Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, has praised the general performance of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) with respect to delivering on its 2016 election manifesto promises.
According to IMANI, the NPP has made significant achievements in its first year.
After taking over a virtually collapsed economy from the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), IMANI observed that the NPP had impressively managed to stabilize the Ghanaian economy in its first year.
For instance, it said the Akufo-Addo administration has managed to reduce inflation from 15.4 percent as at year ending 2016 to 11.4 percent as at year ending 2017.
Also, it said the government has made significant progress in stabilizing exchange rates in the country, helping the cedi to perform better against the major international currencies like the US Dollar, British Pound Sterling and the Euro.
Under the previous Mahama administration, the Ghana Cedi experienced a free fall against those major currencies.
According to the report, the NPP has been successful in reducing the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio from 73 percent as at the end of 2016 to 68.3 percent in 2017.
“Government has achieved some reasonable progress in the fulfillment of its manifesto promises,” according to the IMANIFESTO 2018 report.
One of the lead researchers, Barbara Andoh, who presented the findings of the IMANIFESTO 2018 report, explained that “the general proof for the macroeconomic stability is that the country has received positive credit ratings from rating agencies like Fitch.”
The policy think tank also indicated that even though the ruling government has not started the actual implementation of its flagship industrialization programme, the ‘One District, One Factory’ programme, steps it (government) has taken so far with respect to implementing the policy are “commendable” and that there was a high level of transparency with respect to what government was doing so far in that direction.
Again, it said, the government has taken major steps to mainstream Information Communications Technology (ICT) to the national economy by introducing the digital property addressing system and the national identification project.
The digital property addressing system has been rolled out and the national identification project is yet to come on stream.
The NPP in 2016 had 146 campaign promises for the Ghanaian voters, many of which it has been able to fulfill since January 7, 2017.
This year’s analysis of the report was purely qualitative unlike in previous years and has highlights and comments on what has been achieved so far under the Akufo-Addo-led NPP administration.
The analysis was reportedly carried out along eight broad themes namely Economy, Job Creation, Agriculture, Governance, Education, Health, Energy and Infrastructure, with its data sources being the 2016 Manifesto of the NPP, 2017 and 2018 Budget Statements of the Government, the 2017 to 2024 Coordinated Programmes for Economic and Social Development, among others.
The report identifies major gaps, challenges and offers some suggestions on how the government should implement some of its promises.
According to IMANI, the NPP has delivered on its promises in the educational sector, notable among them are the roll out of the Free Senior High School (SHS) initiative and the restoration of teacher trainees’ allowances.
It, however, pointed out that there has been some challenges in fully implementing the Free SHS policy, for instance, and that the implementation of the policy has not really addressed the issue of equity in the educational system in Ghana, saying the issue of equality has, however, been adequately looked at.
IMANI Africa raised concerns about the sustainability of the funding source for the Free SHS programme, saying that it would have been much better if government had chosen tax revenues to fund the project instead of oil revenues, which are not reliable.
On agriculture, IMANI again was impressed with government’s performance so far, saying the NPP has been able to increase agric’s GDP contribution from 3.9 percent in 2016 to 7 percent in 2017.
The growth, according to the think tank, was partly due to the roll out of innovative ideas such as the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme which in 2017 had 201,000 registered farmers nationwide.
On energy, IMANI commended government for restructuring the legacy energy debt and reducing it by half (GH¢ 5 billion).
IMANI, however, scored the government low in getting the right balance between tax cuts and revenue mobilization.
It said the government missed its revenue target of GH¢44.9 billion in 2017 due to its failure to get a right balance between its major tax cuts and revenue mobilization.
Touching on national security, IMANI Africa said, there has been a general atmosphere of lawlessness in the country.
The police service is not befitting for the country that we have, President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe said, appealing to government to rise up and shape the image of the police service.
IMANI appealed to the government to expedite action in implementing policies to fulfill other promises.
Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, praised the IMANI’s report.
But he advised that the next edition of the report should be situated in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), saying situating the report in the context of the SDGs will help stakeholders better appreciate the gains being made.
He, however, chided President Akufo-Addo for “talking too much without doing anything on the lawlessness in Ghana.”