Former President John Dramani Mahama should have subsidized the cost of electricity in Ghana during his tenure when the country was saddled with the dumsor crisis, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, has said.
He said the steps taken by President Akufo-Addo Akufo-Addo in dealing with the effects of theCOVID-19 on Ghanaians, which include the electricity subsidy, free water for three months, and others, should have been done for Ghanaians during the dumsor crisis under Mr Mahama.
Dr Adams said Mr Mahama rather increased the cost of electricity when when Ghanaians were saddled with the energy crisis.
This smacks of a leader who doesn’t not know how to handle a crisis well, he said.
He was contributing to a discussion on Dr Bawumia’s recent comments that the Mahama administration failed to tackle the ‘dumsor’ crisis well.
Dr Bawumia, on Monday, in a response to Mr Mahama’s comment that COVID-19 has sent the Akufo-Addo government’s oft-touted “resilient” and “robust” economy into the ICU, said President Akufo-Addo is a better manager of crises than his predecessor.
The flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had said in one of Facebook interactions with Ghanaians that: “Unfortunately, this government has used a lot of propaganda saying the economy has been the best that we have ever had since independence. Unfortunately, just one month of coronavirus the economy is in ICU. If we didn’t run to the IMF for the one billion rapid credit facility, it is possible that in the next month probably salaries would not have been paid and so our economy is on ventilators, and it needs thinking to rescue it from the ICU.”
But speaking at a media interaction after a COVID-19 response team meeting on 4 May 2020, Dr Bawumia noted that: “If you want to test the robustness of an economy, you test it in a time of crises. Thankfully, we’ve had two crises.
“Under the NDC, there was an internally-generated crisis, which was dumsor. Under the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo, there’s been an externally-generated crisis, which is the global coronavirus pandemic. I just want you to ask yourselves how these two crises have been managed.
“The dumsor crisis, which crippled this economy for four years, what were the mitigating measures offered to businesses and individuals during dumsor which was an internally generated crisis?
“We saw that even during dumsor, electricity prices were being increased, fuel prices were being increased, teacher training allowances were being cancelled, nurse training allowances were being cancelled; all of that was happening during that particular crisis.”
He continued: “You look at the coronavirus crisis and you look at the difference in terms of what has happened. The President has reduced electricity prices, made it free for lifeline consumers, given free water to all Ghanaians for three months, has made sure there’s a stimulus package of GHS600 million for businesses and we have seen domestic production of PPE for our health workers.
“So, the difference couldn’t be [clear] during a leadership under the crisis of dumsor and under the coronavirus pandemic. So, I ask a simple question: Who will you trust in a time of crisis? The answer, I will say is very clear – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has shown leadership and concern for ordinary Ghanaians.”
In a statement responding to the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Inussah Fusein who criticised the Vice President for the comparison, Dr Amin Adams said : “On the relative responses to the two crises, I need to draw your attention that crisis response usually takes two forms – crisis-specific which targets alleviation of the crisis; and general responses intended to mitigate the unintended outcomes of the crisis. As far as the Dumsor and COVID-19 crises are concerned, the most notable difference between President Akufo-Addo and former President John Mahama is that, the response to the Dumsor crisis was crisis specific ONLY, as the Government corruptly procured several power contracts, as we now getting to know from the civil case in the US involving the AKSA contract, the scale of corruption in approving Power Purchase Agreements, most of which we did not need.
“The simple truth is that there was no single mitigating measure to save Ghanaians from the hardships of Dumsor, a self-inflicted crisis engineered to create, loot and share.
“President Akufo-Addo’s approach to COVID-19 has been exemplary. Apart from implementing crisis-specific measures such as enhanced testing, isolation and treatment, a partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi, restrictions on public gathering, and supporting front line health workers with PPEs, insurance cover and free bus ride; he is also currently implementing mitigation measures to alleviate the hardships imposed by the COVID crisis.
“In fact, the social and economic mitigation measures being implemented like the free electricity for lifeline consumers, 50% electricity tariff reduction for all other customers, and free water whose most significant input cost is electricity, would have been more appreciated during the Dumsor crisis, given that the sufferings they mitigate were even more the direct consequence of the crises in the power sector at the time. Yet leadership had paralyzed and engaged only in crisis procurement of power deals.”
He added : “We can also refer to the Stimulus Package of GHS 600 million for SMEs provided by president Akufo-Addo. Again, this was equally needed during the Dumsor crisis considering its devastating damage suffered by SMEs. For example, The institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) estimated in a study on the impact of the Dumsor crisis on 1,250 SMEs “that make over two-thirds of all jobs in the country” that the crisis lowered annual sales of a business by 37-48 percent and made the country “lose production worth $2.2 million per day or $57.2 million per month and $686.4 million annually”. Would GHS 600 million or half of this stimulus package for SMEs not have provided significant relief to those firms who were battered by the crisis?”