The New Patriotic Party has condemned the violent utterances and strategies by the leadership of the National Democratic Congress aimed at creating instability in the country towards the 2024 general elections and thus called on the Police to act swiftly to neutralise their tactics.
At a press conference yesterday, the party said statements made by NDC youth Organizer for Suame calling for the shooting maiming and killing of NPP supporters to pave way for John Mahama to become President were deadly dangerous and a threat to the peace the country is enjoying.
It also condemned statements made by the ex-president John Mahama that described the NDC as knowing how to unleash violence on their opponents as well as his recent attacks on the Judiciary and the Supreme Court Judges.
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The party, in a statement read by the Communications Director, Richard Ahiagba called on the Police to immediately prosecute the (NDC) Youth Organizer for Suame for his toxic remarks to serve as a deterrent to others in the run-up to the 2024 election.
“We believe that the statement that the youth organizer made was not in isolation, nor he misspoke. He is clear-eyed about what he was saying. His remarks reflect the culture and ethos of the NDC. We expect the police and the court to bring him to justice very quickly to deter others who might be harbouring such violent and delinquent thoughts in the NDC”, Richard Ahiagbah, the NPP’s Director of Communications said.
Razak Kaumpa, the Suame Constituency NDC Youth Organizer was seen in a viral video inciting NDC member to attack their counterparts in the NPP ahead of the next general polls.
He has since been detained by police after being turned over by the party’s leadership.
The suspect, who was accused of inappropriate behaviour, is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
Mr. Richard Ahiagbah while addressing the press today insisted that the opposition party must voice out its dissatisfaction with the comments.
“We demand the NDC to unreservedly disallow, disassociate and expel the young man from their party without delay. That is the only point we can begin to take NDC seriously and show that they are not shielding him and discouraging such commentaries in our politics. Nothing short of this will suffice.”
READ FULL STATEMENT
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY ADDRESSED BY THE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RICHARD AHIAGBAH, FEBRUARY 8, 2023.
- Good afternoon and thank you for coming. Today’s meeting marks the first in a series of bi-weekly Press Updates the Communication Directorate has planned to give this year, 2023. The Press Update will provide the opportunity to address Ghanaians directly with the issues that have taken space in the media over the period. So, we look forward to welcoming you to the HQ of our party every fortnight.
- Today’s briefing will address the following issues:
- The NDC Promise of Electoral Violence
- Auditor General’s Report—COVID-19 expenditure
- Gold for Oil Program
- The Domestic Debt Exchange
- The NDC Promise of Electoral Violence
- Friends from the media, there is a video circulating on social media in which the Suame Youth Organizer of the NDC boldly outdoors the NDC’s violent plot to engage the 2024 general elections. Please let’s watch the video.
- We will not discount this as vain talk; This individual is coherent and clearly appears to know and understand what he is saying and what outcome he expects.
- It is dangerous, to put it mildly.
- Ladies and gentlemen, what is more dangerous, perhaps, egregious is the NDC’s failure to condemn and dissociate itself from the statement but rather rationalize it. We cannot accept this as an ordinary misguided statement because, as I indicated earlier, he is too coherent not to be taken seriously.
- Besides, we believe his threats are not in isolation. He is inspired by the NDC’s presumptive leader, former President Mahama, who has publicly touted the NDC’s credentials: “NDC has revolutionary roots, and when it comes to unleashing violence, no one can beat us to it.”
- Indeed, former President Mahama and the NDC demonstrated this through their actions after he lost the 2020 Presidential elections. He held press conference after press conference and misled Ghanaians that the election had been stolen, and ordered thousands of unsuspecting party youths into the streets around the country, burning markets, attacking innocent citizens and destroying and vandalizing public property (Let’s watch the video). Even their MPs participated in the orgy when they stormed the EC headquarters. But for the vigilance of the police, there might have been bloodshed.
- Former President Mahama did not stop there. He went on to freely assault the integrity of the Supreme Court (Let’s play video).
- Ladies and gentlemen, we have now been told by the Chairman of NDC and Gen Secretary at the time, Mr Asiedu Nketia, what the NDC knew at the time— that former President Mahama lost the election. They all knew it, but they wanted “King Solomon to cut the baby into two” (Play Gen Mosquito voice note/video.)
