- Over 2000 Achievements Of President John Mahama
As the countdown to this year’s presidential election begins in earnest, Ghanaians are sharply divided over who should get their mandate come December 7 — whether President John Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) should be re-elected for another term of four years or whether the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is contesting for the office for the third time, should be given a shot at the presidency under a democratic dispensation. There have been arguments for and against the two candidates but I would like to quickly align myself with those routing for President Mahama’s continuity in that exalted office.
I have heard those wishing for an NPP-led Government under Nana Akufo-Addo argue that President Mahama has been in power for over four years without any ‘solid achievement’ to point at. It is, however, my candid opinion that ‘solid achievement’ or not, the Mahama administration has put Ghana on the track of sustainable development through its transformation agenda. The President’s commitment to a united Ghana is one thing people don’t reckon with but which is paramount to the welfare and well being of Ghanaians.
It is on record that in the history of Ghana, President Mahama ranks among the most committed in terms of uniting the nation. Forget the propaganda of the opposition and the mischief of the disgruntled. Good governance, transparency and accountability are major planks on which President Mahama’s agenda for transformation hinges. Under his leadership, Ghana continues to perform impressively in global rankings in all major governance indicators – human rights, transparency and rule of law. His government continues to create scope for the strengthening of state institutions, Civil Society Organisation and the media, which operates in a very free and open environment.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Mahama has, since assuming office, intensified efforts at positioning the country’s security agencies to adequately respond to contemporary security challenges. This has been done through the biggest retooling of the security agencies in recent Ghanaian history. The numerical strength of the Police Service has improved from 23,204 in 2012 to 32,117 in 2014 resulting in a current Police -Population Ratio (PPR) of 1:724 as against 1:1,100 in 2010. This has brought Ghana closer to the United Nations benchmark of 1:500 (PPR). This has also led to an increase in Police visibility and accessibility, which is key in crime detection, prevention and control. Available statisitcs show that between 2013 and 2014 the crime rate dropped by over 5,000. For the first time in Ghana’s history, a Marine Police Unit has been set up and equipped with modern speed boats to police the country’s territorial waters. A total of 1,424 vehicles have been procured for the Ghana Police Service by Government in the last five years. Out of this, 1,089 high performance vehicles were procured between 2012 to date. This is against 547 that were bought between 2001 and 2008. Also 14 maverick vehicles have been delivered to enhance their work. Apart from the above, logistics such as bullet proof vests, riot control gear and modern mobile clinic vans have been procured for the police. This retooling has made it possible for improved police visibility at high traffic areas, major intersections and communities. Fire Service, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) took delivery of 126 new firefighting vehicles in 2012. In 2014, an additional 80 fire tenders were procured bringing to 206 the number of new firefighting vehicles procured by Government. The largest of these can carry up to 3,000 gallons of water and 3,000 gallons of fire retarding foam. This represents a vast improvement over the 95 firefighting vehicles that were procured for them between 2001 and 2008, a situation that adversely affected their ability to effectively respond to fire outbreaks in the country.
Ghana Armed Forces the Army, Navy and Airforce have all benefited from a comprehensive retooling programme. Government has procured a fleet of modern aircraft and accessories to enable the Airforce to better perform their functions of protecting the country’s airspace. Included is a package for training of pilots and both ground and Air crew.
Other facets of the country’s affairs also have President Mahama’s imprints as a visionary leader. Under Mahama, Ghana became one of Africa’s biggest economy with a rebased GDP of GHC133.34 billion as of June 2015 compared to GHC30,179 billion in 2008. Unemployment continues to bedevil many economies in both developed and developing countries. This notwithstanding the expansion of the Ghanaian economy continues to create job opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Available data from SSNIT indicates that between 2009 and May 2015, a total of 364,665 new workers were registered by 19,032 new private businesses. Through a mixture of direct Government interventions and partnerships with the private sector, thousands of jobs are being created:
The Agriculture Sector continues to record impressive growth owing to considerable investments and policy interventions. The transformation of the sector brought to an end decades of corruption in fertilizer and seed distribution as farmers now access them directly. Mahama’sa dministration has subsidised the provision of 680,879 metric tonnes of fertilizer equivalent to GHC325.24 million for Ghanaian farmers since 2009. In 2013, subsidies on 166,807 metric tonnes were given to farmers as against 43,176 metric tonnes in 2008. This has moved fertilizer coverage from 8kg per hectare in 2008 to 12kg per hectare as of 2013.
