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First 100 days: Akufo-Addo gov’t on right footing – Governance expert

Politics

A governance expert says President Nana Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has set the right foundation for success after first 100 days in office. 

The Dean of Graduate Studies of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr Eric Oduro-Osae also said the swift manner in which government went about its appointments was commendable. 

According to him, despite the incidents of attacks by some vigilante groups affiliated to the party, the Akufo-Addo led government has started well.

Speaking on Joy FM/MultiTv’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday, he added that “what is lacking now is government’s inability to take over sub-national governance level and that is very critical.”

The NPP will be 100 days in office on Monday but the period has been dominated by activities of party militant groups and forceful takeovers and attacks. 

Political attacks 

There were a series of attacks perpetrated by members of the NPP shortly after the party’s candidate was declared the winner of the December 2016 elections.

The attacks have seen supporters seizing anything they come across, from public toilets to public offices across the country.

The National Health Insurance Scheme, the National Disaster Management Organisation, the Youth Enterprise Agency have all suffered violent takeovers.

The passport office in Accra, toll booths on the Tema motorway, Assin Fosu, Cape Coast and many other areas in the country have all been attacked with those managing it chased out.

In the very recent incident, another pro-NPP group Delta Force group attacked the Kumasi circuit court on Thursday and set free 13 of its members who were facing prosecution for acts of vandalism.

The attack, captured on video showed the group, numbering about 50, besieging the Kumasi Circuit court premises chanting.

They broke into the court and freed their members who had only weeks ago chased out the Regional Security Coordinator appointed by the president.

This was after the judge had announced that the suspects were going to be remanded for two weeks pending further investigation, a move that did not go down well with the members of the vigilante group who were on the court premises.

In anger, they charged at the judge and demanded the immediate release of the suspects, an act that has widely been condemned across the country.

Tax Cuts 

The Akufo-Addo government was lauded for living up to his promise to cut taxes as Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced government’s decision to abolish about eight taxes in his maiden budget.

Government also announced re-adjustment of four other taxes in 2017 to improve the climate of doing business in the country.

They include;

(a) Abolish one percent special import levy,

(b) Abolish 17.5 VAT on financial sevices

(c) Abolish 17.5% VAT on selected imported medicines

(d) Initiate steps to remove import duties on raw materials and machinery

(e) Abolish 17.5 VAT on domestic airline tickets

(f) Abolish 5% VAT on real estates

(g) Abolish excise duty on petroleum

(h) Reduce special petroluem tax rate from 17.5% to 15%

(i) Abolish duties on importation of spare parts.

(j) Abolish levies imposed on Kayayei’s by local authorities

(k) Replace the 17.5 VAT on Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) traders to a flat rate of 3.5 percent

(l) Reduce National Electrification levy

Many of these taxes were introduced by the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government to fill in the shortfalls in revenue generation in the country.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has criticised government for towing a populist line arguing that the reduction is not reflecting in the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian. 

Political Appointment

The Akufo-Addo government also scored high marks for making his appointments to the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in record time. 

The President recently nominated 50 deputies and 4 others to serve as Ministers of State at the presidency and ministries, bringing to 110 his total number of ministers, the highest in Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

He came come under intense criticism since the appointment. While some have argued that the decision will lead to bureaucracy, others believe that it will only worsen corruption.

But the President Akufo-Addo defended his decision saying the unprecedented problems confronting Ghana demand a large government.

“I don’t believe that my government in the Fourth Republic has big numbers in view of the swollen challenges,” the President said in an interview with the Daily Graphic and Ghana Television.

The president of policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, criticised the record appointments saying it shows he failed to insist on “meritocracy.”

These notwithstanding, Dr Oduro-Osae lauded government for taking over national level governance by way of appointing ministers for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in a record time. 

“They have also been honest with Ghanaians by way of having some of their manifesto promises featured in the budget though they are yet to prepare their development plan. 

“All in all I think they have gotten all the governance indicators right, except for a few excesses…there is more room for improvement, they are on course and some of the challenges they faced are normal,” he said. 

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