- Remember the Muntie 3? When they were jailed, NDC ministers and top officials formed a queue to ask for their pardon, and former President Mahama freed them from prison. This is the party whose leaders oversaw the slaughter in 1982 of three judges and a military officer.
- We believe this NDC Youth Organizer did not speak in isolation or misspoke. He is clear-eyed. His remarks reflect the culture and ethos of the NDC. We expect the police and the courts to bring this Suame NDC Youth to Justice very quickly to deter others who might be harboring similar violent and delinquent thoughts in the NDC.
- We demand the NDC to unreservedly disavow, disassociate and expel this Youth organizer without delay.
- Nothing short of this will suffice.
- 2022 Auditor General’s Report & Matters Arising
- The Auditor General’s report on the Covid-19 expenditure between March 2020 to June 2022 raised two key issues:
- It creates a false impression of wrongdoing concerning the expenditure of some GH¢10billion of the Covid Response fund on activities unrelated to Covid-19.
- It flagged some infractions with the GH¢11.8billion supposedly spent on Covid-19 activities.
- Friends from the media, Covid-19 impacted the entire economy. We all went through it, and you recall the historic shutdown of the economy that locked us in our rooms or houses for weeks. The deadly Covid-19 together threatened everything about our being as people, our lives, and our livelihoods.
- The funding sources for the Covid-19 Response fund did not stipulate what direct activities to spend the monies on except to state that for budget support or Covid-19 preparedness and response support. This is because lives and livelihoods are inseparable. Therefore, a government is expected to do everything to protect its people, and that was precisely done in Ghana. We are all witnesses to it.
- Friends from the media, you recall the globally acclaimed view of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; we know how to bring back the economy but do not know how to bring human beings back to life. In essence, President Akufo Addo was committing his government to do whatever it took to preserve lives and livelihoods.
- The lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians are inextricably linked. There cannot be anything unrelated about budgetary support to a sector to protect livelihood in a fight to save lives. Therefore, it is inconceivable that the Auditor General would elect to disaggregate the expenditure of the GH¢21.8 billion Covid-19 Fund.
- The infractions flagged in respect of the GH¢11.8billion must be pursued and recovered where wrongdoings are established. However, we have observed some audit protocol breaches in the case of some MDAs, which has led to some expenditures being flagged.
- It is important to highlight these procedure breaches because failure to do so sustains a false impression of wrongdoing.
- Friends from the media, the $120 million expended through the UNICEF/AVAT platform to procure some 16.9 million Jensen & Jensen vaccines should not have been flagged, given effective communication. This would have come to light if officials had worked diligently. As it turned, the Ministry of Health has agreed to a delivery schedule tied to the domestic uptake of the vaccine. Therefore, the $ 81 million flagged by the auditors is not lost to the state, and everybody knows.
- The infraction cited against the Ministry of information, which the NDC appears to be harping on, is a product of a breach of the regular audit procedure. Ideally, the audit service would typically organize an exit conference to discuss their findings and allow the agency to clarify where necessary. However, this was not done.
- In the said letter, the Ministry provided a detailed explanation to justify the expenditure cited by the auditors. But the truth would not matter now because the NDC will continue to reference this infraction in their communications as though it is true. At least you know the truth, so please correct them.
- Friends from the media, what is the NDC saying about the Auditor General’s Reports and the infractions thereof? What is their record in this arena?
- Let’s cast our mind back to the 2016 Auditor General’s report under former President Mahama, where the Auditor General uncovered rots of incomparable magnitudes.
- Let me mention a few:
- Payments outside GIFMIS – GH¢56.4 million: The review of Government of Ghana transactions sampled and validated by the Auditor General’s report in 2016 showed that the Ministry of Finance released a total of GH¢56.4 million to the Electoral Commission (GH¢29.9 million) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (GH¢26.43) who also processed to their suppliers outside the GIFMIS platform contrary to Section 25(6) of the PFM Act. Section 25(6) of PFMA requires that all GoG commitments are captured and processed on the GIFMIS without exceptions.
