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The Director of Communications at the presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, has said Ghanaians would not have given President Nana Akufo-Addo a second-term mandate if his commitment to protect the public purse were an “illusion” as suggested by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference recently.
Its president, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, at this year’s plenary assembly of the association in Wa, capital of the Upper West Region, said: “Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power”.
“The expressed commitment of the president of the republic to protect the public purse – a promise that citizens welcomed – seems to be an illusion now”, Most Rev. Philip Naameh noted.
He wondered: “Are those managing the public purse not concerned about [the] waste and misapplication of resources that belong to all Ghanaians?”
“Can this be referred to as irresponsible use of power or the lack of compassion and empathy?” he asked.
The cleric said “those who are entrusted with power that comes from our collective will must know that what they do with that, shapes what we all will become in the future”.
Addressing that issue at a press briefing, Mr Arhin said: “Of particular interest to us at the presidency are the comments made by the respected Catholic bishop to the effect that: ‘The expressed commitment of the president of the republic to protect the public purse, a promise that citizens welcomed, seems to be an illusion now’”.
He noted that: “Inasmuch as this administration is extremely tolerant of divergent views and welcomes criticisms of its work, we believe that these criticisms should be well-founded and well-grounded in fact, as this is the only way an honest conversation devoid of malice and propaganda, can be held”.
He said: “We all recollect that the president took the oath of office on the 7th of January 2017 and, again on the 7th of January 2021 and on both occasions, he pledged to protect the public purse and that is exactly what he has done and continues to do”.
“Indeed, the transformation that has taken place in all aspects of national life point to an economy that has been well-managed, a public purse that is being well-protected and the benefits are showing”, he contended.
“Indeed, if President Akufo-Addo had superintended the wanton dissipation of public funds, firstly the Ghanaian people will not have reposed their confidence in him barely 10 months ago by returning a decisive margin of victory for him in the 2020 elections”, he argued.
He said: “Now, free SHS, which guarantees a minimum of senior high school education for all Ghanaian children has already granted access to some more than 400,000 children. It would not have been possible if the public purse was not being protected”.
Currently, he added, “the government is engaged in paying up the energy legacy debts inherited from the Mahama government and we have cleared the GHS1.2billion cedi NHIS debt we inherited”.
“All of these, again, could not have been inherited by a government that has lost touch with the problems of Ghanaians or by one that is presiding over the reckless dissipation of the public purse”, he stressed.