Also, hundreds of tractors, harvesters and other farm machinery have been distributed to farmers across the country. The total number of Agricultural Mechanisation Services Centres has gone up from 57 in 2009 to 89 in 2014. This has resulted in an increase in the total area of farms, serviced by these mechanisation centres, from 47,880 hectares in 2009 to 74,760 hectares in 2014. New irrigation projects at Nobeko, Kaniago, Aponapon, Mosease, Adiembra, Kokroko, Dodoekorpe and Akurobi have been undertaken. Rehabilitation has also been carried out on schemes at Okyereko, Tanoso, Sandema Koori, Dawhenya and Akumadan. As a result the total area of irrigated land has increased from 27,879 hectares in 2010 to 29,507.71 hectares in 2014. The total area of cropped land has increased from 3,762,044 hectares in 2008 to 4,099,090 hectares in 2014. Total food crop production has also moved from 24,172,554 metric tonnes in 2008 to 32,276,505 metric tonnes in 2014. In the area of rice cultivation, for example, local production has more than doubled since 2008, rising from 301,900 metric tonnes in 2008 to 604,041 metric tonnes in 2014. These interventions have increased food production hence ensuring food security.
Talking of Cocoa, the cocoa industry continues to play a pivotal role in Ghana’s economy. In 2014, Mahama’s administration increased producer price of cocoa by 62.74%, i.e. from GH¢3,392.00 per tonne to GH¢5,520.00 per tonne. In 2015 it was further increased to GH¢6,800.00 (GH¢425.00 per bag). The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is continuing the free fertilizer application (Hi-tech) programme for cocoa farms. In the 2014/15 crop season, COCOBOD distributed 50 million improved cocoa seedlings free of charge to farmers to replace aged and dying trees. This intervention created jobs for four thousand (4,000) youth in 87 cocoa growing communities who planted and nursed the seedlings. In the 2015/16 cocoa season, 60 million additional seedlings have been distributed, which has created jobs for over 4,000 youth. In August 2015, Mahama’s government fully redeemed its obligation under the US$1.7 billion syndicated loan for the 2014/15 crop season. COCOBOD has secured US$1.8 billion at an interest rate of 1.1905% for the 2015/16 crop season.
Ghana’s education sector was not left out. The total number of educational institutions at all levels has risen sharply from 45,447 in the 2008/09 academic year to 57,270 in the 2014/15 academic year, representing an increase of 11,823 or 26%. Total enrolment has gone up from 7,038,738 in the 2008/09 academic year to 8,891,892 in the 2014/15 academic year, marking an increase of 1,853,154 or 26.33%.
On Basic Education: President John Mahama’s Basic Education Programme provides equitable access to good quality and child-friendly universal basic education. This is being achieved through significant improvements in infrastructure, provision of teaching and learning materials, enhancement of quality of teaching, management and supervision of schools, as well as delivery of social intervention programmes.
To this end, the following have been undertaken:
1. School Infrastructure – A total of 1,856 out of 2,578 basic school projects have been completed under the Schools Under Trees programme. The remaining are due for completion in couple of months. A number of teachers bungalows, education offices, sanitation blocks and 203 out of 232 classroom blocks have been completed. The school shift system, through which pupils run shifts due to lack of adequate classrooms, has now been eliminated in many of our communities. In Wa, Sunyani, Tarkwa, Dansoman, Krachi Nchumuru in the Volta Region and many other areas, school children can no longer skip school to play truant in the name of the school shift system.
2. Over 100 million exercise books have been distributed. In 2013 alone, 32 million exercise books were distributed to 4,768,806 pupils across the country while 10 million exercise books were distributed in 2014.
