From Joseph Ojumu, Accra
Except something drastic happens in the next few months and just as has happened in Nigeria in April, massive defeat looms ahead for Ghana’s incumbent President, John Dramani Mahama, in the forthcoming presidential polls, The Difference checks have revealed.
This is on account of rising discontent over the economic difficulties being experienced in the country even as the government frantically gropes in search of resources to help plug the nation’s deepening resource gaps.
In recent months, scores of Ghanaian celebrities and citizens have taken to the streets in protest against the deepening ‘Dumsor’ crisis, a local euphemism for theincreasing volume of power outages being experienced in the country today.
This is coming even as doctors in Ghana have voted to extend their very crippling two-month old strike by two more weeks.
They are allegedly asking for their salaries to continue to be paid when they retire, access to foreign medical care among other allowances.
For now the status quo remains: suspension of emergency services and Out Patient Departments.
They had previously threatened to resign en masse.
To checkmate the fallouts of the strike, which is indeed taking the shape of a national emergency, the government, meanwhile, has published a list of about 27 hospitals people can visit.
They include military and police facilities as well as private hospitals.
In another development, the leader of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has affirmed that Ghana cannot afford four more years of President Mahama’s governance, and has therefore charged the leadership and membership of the NPP to work hard for an NPP victory in the 2016 presidential polls.
According to him, ever since the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government assumed incumbency 7 years ago, every sector of the Ghanaian economy has gone into decline, evident in worsening living standards of the Ghanaian, widespread and rampant corruption, rising levels of unemployment and growing labour unrests.
These developments, Akufo-Addo say, require a change in government in 2016, stressing that “come what may, the NPP will have to win the 2016 election to save Ghana. Four more years under President Mahama and his NDC will only spell doom for our dear country.”
The NPP flagbearer made these comments on Thursday, August 13, when four newly elected parliamentary candidates of the party from the Gomoa East, Lower West Akim, Bolgatanga Central and Obuasi East constituencies paid separate courtesy calls on him to introduce themselves formally to him after their respective victories in their primaries.
Nana Akufo-Addo maintained that Ghanaians witnessed vast improvements in their quality of life under the eight-year rule of the NPP, under the leadership of President John Agyekum Kufuor.
On the contrary, the preoccupation of the Mahama government, according to the NPP flagbearer, is not to seek the welfare of the Ghanaian, “as all they concentrate their energies on is enriching themselves.”
“If the likes of Yaw Osafo Maafo were still in charge of this economy, Ghana would not be in this dire predicament. The NPP has the men and women to give this country a first class government, and steer this nation back onto the course of progress and prosperity for all. We have done it before, and God-willing, when we win the 2016 election, we will do it again,” he said.
He continued, “The NPP is coming to serve the people of Ghana because we know that with good, honest and competent leadership, we can make this country into what it was destined to be – a rich, powerful and progressive nation.”
And in another development, official statistics released at the weekend have also disclosed that there is presently no let in Ghana’s depressing story.
As unveiled, Ghana’s year-on-year inflation rate for July this year inched up to 17.9 per cent from 17.1 per cent in June, the Government Statistician, Dr. Philomena Nyarko has announced.
Announcing the July inflation figure at a news conference in Accra yesterday, Dr. Nyarko said the monthly change in the inflation rate for July was 2.3 per cent compared with the 1.8 per cent recorded for June.
She attributed the jump inflation to the depreciation of the cedi, increase in fuel prices and transportation.
The Government Statistician explained that year-on-year food inflation rate for July was 7.6 per cent, compared with the 7.4 per cent in June.
She attributed the rise in food inflation to decrease in food production which is as a result of the poor rainfall pattern this year.
“Seven sub-groups of the food and non-alcoholic beverages group recorded inflation rates higher than the group average of 7.6 per cent,” Dr. Nyarko said.
The Government Statistician said the year-on-year non-food inflation rate for July was 24.6, compared to the 23.6 recorded in June, noting that the July non-food inflation was more than three times the food inflation rate.
“The main price drivers for the non-food inflation rate were housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (27.1), transport (25.7), recreation and culture (25.5),” Dr Nyarko said.
Touching on the regional inflation rates, the Government Statistician said the year-on-year inflation rate ranged from 14.3 per cent in the Northern Region to 19.8 per cent in the Central Region.
“Four regions namely Central, Ashanti, Volta and Upper East recorded inflation rates above the national average of 17.9 per cent,” she said.