President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

What Ghanaians need to worry about is far less a 40-Year Development Plan than the need to set in motion a permanent binding legal process to prevent successive governments from recklessly and criminally abrogating contracts initiated by previous governments, in order to definitively rid ourselves of the costly legal albatross that is the judgment-debt regime.

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

I perfectly agree with the country’s main opposition leader that the sort of 40-Year National Development Plan being promoted by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) will head the country backwards on the road towards the Command Economies of the erstwhile Eastern-Bloc Countries that were globally discredited and totally abandoned in the 1990s (See “40-Year Dev’t Plan Will Suffer Under NPP – ISODEC” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 8/6/15).

I shall from time to time take up some aspects of the National Development Planning Commission’s 40-Year Development Plan and discuss it with our readers, especially regarding the fact that the aforesaid plan is no plan at all, but a vicious attempt by some determined career politicians to hijack the entire development of the country. Indeed, as Nana Akufo-Addo had occasion to point out recently, the very notion of a legally binding long-term development plan of the kind being promoted by the Mahama hirelings, in the name of constitutionality, is patently anti-democratic and anti the sort of free-market principles for which Ghanaians fought for some twenty years, during which period our national economy had been effectively ground to a screeching halt by the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and, presently, the Rawlings-minted faux-revolutionary socialist National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Well, it is quite interesting for President John Dramani Mahama to presume to insult the intelligence of Ghanaians by profligately spending some $ 10 million to assemble some of the most discredited technocrats to undertake the drafting of such at once impracticable and quixotic economic development agenda. The Senior Technical Advisor of the NDPC, for example, is Dr. Grace Bediako, a government statistician who was summarily relieved of her post for gross professional and administrative incompetence, as I vividly recall, by the late President John Evans Atta-Mills. And so one can readily surmise the caliber of development plan that Mr. Mahama and his minions and hangers-on have in mind.

There is absolutely no malice here; I just call the shots as dictated by my studious observations of political activities on the ground. If I were President Mahama, I would rather earmark the $ 10 million NDPC boondoggle for the improvement of the working conditions of our nation’s first-responders. Our doctors, that is. What the President is doing with this aspect of our national development may be aptly termed as a criminally gross misplacement of policies. It is a prohibitive luxury that the country’s economy can ill-afford. And he would have done far better to let the likes of Dr. Bediako evaluate the present direction and quality of his own government’s policies and the effectiveness, or the lack thereof, of their implementation. Among the Akan, there is a maxim that exhorts to the following effect: “When Mr./Ms. Naked promises you a bolt of cloth, you just listen to his/her name.”

I am also quite certain that Mr. Mahama is very conversant with the tired maxim of charity beginning at home. Why talk about a 40-year development plan when the very economy of our nation is engulfed in a five-alarm flame and may likely not even survive Election 2016, let alone 40 years from now? Are we, as a nation, suffering from acute dementia or what? It is also quite paradoxically interesting to hear Dr. Bediako tell the electorate of the latter’s right to give the boot to any government that fails to adhere to the development guidelines set in place by the so-called National Development Planning Commission. The fact of the matter is that voters often decide on the basis of which government is or has been serving their best interests. And such determination is squarely based on their practical gauging or evaluation of the quality of their lives at any material moment in time, and not on some print-frozen wishful abstractions of some theoretician or discredited government policy adviser.

At any rate, whatever happened to the Senchi Accord’s policy proposals? How many of these bullet-point proposals have President Mahama and his cabinet appointees implemented? And is Prof. Kwesi Botchwey a real professionally and academically trained economist, in the traditional sense of the term, to be heading the NDPC? And just what kind of track-record does the former University of Ghana law lecturer have to have commended him to the assumption of the cardinal post of Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission? Over ten years of helping Chairman Jerry John Rawlings to structurally adjust Ghana’s economic development into a coma? Well, we shall take up some of these issues as becomes necessary in due course.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]

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