3. Close to two million pupils have been supplied with free school uniforms since 2010.
4. In 2013, Goverment distributed 12.5 million English, Mathematics and Science textbooks to public basic schools. This enabled Ghana to exceed the universal textbook – pupil ratio of three textbooks per pupil (3 textbooks for one pupil) Currently, Ghana’s textbook-pupil ratio stands at 4:1 (four textbooks for one pupil). Before this feat, three pupils used to share one textbook.
5. A total of 854,040 BECE candidates have benefitted from the payment of BECE subsidies.
The total coverage of the School Feeding Programme has increased from 441,189 children to 1,693,000 children. It is also now fully funded by the Government of Ghana after the Dutch Government withdrew its funding.
6. To improve ICT education, 60,000 laptops have been distributed to Basic School pupils in all ten regions of Ghana under the Basic School Computerisation Programme. Also 50,000 basic school teachers across the country benefited from ICT training.
7. To further consolidate these gains and offer more opportunities for Ghanaian school children, the following interventions are underway: Distribution of – Ten thousand (10,000) locally produced school sandals to pupils in selected deprived districts, Six million (6,000,000)textbooks o Five hundred thousand (500,000) pieces of school uniforms , Fifteen million (15,000,000) exercise books. Thirty thousand (30,000) computers are also being distributed to schools across the country as well as 11,300 mono desks, 20,000 dual desks and workbooks for pre-school children. Schools in 75 deprived districts are receiving additional grants through the Global Partnership for Education Grant (GPEG) to boost enrolment and retention. Government deepened its programme of subsidising the conduct of the BECE by supporting MCI Schools at M1 Cluster, Mamprobi over 444,000 candidates this year. Government has also prioritised the welfare and training of teachers and improved on their professionalism and redeployment at this level. We are seeking to increase the percentage of trained teachers at the basic level from 70.2% in 2014 to 75% by end of 2015
On health, Mahama led Government has pumped billions of Ghana Cedis into the provision of modern hospitals and the upgrading of facilities for speedy and quality healthcare delivery. There are currently several major hospital projects nearly completion, which when completed will deliver about 6,000 new hospital beds to facilitate access to improved health care by 2017. These include:
1. Teaching Hospitals: 617-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital
• Second phase of the Tamale Teaching Hospital Expansion Project will add 400 more beds to make it an 800-bed facility (following the provision of 400 beds under the first phase of the project)
2. Regional Hospitals: 420-bed Ridge Hospital Expansion Project, which he commissioned on Wednesday November 30.
• 295-bed Bolgatanga Regional Hospital 250-bed Ashanti Regional Hospital at Sewua-Kumasi
• 160-bed Upper West Regional Hospital
3. District Hospitals: 7-District Hospitals each with a capacity of 120 beds at Dodowa, Fomena, Kumawu, Abetifi among others. 6-District Hospitals each with 60 bed capacity at Tepa, Nsawkaw, Konongo, Salaga, Twifo Praso and the 100 bed Madina hospital.
• 6-District Hospitals each with 60 bed capacity at Tepa, Nsawkaw, Konongo, Salaga, Twifo Praso and the 100 bed Madina hospital.
• 120-bed Bekwai Hospital
4. Institutional Hospitals:
• 500-bed Military Hospital Project in Kumasi
• 104-bed Police Hospital Project, Accra
• 130-bed Maritime Hospital, Tema
Following the completion of five polyclinics (Phase III) in the Brong Ahafo Region at Nkrankwanta, Wamfie, Kwatire, Techimantia and Bomaa, work will start on 15 more polyclinics. These include;
• Ten polyclinics to be located at Besease, Gomoa Dawurampong, Biriwa, Etsii Sunkwa, Esikuma Gyamera, Agona Duakwa, Bimpong Akunfude, Ekumfi Naakwa, Twifo Atimokwa and Gomoa Postin, all in the Central Region.
• Five 30-bed polyclinics to be sited at Adentan, Ashiaman, Bortianor, Oduman and Sege all in the Greater Accra Region.
