President Mahama's Open Letter To Ghanaians
This is probably the first time in the history of Ghana that a sitting President has written an open letter to his citizens. That makes the gesture a novelty. But it comes as no surprise as the President is a communicator par excellence. The four paged letter was captured under two titles "we are winning the race" and "Ghana is up and rising". Under the first part, President Mahama thanked Ghanaians and the teeming supporters of the NDC for giving him the opportunity to serve them. He admitted his first term had not been a bed of roses but came with challenges, which he had to face with a sense of duty and dedication. The President cited the almost one year long election petition, incessant market fires, fall in commodity prices and power crisis as hurdles he had the rather unpleasant duty of jumping.
In the second part of the letter, President Mahama sought to tell Ghanaians efforts that have been made to put Ghana on the path of recovery and development as well as policies geared towards making the transformational agenda even more viable. The letter stated that as a social democratic government efforts have been made in social intervention policies and safety net. For instance, students’ loans have been reviewed upwards with a special package known as the students loan plus for brilliant but poor students. Producer price of cocoa has also been increased above seventy percent, the highest in the history of this country. On NHIS, more than one billion Ghana cedis is said to have been paid to cover claims from service providers. From next year, government hopes to inject a substantial amount of oil revenue into the scheme. On employment, President Mahama noted that about twenty thousand jobs have been created in the health sector alone and more than seventy thousand teachers have also been employed in the educational sector.
Furthermore, with the massive infrastructure projects being done across the country like construction of roads, schools, hospitals and markets, some four hundred thousand jobs have been created. Even though the President admits that there is more room for improvement in the job creation bid, he expressed hope that with the implementation of the Economic Transformation and livelihood Empowerment Programme in his second term, more jobs will be created particularly for the bulging youth population. On Economy, President Mahama, maintained that it is robust and he is confident that Ghanaians will begin to enjoy the fruits of the economy when it grows above eight percent beginning next year as predicted by some global economic indexes. For instance, the UN's Human Development Index has put Ghana within the Medium Human Development Category ahead of her neighbours like Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
The Ghana Cedi is one of the best performing currencies in Africa this year and the rating agencies like Moody and development partners have posted excellent reviews about Ghana's economic outlook. The World’s most credible institution on anti-corruption Transparency International has also commended efforts being made to curb corruption ranking Ghana the seventh least corrupt country in Africa. Whilst President Mahama, looks forward to a resounding victory in the December 7, polls he said it will be a victory not for himself but for the many Ghanaians who believed in his policies and generations yet unborn. He promised to continue to be President for all and offer opportunities irrespective of ethnicity, gender, religious or partisan leanings. From the letter, one can notice the confident posturing of a leader who has what can be described as a winning mentality.
The letter to Ghanaians though brief encompasses the bumpy journey in a first term in office, a Better future in a second term and beyond. One thing is also clear; John Mahama, is an unrepentant development freak. He upholds the view that Infrastructure development plays a key role in economic growth because population growth and urbanisation are placing considerable pressure on the existing infrastructure. Access to education, health care, good roads, water, electricity, factories and the likes undoubtedly make countries attractive to foreign investors. Even advanced industrialised countries like the US, Germany, UK, China and India are stepping up the rehabilitation and replacement of their ageing infrastructure projects. As President Mahama touts his achievements hinged on massive infrastructure development in his "home stretch letter", it is hoped that his track record will speak for him at the polls.
God bless our homeland Ghana.
BY PASCALINE ADADEVOH, A JOURNALIST