John Mahama is our shepherd

We shall always want

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

He makes us sleep in darkness

He leads us into the alley of hopelessness

He deflates our souls

He leads us in the path of unbridled thievery

For his name?s sake

Yea, though we work throughout the day in the throat of death

We will have no future

For our tier-two pensions are not with us

His rod and staff

Are a threat to both the young and the old

He empties our dining tables

In the presence of our family members

He anoints our bald heads with blood

Our cups run empty

Surely, poverty and misery shall follow us all the days of our lives

And we shall be slaves to Mahama forever.

(Psalm 23, Re-mix).

Governments? intentions of managing the lives of the people who have entrusted their destinies into their hands are presented by way of annual budgets. The Fiscal Policies of a government which by and large project what government intends doing in the coming year in terms of social commitments, the economy, agriculture and other infrastructural needs are presented in an annual budget.

The budgets also explain how much money is required in that particular year to deliver on those stated commitments and how the money is to be obtained by government to meet its stated objectives. It is common in the running of the affairs of state that the expected revenues of government to meet its stated objectives are not always attained but the commitments to the people remain the same or even increase because of sometimes natural circumstances that are not anticipated.

I am very sure that the nations going through the Ebola epidemic did not anticipate and budget for it but once the disease has reared its head, it must be dealt with to the best of the abilities of the governments. Such situations require extra finances or the suspension of other programmes in order to shift resources to address the Ebola challenges. In other cases the government will have to borrow to deal with all these problems. This is an extreme example of how a government may have to either abandon an initial activity and shift resources to address a very crucial problem which was not provided for earlier on in the budget or borrow to address a problem.

Generally, this country has been running a deficit budget for decades not necessarily because we have been confronted with unexpected challenges of natural nature that require massive borrowing to deal with. Our problems have always been that we either do not collect enough revenues as we had programmed in the budget or we had spent beyond what we had projected to spend. We have not been too disciplined enough to manage our finances in a manner that would not push us into so much debt.

It is however pertinent to note that the last three years under John Mahama have witnessed the most irresponsible mismanagement of the nation?s resources in a manner that has made Ghana?which in the year 2008, its challenges notwithstanding, was the hope of the Sub Saharan continent?a laughing stock among the comity of nations now. Between the last quarter of 2012 and September 2014, the public debt according to the Finance Minister stood at GH?69.7 billion, which means that government has borrowed a whooping sum of over GH?60 billion between 2009 and 2014.

The NDC government inherited a total national debt of GH?9 billion, which was 11 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Today the nation?s debt is 60.8 percent of GDP. The government is proud to list the Ghana National Gas project, refurbishment and expansion of the Ridge Hospital, University Teaching Hospital, expansion of Kpong Water Pumping Station, and Kwame Nkrumah Interchange as the projects that account for the GH?60 billion debt. Others, according to the Minister, are the Sofoline Interchange in Kumasi, Achimota?Ofankor road project, construction of Affordable Houses by OAS, Kumasi Central Market, Kasoa Interchange and a total of 495 buses.

The government is quiet on its statutory indebtedness, the District Assemblies? Common Fund, the National Health Insurance Authority, the GETfund, School Feeding Programme, and the numerous local contractors who have worked but have not been paid. Are these debts part of the GH?60 billion or are they separate?

This country is still battling with cholera nationwide; yet the only programme to deal with sanitation in the budget, according to the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, is that ?over the medium term the government will encourage the MMDAs to partner the private sector to deliver composite and re-cycling plants in some selected regions of the country.?

How does the above address the filthy and destructive state of our environment and save this nation the needless deaths from cholera? The most amazing character of the Mahama administration is the fact that not a single social or economic need of the country can be said to be performing relatively better in spite of the huge indebtedness.

The major issue confronting this country today is the issue of electricity power for both domestic and industrial needs. Small scale businesses are compelled to procure generators or risk folding up. Owners of photocopying businesses, hairdressers, seamstresses and tailors, iced-water sellers and a segment of the labour force making a decent living on their own in the midst of the massive unemployment in this country are gradually being thrown out of business due to government?s incompetence in the management of the electricity sector. The insensitive NDC administration has further worsened their plight by increasing the prices of fuel?the commodity badly needed to power energy in the absence of electricity.

In the midst of these massive failures on the part of the government, a sensible government would have invested heavily in the most worrying problem which is crippling the whole nation. There is nothing extra-ordinary in the budget which gives assurance to the nation that over the next year ?dumso dumso? would really be a thing of the past.? It is clear that we are not yet out of the woods as far as the electricity issue is concerned, and the attitude of government does not give any hope of a brighter future.

The NDC government?s crookish and dishonest way of running this country is brazenly exhibited in the budget. I have followed budgets for a long period in my journalism career; and for the first time, the Mahama administration has engaged in something good enough to feed their propaganda machinery of the party and the government as we cruise slowly into the election period in 2016.

The Finance Minister has told the nation that in the roads sector, the Ministry of Roads and Highways ?will undertake routine maintenance on 11,199km, 22,500km and 8,200km of trunk, feeder and urban roads respectively? Maintenance of bridges will be undertaken on 6,675km, 1000km, 940km of trunk, feeder and urban roads? etc etc. We have not been told which specific roads and where those activities would be undertaken.

In this case, it is difficult to challenge the government over failed promises because you can?t hold it to specific roads that were selected to be done but were not done.? Their propagandists would then stand in Takoradi and tell the people about the beautiful roads being constructed in Teleku Bokaazo or Princess Town when in fact no such thing has taken place.

This country is in such a critical condition, but the managers are experts in managing our lives with lies. Thievery has become a past time of those in charge while the majority of the citizens are dying slowly. Ghana our beloved country is no longer at ease with itself. The proud people of Sikaman Ghana have become beggars and lost their self-esteem as citizens. Relations can no longer visit their family members because the traditional support for the aged is no longer available.

Mahama the shepherd has thrown all of us to the wolves to be devoured. It is only a miracle that will keep us alive over the next two years.? Hmm! Since I do not know my fate, three shots of mahogany bitters shall be my companion.


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