Former President John Dramani Mahama has asked Ghanaians to brace themselves up for tougher times next year as the 2019 budget statement presented to parliament Thursday lacks what it takes to address the current economic hardship in the country.
Government budgets, he observed, should usually seek to address the problems of people and inspire confidence but the 2019 budget lacks inspiration.
“Usually, when the government presents its budget it gives the people some level of hope. Today, the budget has been read but you can see there is no hope in it. If you look at the budget, you can see the hardship we are faced with today is going to be tougher in 2019” he said in Twi.
Addressing National Democratic Congress delegates at Kwadaso in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region Thursday, the former President said the Akufo-Addo government has come to the realization that governance is not easy saying, “the NPP has now realised governance isn’t easy”.
Mr Mahama noted that the hardship that Ghanaians are going through is contrary to the promises made by President Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) prior to the 2016 general elections.
“We are now hungry than when NDC was in power,” he said, noting the budget that should have showed how government was going to address the economic downturn due to government’s policies failed to live up to expectations.
The former President questioned how the 40 billion cedis he said has been borrowed by the government in two years has been used. He said while there are things to show for what the NDC used the 40 million cedis it borrowed in four years for, same cannot be said of this government.
“What I used the 40 billion to do can be seen by all but some critics who said borrowing was bad and that there is money here have now used two years to borrow 40 billion. What is painful is that you can’t see what they’ve used it for. With due respect, they’ve not constructed even one toilet,” Mahama stated.
The NDC he said constructed a lot of schools and CHPS compound, district hospitals, polyclinic, E-blocks, built roads, provided electricity to rural communities, constructed markets like Kejetia, Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport and expanded Takoradi harbour from the 40 billion cedis.
Mr Mahama said the Akufo-Addo government continues to commission and re-commission NDC projects which while in opposition claimed were nonexistent.
“Today, they’re moving round commissioning projects they claimed were nonexistent,” Mahama said, claiming when the people started to talk about it, the government out of embarrassment has now resolved not to commission some of those projects anymore.
He mentioned the terminal three at the Kotoka International Airport as one of such projects.
He called on the NDC delegates to give him massive endorsement in the flagbarership race to enable him lead the party to victory in the election 2020 in order to work hard to provide jobs and reduce the high cost of living in the country.