the legislature.
It is unfortunate that the other five opposition parties could not secure any seats in the legislature. Not even the rising star – Progressive People’s Party (PPP), which had assumed the third force status in Ghanaian politics since its emergence in the 2012 elections, could secure a seat; a situation that gives cause for worry about the sustainability of our multi-party democracy.
Have proponents of the duopoly won the fight against multi-party democracy? How much of change can Ghana expect from politics and governance dominated by the ousted National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the current NPP administration? Will the Progressive PPP acquiesce and give up on the alternative government agenda because of temporary setbacks?
It is good to know that the NPP has finally bought into the idea of election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). It is also good to know that the NPP administration has set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor to lead the charge in the fight against corruption in Ghana. If both of these reforms are implemented in the next 12 months as they should, Ghana will be the winner and it will be a great good beginning for good governance and accountability.
While the NPP should be applauded for making moves to implement the two reforms, there remain several other critical reforms that must take place for Ghana to work well as a unit. For example, will the NPP separate the legislature from the executive?
Will the NPP sponsor amendment of the constitution to not have members of the executive also serve in the legislature, as the surest way of strengthening the legislature to check the excesses of the executive that manifest in conflicts of interest, rubber stamping of bad contracts, shortchanging the people of Ghana etc.?
The changes we need to make progress as a nation are many. The current administration is only tinkering with a few of them. The majority have not been touched yet. Besides, the few that have been initiated remain challenged, leaving majority of Ghanaians disappointed to the point of withdrawing their goodwill and patience towards the administration in record time.
Clearly, the overall change that we need has not come almost two years into the four-year term of the NPP. If this is not the change we needed in 2016 and voted amiss, how would we know and vote for the change we need in 2020. Listen to yourself, as I listen to myself!