- Overspending of budget allocation without approval: A review of the 2016 financial Statements also disclosed that some three (3) MDAs, namely the Ghana Education Service exceeded its budget allocation by Ghc1,672,549,746 billion; the Ghana Health Service by Ghc385,082,608 million; and the Ministry of Finance exceeded their budget allocation by Ghc33,484,766 million.
- 1,245% increase in Office of Government Machinery expenditure: In 2016, the initial allotted budget for the Office of Government Machinery was Ghc768 163 104 million. However, a revised budget in the same year saw the initial allotted amount increase from Ghc 768, 163, 104 million to Ghc 2, 988, 826, 658 billion. Furthermore, the 2016 Auditor General’s report – regarding pages 21 and 22, revealed that the revised amount of Ghc 2, 988, 826, 656 billion was overspent more than Ghc 3, 115, 167 billion, 455 billion bringing the total amount spent on Office of Government Machinery in 2016 to GHc6, 103, 994, 114 billion.
- What makes these NDC infractions baffling is that they did not occur in an emergency, where they had to choose between life or death, as was the case with Covid-19 expenditure. This is the NDC’s record, and we have not forgotten it.
- What we need is not blame but solutions to help make public funds deliver more for Ghanaians. To be credible, ladies and gentlemen of the media, you must hold the NDC to make examinable commitments for discussion.
- Gold for Oil Program (G4O)
- Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, the Gold for Oil Program is a landmark policy initiative by the government to support the import of petroleum products using the Bank of Ghana (BoG) Domestic Gold Purchase (DGP) Program. It is designed to ease the constant pressure on the cedi and help lower the price of petroleum products for Ghanaians.
- The G4O has positive economic implications because stable cedi means stable prices and a lower cost of living. We commend Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and all the agencies working to implement the initiative for Ghana. We recognize the tireless effort of the Ministry of Energy and its agencies for their hard work.
- The G4O is an excellent initiative, but the NDC exist in Ghana, so we cannot take anything for granted. They have raised some questions about the mode of transaction. Friends, there are two modes of transacting under the G4O program—barter and broker.
- Under the Barter Channel, BoG will provide an equivalent volume of gold to suppliers willing to accept gold in direct exchange for petroleum products. The bank and the International Oil Trading Companies (IOTCs) must open Gold Metal Accounts in a mutually agreed-upon gold refinery for the gold transfer.
- Under the Broker Channel, BoG enters a Gold Supply Agreement in which it sells gold to a gold broker for forex cover to pay for petroleum products.
- Gold Broker then purchases gold and deposits the proceeds in the gold holding account at BoG.
- On receipt of the final invoice from BOST, BoG transfers funds from a gold holding account to an Escrow Account to pay for the petroleum product shipment.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, we have received the shipment of about 41,000 metric tonnes of diesel, 10% of our monthly requirement. Official projects supply up to 200,000 metric tonnes, about 50% of our monthly needs.
- Let’s disregard the NDC damping on this great initiative and support the government to do more for us.
- D. The Domestic Debt Exchange Program
- On December 5, 2022, the Government of Ghana announced the voluntary Domestic Debt Exchange Program as a debt sustainability measure to exchange about GHS137 billion worth of Government bonds, E.S.L.A. Plc bonds and Daakye Trust Plc bonds, for a package of twelve new bonds, which are currently being issued.
- Friends from the media, the Debt Exchange is an invitation by the government for eligible bondholders to participate in a bond swap voluntarily. The debt exchange allows the government to extend the maturity of bonds and lower the average coupon rates to create fiscal space to bring the debt-to-GDP ratio to the stated 55% by 2028, among other things.
- The government has acknowledged the difficulties of this inevitable debt operation to bring our debt to sustainable levels. This acknowledgement is reflected in the willingness of the government to engage and accommodate the proposals that have come from the various stakeholders. In addition, the government targets aggressive fiscal consolidation and enhance revenue measures to ensure that the economy stabilizes quickly.
- Strong evidence of the fiscal adjustment and revenue measures are captured in the 2023 budget. The budget proposed more than thirteen consequential cuts:
(i) MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs have been directed to reduce fuel allocations to Political Appointees and heads of MDAs, MMDAs and SOEs by 50 per cent (ii) A ban is placed on the use of V8s or its equivalent except for cross-country travel