An African proverb reads, “when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” meaning, the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful.
Borrowing and contextualising this proverb in the Ghanaian politics, means, when two political powers are at war, the populace, rather suffer.
But because it is not the elephants that actually suffer the consequences of these fights, it could account for the reason, the two political elephants in the country’s political circles, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), continually battle each other, virtually on every matter.
Since the start of the Fourth Republic, the country has been governed by only these two largest parties. In a total of seven national elections, the transfer of power has been between these two parties, making them entrench themselves as the dominant parties in the country.
Interestingly, these two on many occasions, to chiefly score political scores, goes every length to discount the effort of each other with regards to the growth, success and development of the country.
Such fights are often manifested during an election era, be it a general or a by-election. The NPP and NDC do not only engage in all sorts of verbal punches, as if they are in the ring at the Bukum Boxing Arena but debate seriously with statistical figures, to prove their points.
Periods during which such statistical interplay occurs include, the presentation of the State of the Nation’s Address by the sitting president and the reading of the Annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy and the Mid-year Budget review, which is done by the Finance Minister.
To this end, the Financial Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, as constitution demands, delivered this year’s mid-year budget review to parliament on Monday, July 29, 2019.
As usual, the elephants have risen and are making the innocent grass suffer.
Whereas, the governing NPP is touting their achievements and given the state of the country’s financial health, the largest opposition, NDC, is also giving its own account of the financial health status of the country.
For instance, the NPP, through the Finance Minister, when he was delivering the mid-year review, made this this comment, “by 2015 (a time that the NDC was in power), Ghana’s economy was in trouble, hobbled by widening current account and budget deficits, rampant inflation, and a depreciating currency.”
In response, the NDC, have said, “It is unfortunate that less than a year after Ghana exited the IMF program, our public finances have been severely derailed, and we are at the risk of losing our credibility.”
These comments came for the Member of Parliament for Ejumako Enyan Essiam, who served as a deputy Finance Minster in the immediate past NDC government.
Again, the NPP is biting the NDC for no savings with regards to sole-sourcing and contracts through restrictive tenders.
This is the claim by the NPP, “In 2013 savings registered was zero cedis. In 2014, again, savings made amounted to zero cedis. In 2015, savings made totalled zero cedis. In 2016, again the PPA made zero cedis in savings.”
Adding that, “by reviewing contracts that were either sole-sourced or procured through restrictive tender, the Akufo-Addo administration has made savings of GH¢2.75 billion (which breaks down to GH¢800 million in 2017, GH¢1.1 billion in 2018, and GH¢1.085 billion in 2019).”
The NDC on the other hand are accusing their opponents, the NPP, for destroying the financial gains of the country during their tenure. They say, “The Fiscal outlook remains challenging with the fiscal deficit likely to exceed the Fiscal Responsibility Threshold of 5 per cent of GDP. We should expect a fiscal deficit level of 5, plus or minus 2 per cent of GDP.”
In the view of the NDC, foreign investors are scared to invest in the Ghanaian economy due to the unstainable policies the government has introduced.
The NPP are of a contrary view, stating that, “our remarkable achievements over the 31 months have been noticed even beyond the shores of Ghana, setting the right tone for attracting massive support for Ghana to win the bid to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
From all indications after the delivery of the mid-year budget review, it does not seem the battle between the NPP and NDC will end anytime soon. Not when national election is fast approaching.
But, how much does these tantrums add to the coffers of the country?
How much does the continuous debate between the NPP and NDc over the financial health of the country and who’s performed better add to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)of the Country?
Does it even reduce inflation rate? Stabilise the wobbling cedi against its trading partners?
What of the reduction of increasing unemployment rate in the country?
Oh! does the financial Bukum Banku and Ayittey powers bout between the NPP and NDC end the country’s development woes?
If not, when then and how long will these elephants (NPP and NDC) continue to make the grass suffer?