Oh what a wonderful world!

john-mahamaI disagree with anyone who says that Ghanaians should not rejoice over the massive infrastructure development currently going on in this country. Those whose loved ones died when they were rushed to hospitals and were turned away because there were no beds, I’m pretty sure will be happy when more hospitals are built and more beds are added.

I want to share my experience. In 2006, I missed the euphoria of the World Cup in Germany; my father was diagnosed of prostrate cancer and his condition was hopelessly serious. He urinated blood instead of urine, this required transfusion of blood most often. One day his condition became very bad and I rushed him to the Korlebu Teaching Hospital in a taxi only to be turned away because there were no beds. Life was draining out of my father, and with his eyes almost shut, he whispered to me: “Kofi, I’m dying.” I love him so much I couldn’t afford to see him die. I threw myself on the ground pleading for him to be admitted, but the nurses told me they can’t do anything about the situation.

In the course of pleading, two of the patients who have also been refused admission passed away, and I realised how critical the situation has become. I stopped pleading and rushed my father to Nyaho Clinic even though I was not in a position to afford such a facility. The management of the clinic was magnanimous enough to take whatever money I had on me and started treatment while I went looking for more money. Miraculously, my father survived and by the grace of God he is still alive. So, for people like me, building more hospitals would forever be appreciated. And I’m not alone in my believe that infrastructure is the most essential thing a country needs.

African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that deficient infrastructure reduces Sub-Saharan Africa’s output by about 40 percent, and believes that, to attain middle-income levels, Africa must double its investment in infrastructure. African nations at present invest about 2-3 percent of GDP in infrastructure. By contrast, China invests about 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure projects. According to Stephen Hayes, infrastructure is probably the single most important need for Africa to develop. Stephen is the president of the Corporate Council on Africa, a group that promotes US-Africa ties.

In line with this, President John Dramani Mahama is on the cusp of leaving indelible prints in the sands of time; he is on the threshold of breaking Nkrumah’s record on infrastructure development in Ghana. And I will prove it as captured by the “Accounting to the People” book and more.

Significant progress has been made in the area of education since the coming into office of the NDC Government. And access to education at all levels has increased considerably.

The total number of of educational institutions at all levels has risen sharply from 45,447 in 2008/09 academic year to 57,270 in the 2014/15 academic year, representing an increase of 11,823 or 26%.

The ongoing construction of 123 Community Day Senior High Schools across the country will provide space for the admission of about 400,000 additional students who would have been out of school.

In the Health Sector, Government has pumped billions of Ghana Cedis into the provisions of modern hospitals and the upgrading of facilities for speedy and quality healthcare delivery. There are currently several major hospital projects under construction, which when completed will deliver about 6,000 new hospital beds to facilitate access to improve healthcare.

In line with government’s determination to develop sports infrastructure, the 15,000 capacity Cape Coast Stadium is almost complete. The stadium has two outdoor basketball courts, one handball court, a boxing training court, audience emergency rooms, 22 guest rooms, four athletic lounges among others.

An aggressive affordable housing programme has been rolled out to provide more Ghanaian families in the lower to middle income bracket with decent homes. They are: Saglemi Affordable Housing Project, Police Housing Project, Security Agencies Housing Project, Phase 1 at Tema, Keta Sea Defence Resettlement Housing Scheme, Tema Community 1 Housing Project, New Labadi Villas Housing Project, Adenta Regeneration Project (SHC Gardens).

Over US$1 billion worth of investment has been made in the last five years. 77.5 million gallons of water per day by the end of 2016 would be achieved. This will give water to about 7 million Ghanaians.

Dumsor was experienced because governments in the past years managed energy crisis without looking at the issue of increasing generation capacity. President Mahama’s Government as promised have fixed the problem by increasing generation capacity which will prevent major energy crisis in this country for many years to come. As I write, 1025MW of power has been added to the National Grid. They are as follows:

110 MW T2 Power Plant at Aboadze
250MW AMERI Power Plant
225MW Karpower Barge
220MW Kpone Thermal Power Plant
180MW Sunon Asogli Phase II
38MW TTP Plant
2MW Solar Power Plant at Navrongo

Additional work will soon begin on: 110MW TEI Plant and 186 T4 Power Plant at Aboadze.

Aside this feat, electricity supply has been extended to 2,861 communities in the last three years under the Energy for All Programme.

