The legal term, caveat emptor, meaning, buyer beware would pass a stretch at this crucial moment of our national life as we inch closer to elections to mean, voter beware.
It is required that any seller must fully disclose any information concerning a product to a potential buyer to enable a buyer take informed decision.
Although this hardly gets done, buyers proceed to acquire what they need because of the need for them.
However, on politics, the buyer whom in this case is the voter, is expected to gather as much information as possible, independently, to enable a decision on which political party to vote into power.
The season is here again and it is important to interrogate the messages being delivered by politicians needing power to govern this country.
As a citizen who has interest in this nation and for that matter who emerges as my president, I must interrogate, investigate, bisect and subject some of these promises and messages to a litmus test to enable an informed decision.
The flag bearer and running mate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have taken this year’s campaign into another level with high sounding promises that appears too good, but lacks the economic merit to convince me personally.
The reality of the Ghanaian economy is that, we can do better than we have achieved so far. Indeed, in every human life, the desire to achieve more is what enables competition and this can be expected to manifest in the management of any nation.
We have been promised that the Ghanaian economy will be transformed to levels never experienced before. In doing so, private lotto operators are being told their activities would be licensed, import duties are being promised to be taken off, taxes are being said to be reduced, we are being told the NPP government would not borrow, and yet, Ghana will experience unprecedented development. This looks good. However, let’s take a tour to interrogate the issues.
For any government to turn our economic fortunes around, we need to understand some fundamentals that must guide us in our analysis of political promises during this election.
Ghana has become a middle income country. This has many ramifications. These include; donor funds are curtailed than was in the past, the nation must generate income internally, and the consideration to go into the open marker to borrow.
Curtailing donor support means little money at the disposal of government for development no matter which party is in power. Generating income internally also would mean burdening the citizens with more taxes from the domestic economy. And, going into the open market to borrow also means external responsibilities that transcend one government.
No matter which government is in power at this crucial moment, these are the three major realities that the government would have to deal with.
Good enough for us, the NPP has promised not to tax locally and also promised to remove taxes on imports. The NPP has equally promised not to borrow externally as the current government is doing.
The question that arises is, how would an NPP government raise money to be able to improve the GDP, pay workers better than today, industrialise Ghana, provide free education, and to meet external obligations imposed on it by previous governments?
In identifying the flaws, the NPP would naturally have reduced revenue to the government by reducing taxes, removing duties on imports and licensing activities of private lotto operations. Monies would have been returned to private hands rather than the state. This would cause the national coffers to go dry.
In our current state, government’s domestic income including the current taxes, import duties, revenue from National Lotteries, among others, is not enough to meet the development needs of the country.
To address them, government has no option than to consider external sources of funds to compete with other nations for access to such funds at a fee.
There appears an easy way out that would be costly. If the promises are not calculated for political power, a future government under the NPP would deliver abysmally. They would have taken this country on the path of retrogression.
How do we industrialize without borrowing, without taxing and by removing import duties? How do we encourage domestic production that they have promised when the floodgates are opened for importation of similar cheaper goods as compared to what would be produced in the domestic market?
Indeed, the buyer (voter) must be aware of what is at stake. We have witnessed some promises that launched the NPP into power in 2001 and then their position changed after winning. They told Ghanaians petrol at 60 pesewas was expensive, yet, they left petrol at over 5Ghc. They promised to reduce government, but ended up having more government appointees. They promised to convert Nima into vertical houses, Nima remained as they met it. They promised to convert all chop bars into restaurants, that never happened. They promised to provide jobs for all who are able and willing to work, they left a higher unemployment rate than they came to meet. Indeed, Buyer (Voter) Beware!
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