6. Health Centres 18 Health Centres have been completed at Amasaman, Doffor, Pokukrom, New Jejeti, Paakro, Gwollu, Funsi, Sang, Northern Buipe, Manso Nkwanta, Abuakwa, Mase Sosekpe, Kedzi, Adamso, Kayoro, Timonde, Bonsu Nkwanta and Dadieso.
7. CHPS Compounds Out of 2,948 functional CHPS zones, 1,260 have been constructed. Another 1,600 are at varying stages of implementation
8. Eye Care Centre at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital The completion of this eye centre The survey also showed that while births occurring in health facilities and births attended by skilled providers stood at 95%, 57% and 59% in 2008, they increased to 97%, 73% and 74% respectively in 2014. has made it possible to offer enhanced specialist eye care to the people of Kumasi and surrounding areas.
9. National Medical Equipment Replacement Programme: This US$264 million initiative has ensured the provision of critical diagnostic and treatment equipment for over 150 hospitals nationwide. These include all Teaching Hospitals in Ghana (Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Tamale Teaching Hospital and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital), all Regional Hospitals, 125 District Hospitals, 14 Health Centres and 8 mobile clinics.
In line with Government’s determination to develop sports infrastructure, the 15,000 seater capacity Cape Coast Stadium has been commissioned. The stadium has two outdoor basketball courts, one handball court, a boxing training court, audience emergency rooms, 22 guestrooms, four athletic lounges among others.
Sports, the last few years has seen Ghana begin to reap the benefits of the developmental investments made in the youth in the various sporting disciplines. Over the last two years, the progressive prominence of Ghanaian sportswomen and men has been seen at the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana in 2014, the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in 2014, the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa in 2015, and the All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo in 2015. As these young athletes develop over the next few years, it provides a great opportunity for Ghana to evolve into a significant sporting powerhouse in multiple sports by the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Housing: Mahama government continues to invest heavily in the area of housing in a bid to bridge the housing deficit. An aggressive affordable housing programme has been rolled out to provide more Ghanaian families in the lower to middle income bracket with decent homes. The programmes being undertaken in this regard are –
1. The Affordable Housing Project at Saglemi in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region. Work is progressing speedily on the construction of 5,000 housing units which constitute the first phase of this project at Saglemi in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region.
2. “Nyame dua” Estates Under a PPP arrangement, Messrs Sethi Realty Limited has been allocated 95 acres of land at Kpone for the construction of 5,000 affordable housing units, branded “Nyame Dua” Estates. The first phase of 240 housing units comprising 2 and 3 bedroom house types is nearing completion.
3. Security Services Housing Scheme Phases 1 and 2 Government’s commitment to provide decent housing for the security services has been given meaning through the completion of 168 housing units with related infrastructure in Tema. This is made up of 136 two-bedroom and 32 three-bedroom flats. Work is nearly completion on the construction of 368 housing units under the second phase of this project at an estimated cost of GH¢ 101.2 million.
4. Keta Sea Defence Resettlement Housing Scheme Under this project 618 out of 836 housing units have been completed at Adzido, Kedzi and Vodza to house persons affected by the Keta Sea Defence Project.
5. Adenta Regeneration Project (SHC Gardens) The Adenta Regeneration Project or the “SHC Gardens” involves the construction of 72 housing units for middle income households. Works on the Regeneration projects at Lartebiokorshie, Kaneshie, Kanda and North Effiakuma are ongoing.
6. New Labadi Villas Housing Project The Ghana Armed Forces as part of efforts to provide housing for its personnel, is currently constructing housing units at Labadi Villas in Burma Camp to house officers.
7. Police Housing Project Government, through a Public Private Partnership, has ensured the construction of modern residential facilities for police personnel at Cantonments in Accra.
8. Progress made on the Affordable Housing units started in 2006 the affordable housing units started in 2006 are located at six sites in five regions namely, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Upper West and Eastern.
I would like to conclude by advising those that are saying the Mahama administration has not recorded any ‘solid achievement’ in office to be fair in their evaluation. The administration has actually laid the foundation for Ghana’s prosperity and this traverses every sector of the economy, all of which cannot be highlighted in this write up. A vote for Mahama is, therefore, a vote for the consolidation of the achievements so far and this is where I stand.
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