By George Koomson
The ghost of the wild overshooting of the 2012 budget by the National DemocraticÂ
Congress (NDC) government has wasted no time in coming back to haunt President
John Dramani Mahamaâ€™s government, yet to complete its first six months in office.
Mondayâ€™s violent demonstration at Ashaiman over repeated promises to fix theÂ
municipalityâ€™s roads was the latest and the most dramatic of paybacks for the NDCÂ
government for proverbially eating the goose that laid the golden egg.
Or to paraphrase the President, for consuming the meat till only the bone is left.Â
Right from the moment it took office, the government has been confronted withÂ
demands by teachers, doctors and contractors, which have been carried over fromÂ
the previous year or years.
But fresh demands have also come from party foot soldiers who say promises ofÂ
jobs and small contracts have not been forthcoming.
This picture of scarcity contrasts sharply with the electioneering era of plenty,Â
characterised by free laptops, supply of mini saloon cars, huge billboards, andÂ
The connection between the few months of plenty and the current difficulty ofÂ
government in meeting pressing social and economic demands has been hinted atÂ
by some; but what has been accepted officially is that there was huge overexpenditure by some government ministries and agencies in the few months to theÂ
Accounts of pro-government groups taking cash from state agencies under theÂ
guise of fund raising come close to offering some explanation, but the full story isÂ
yet to be told.
What is not in doubt is the fact that the level of deficit carried over from last yearÂ
has substantially reduced the governmentâ€™s financial space as it managed toÂ
overspend the 2012 budget, whose threshold had already been raised by aÂ
supplementary budget approved only in July 2012, by a record GHâ‚µ8.7 billion.
As a demonstration of the governmentâ€™s difficulties in meeting its expenditure, theÂ
case of the Ashaiman roads presents an interesting case study.
This is a road that has witnessed a lot of rhetoric but little action.Â
The people of Ashaiman have regularly been promised that the road would be done.
The then Minister of Roads and Highways, Joseph Kingsford Gidisu and the MP forÂ
Ashaiman, Alfred Kwame Agbesia had jointly mounted the platform more than onceÂ
to assure the people that the road would be fixed before last December.
Indeed, last July, Mr Gidisu terminated the contract of Lomex Construction, theÂ
contractor who was working on the road.Mr Gidisu based his termination of the Lomex contract on what he described asÂ
â€œineffectiveness and non-performanceâ€ on the part of Lomex.
A new company, Legna Construction Limited, was then contracted to construct theÂ
5.7-kilometre Ashaiman Timber Market Roundabout-Adjei-Kojo underpass dualÂ
However, by October last year Legna Engineering was already demanding arrearsÂ
for work it had earlier done in Tema.Read Full Story