Jake Otanka Obestebi-Lamptey and President John Mahama

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), over the weekend, gave its verdict on the recent State of the Nation Address presented to Parliament by President John Dramani Mahama, describing it as childish.

Chairman of the party, Jake Otanka Obestebi-Lamptey, said the address was full of public relations gimmicks, propaganda and false promises, adding that the government was ?not only incapable of dealing with the very real challenges that confront our country and its citizens, but also having no idea about how to even proceed, (and therefore) has fallen back on its usual practices of deceit and denial.?

In a statement which he captioned, ?Trivialising and Distracting Attention,? the NPP Chairman noted that ?instead of mature and inspiring leadership, we got a performance of a giggling teenager intent on getting us to ?like me?.

?At this time, Mr President, we don?t need to ?like? you for your boyish charm, we need to trust you, we need to have faith in your ability to deliver,? Jake charged, contending that ?a good start to generating trust and faith would have been for you to show you fully understand the predicament we are in.?

This, he said, was because ?the future does not look bright and your saying that it does, will not make it bright.?

?In spite of all your giggles and reassurances, our Cedi continues to lose value,? Jake stated, insisting that the steps President Mahama took to slow this process ended up destroying confidence in the economy, leading to more capital flight and then increased pressure on the Cedi.

Issues

The NPP made a mockery of the President?s decision to demonstrate his commitment to an industrial revolution by offering to show Ghanaians his ?made in Ghana? shoes.

The opposition party said the President should have spelt out measures including tax incentives to ameliorate the hardships local industries were going through.

?How much more inspiring if you had laid out the incentives your government was providing, for example, reduction in number of taxes, a commitment to tax actual profit and not projected profit, breaks on raw materials etc. etc. that would give the ?local boy? the chance to become a new ?Bata?,? he said.

Corruption

The NPP could equally not fathom why President Mahama moaned about $1.3billion being lost to low prices and low production in the gold and cocoa industries, saying, ?The news about the levels of layoffs by our two major mines should be causing you sleepless nights.?

However, the statement said ?you (referring to the President) sleep so soundly that you made no mention of any interventions to cushion the impact on the thousands who are to lose their jobs, nor any mention of what you are doing to maintain some confidence in the mining sector for the medium to long term.

?For cocoa, no mention of any decision to reverse your inept, corrupt and politically-driven looting that has resulted in the loss of 200,000 tonnes of exports and more and more cocoa farms being uprooted for galamsey,? it noted, insisting that ?moaning and giggling will not produce one extra pod of cocoa.?

Free SHS

The NPP said it was not against free or progressively free quality education from pre-school to at least the end of senior high school, and would not lay claim to sole ownership of such a vision and policy.

Instead, they said, ?We applaud the vision. It is right in tune with our core philosophy that national development begins with the development of the individual citizen.?

They however prided themselves for ?being at least the first party in the 4th Republic to have worked out the mathematics and determined how to set about the serious implementation of the policy and committed ourselves to its execution.?

Stealing

?The concerns that we are expressing about President Mahama and his NDC government attempting, once again, to steal our clothes, is that this is not the first NPP policy they have sought to purloin and, as in the case of the many others, (development of the North (SADA), Youth empowerment (GYEEDA), NHIS etc,) they have so corrupted and distorted the implementation that we are very concerned about their lack of understanding and the mess that will result from their also mishandling Free Education,? the statement emphasised.

This concern, according to the NPP, was further ?fuelled by our very real suspicion that the announcement was thrown into the statement to divert attention from the lack of any merit in what the nation was told in Parliament by the President.

?If it was indeed a genuine policy of the government, the Minister for Education would have had to have been fully au fait with all aspects of implementation including where the money was going to come from,? the NPP said.

It would be recalled that in 2008, when Nana Akufo-Addo proposed a $1bn Northern Development Fund, then Vice Presidential candidate John Mahama said if Nana had money he should pay VRA debt instead.

 Just after that, he came out with SADA, forcing it on Prof Atta Mills, who never believed in it, hence the inability to provide the GH?200million yearly funding, resulting in Alban Bagbin, then Majority Leader, going to town about the SADA deception.

In 2012, Nana repeated his proposal for free SHS as captured in 2008.

Mr Mahama, standing for the NDC, said it was not possible and that the focus should be on primary education and quality first, with the promise to build 200 schools in four years.

Mahama, who kicked against free SHS, was now touting free education, the opposition party said.

Based on the SADA and GYEEDA deception, the NPP was worried about wrong implementation, it said.

Sinking Economy

For them, ?to class as ?trivia? the public exposure of the Minister?s ignorance of how her ministry was going to pay for the implementation, shows the real ?trivia?, which is the trivial level to which governance in Ghana has sunk,? the opposition party said.

Apart from that, the NPP Chairman noted with concern the fact that ?Ghana is on the brink of a real crisis in our economy and how it is being mismanaged.?

In view of this, he said ?we need thoughtful and committed leadership; leadership that is prepared to lead; that has ideas about how to bring us together; leadership that we will all agree to support and follow as we seek to restore macro-economic stability.?

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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