Ghana has a total motorable road network of 71,063, and one of the key planks of President Mahama’s transformational agenda is to expand and modernize the road network to open up the country in order to reduce road traffic accidents and congestion, boost economic activities and move goods and services freely.

Matchless investments have been made in road projects across the country in the last few years. The five-year, GHC3 billion Cocoa Roads Improvement Programme (CRIP) has commenced with ongoing construction of several roads in cocoa-growing areas.

Other projects are: the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, Aworshie-Pokuase Road, American House to Ashaley Botchway Road, GIFFARD Road (37 Roundabout to Labadi Junction), Burma Camp Road, Phase 1, Burma Camp Road, Phase 2, Spintex Road Bypass, near KIA, Agona Junction to Elubo, Asuboi Road, Enchi- Asankragua Road, Battor-Dove-Sogakope Road, Suhum Apedwa Road, Juaboso- Bodi Road, Yendi-Gushegu, the Eastern Corridor Road, Sawla-Fufulso Road, continuation of the Sofoline Interchange in Kumasi, massive rehabilitation work on Adomi Bridge, and many more.

Many far reaching interventions have been initiated to further develop the sector. These include: National Data Centre, Business Process Outsourcing Centre, Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic, e-Transform Ghana Project, Enhanced Community Information Centres, e-Government Project, Just to mention a few.

President Mahama since assuming office as president has intensified efforts towards positioning the country’s security agencies to adequately respond to contemporary security challenges. This has been done through the biggest retooling of the security agencies in recent Ghanaian history.

Police: numerical strength has improved from 23,204 in 2012 to 32,117 in 2014, resulting in a current Police-Population Ratio (PPR) of 1:724 as against 1:1,000 in 2010. This has brought Ghana closer to the United Nations benchmark of 1:500 (PPR). This has led to an increase in Police visibility and accessibility which is key in crime detection, prevention and control. Available statistics show that crime rate has dropped by over 5,000 between 2013 and 2014. A total of 1,424 vehicles have been procured for the Ghana Police by Government in the last five years.

Fire Service: The Ghana National Fire Service took delivery of 126 new firefighting vehicles in 2012. In 2014, an additional 80 fire tenders were procured bringing to 206 the number of new fire firefighting vehicles procured by Government. This represents a vast improvement over the 95 firefighting vehicles that were procured for them between 2001 and 2008, a situation that adversely affected their ability to effectively respond to fire outbreaks in the country.

Ghana Armed Forces: The Army, Navy and Airforce have all benefitted from a comprehensive retooling programme. This includes modern aircrafts and military equipment. Besides, Government is finalising arrangements to procure additional modern ships for the Navy.

Ghana Immigration Service (GIS): The operations of the Border Patrol Unit (BPU) of GIS have been enhanced by the installation of border surveillance systems at 15 out of 17 strategically selected border control points throughout the country. Also, an e-Immigration project is being implemented to enhance the work of the Ghana Immigration Service also to reduce processing time for persons travelling through our ports of entry. Furthermore, the Immigration Service Bill is before Parliament.

Expansion of Tema Port, expansion of Takoradi Port, expansion of Tamale and Kumasi Airports, Atuabo Gas plant, exploration of major oil blocs, namely: Ten, Gye Nyame, and the Volta Basin, construction of brand new Atuabo Free Port, Rehabilitation of Komenda Sugar Factory, construction of Elmina Fish Processing Factory, CIMAF Cement Factory, GIHOC Shoe factory in Kumasi, just to mention a few.

I want to ask a question: is it fair to tag someone who has done all these within an unbelievably short period of time incompetent? Can we look into the eyes of God and give an affirmative answer? Is this the kind of human beings politics has turned us into?

I see what has been done by President Mahama as the key steps a country needs to kickstart a major economic breakthrough, and I can see prosperity and comfort ahead in the coming years. Please enjoy my rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see a land of peace and prosperity too
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The flag of Ghana is flying high in the sky
I see the faces of people with smiles
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
But they’re really saying I love you.

I hear the laughter of children, and I watched them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Folks, let’s appreciate the good things people do, let’s learn to show gratitude, ingratitude is the worst of vices; it is a kind of weakness and the clever and the strong are never ungrateful. Our love for the young man from Bole must be unrequited. Let’s encourage him to do more. Posterity will never forgive us if we let him slip through our fingers.


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