The 100 Days Catch

President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo

Well, it has become part of the global political convention that democratically elected leaders become the subjects of assessment 100 days after taking power democratically. Ghanaians have also chosen to assess their leaders 100 days after being sworn into office through various debates and discussions when indeed the government had been voted into office to rule for a period of 1460 days. It is very obvious to every right thinking person that 100 days in the life of a government’s four year journey is relatively insignificant.

Perhaps it is premised on the old age Ghanaian saying which loosely translates thus ‘the day’s business is determined by how early the traders and buyers congregate at the market place’. When a market day begins with many traders displaying their wares in the early hours of the day while the buyers or potential buyers also move around feasting their eyes on the nicely displayed wares and start haggling over prices, then there is hope that brisk business is around the corner.

To many of the younger generation, market is moving to a place every day to procure what one needs because the sellers will be there and the buyers would be there as well. In many Ghanaian rural and peri-urban communities, market days are fixed on specific days when farmers bring their produce from the farm gates to the market place while other traders in industrial products bring their wares to the market on that very day to sell. So while the farmers or the fisher folks buy industrial goods and other basics, the others also buy food stuffs and some agriculture related items.

So to the ‘100 days’ analysts, the initial policies and programmes of any government in the first hundred days in office will determine how well or poor that government will do in the coming days, weeks, months and years. January and February are very key to every good farmer as far as the year’s farming programme is concerned, at least in the southern part of the country. Any farmer who misses the clearing of the land around this time and moves into March and April is likely to miss the planting period when the rains might have set in.

The first 100 days of the Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo presidency has indeed seen a regime which is in a ‘hurry’ to embark on its campaign and manifesto pledges to bring relief and hope to the majority of Ghanaians, who until the decisive trouncing of the incompetent Mahama administration, had lost hope and faith in their motherland.

The haste with which he carefully put his government in place within a 100 days, in office is in itself a record. The Nana Addo government has moved away from the ‘proceed on leave’’ announcements which saw public officers being hurriedly removed from their offices and places of work. Yes, there have been changes in personnel at various public institutions; the occupants of those offices have gracefully handed over those positions to the in-coming ones in a very civilized manner. A clear departure from the past.

The first 100 days of the Nana Addo Presidency has not seen the use of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to hound suspects and detaining them beyond the constitutionally permissible period, a practice which in the past had generated needless political tension and threatened national stability and cohesion. People who have questions to answer to the state have been decently invited by a legitimate state agency and questioned. They have not been detained over night by any such state agency. The new administration has deviated sharply from the acrimonious takeovers which had occurred in the two previous handing over in the nation’s democratic dispensation.

The President announced his flagship policy of Free Senior High School (SHS) education to the children of this country within the first 100 days in office, an indication that that policy is very dear to his heart and that he was going to fulfill them. The NDC said it could not be done.  He is bent on restoring the Teacher Training allowances, a promise not to be broken, and the Nurses allowances, a pledge worth honouring. The Mahama administration had asked the Nurses and Teachers trainees to vote against his government because he was not going to restore their cancelled allowances.

His desire to ensure that the private sector leads the way towards economic growth and prosperity was made manifest in the first 100 days through policy initiatives and fiscal interventions in his first budget presented to the nation within the first 100 days.

For example, within the 100 days, the 1 percent Special Levy on imports was abolished, 17.5 percent VAT/NHIL on financial services was abolished, a policy introduced by the NDC administration which caused major ripples within the financial sector of the economy. The removal of import duties on raw materials and machinery for production have been done to support local industries as well as speed up the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy, within the ECOWAS Common External Tariff protocol. Immediately after President Nana Akufo Addo had taken over, the cedi saw a fast downward spiraling against the US$ and other foreign currencies as a result of the rush for the dollar by some NDC chaps who had pocketed campaign funds but were afraid to keep them in the banks. Within the 100 days, the cedi has disentangled itself from the oppression of other currencies and growing stronger, thus forcing the prices of petroleum products, for example, down.

Taxes on domestic air fares have been reduced also within the 100 days period. Hahahahaaaaaa, all of a sudden, the NDC has come to realize that very few people travel by air and therefore the reduction in air fares is an elitist policy to benefit the rich. When did they know that? While major road networks had deteriorated in most parts of the country, the NDC spent over US$20million to, in their own words, make Kumasi Airport an International Airport. How many people fly from the Northern Region for example to the rest of the country, as compared to those who travel by road? Yet the NDC was so passionate about an International Airport in Tamale.

Oh, I nearly forgot the famous Ho Airport when the people were complaining about the very poor nature of their roads. All of a sudden, road transport has become more important than air transport to the NDC who presided over the development of mass potholes on the roads nationwide.

I remember President Akufo Addo assuring the operators in the pharmaceutical industry of reduced taxes on pharmaceutical products which are not produced locally in the interest of the public. He has reduced the VAT/NHIL on the imports of such pharmaceuticals.

Within a 100 days, not only did President Akufo Addo increase the daily allowances of men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces who serve on Peace Keeping Missions on foreign lands, from US$31.00 to US$35.00, but also cleared an accumulated allowances due them that were in arrears.  A debt accumulated by the NDC administration.  On a countless number of occasions, the operators of the West African Gas Pipeline which supplies part of Ghana’s gas to feed the nation’s thermal plants had cut off supply to Ghana for non-payment of debts.

This contributed massively to the prolonged ‘dumsor’ the nation experienced during the more than four years of the Mahama administration. Within the last 100 days, a substantial amount of money has been paid the company, thus stabilizing the flow of gas to feed the thermal plants, and by extension, a major improvement in the electricity supply to the populace.

It is the general belief by an overwhelming majority of Ghanaians that within the 100 days, President Akufo Addo has inspired confidence and rekindled the lost hope among the generality of the citizenry that, Ghana will work again. The blot in the 100 days of successful leadership is the misguided acts of the Delta Force. It was such a lawless act by these young party people. Gratefully, they were not shelved on political grounds. The case is before court, let us wait for the outcome.

Bravo, President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo and the NPP.