A ruling political party or government cannot create a winning formula on the back of a bad infrastructural development policy. If anything, the much-vaunted road construction policy undertaken by Ernest Koroma, which you have dramatized in an earlier post, to the extent of attempting to force it down our throats, has proven to be of little or no economic value to Sierra Leone.
Did the APC government create jobs for Sierra Leoneans through its infrastructural development policy? What has been the growth rate of the economy under EBK? Have the gains of growth filtered down to the masses of our people in the form of improved standards of living?
Public infrastructure investment in the form of spending on roads, bridges and other related projects can be an anti-recessionary tool of fiscal policy if properly undertaken. When the economy is performing poorly, greater infrastructural spending even at the risk of ballooning the national deficit can be a form of economic stimulus.
The foregoing argument is underscored in Keynesian economics where it is assumed that an underproductive economy can be stimulated back to full output through public expenditures to boost aggregate demand. Unemployed folks can be given public infrastructure jobs from which they will be paid wages. These workers will in turn spend their incomes on consumption goods thereby increasing consumer spending which in turn promotes economic growth. Accordingly, Keynesians believe that stimulus spending has zero opportunity costs if deficit spending occurs during periods of high unemployment.
There is ample evidence that since Koroma’s infrastructure development policy has been mired in corruption, it has had little or no trickle-down effect on the economy. In fact, the fundamentals of the economy have worsened under APC rule. Studies have shown that the rate of unemployment has climbed to a staggering 70% while the rate of inflation has remained in double digits. Although there has been modest growth, Sierra Leoneans have not benefitted from it since corruption runs rife in all the institutions of the country. For growth to benefit a citizenry, there must be institutional reform, which unfortunately has been missing in Koroma’s ultra-corrupt administration.
Let us move from the realm of economics to the area of politics and governance. I do not believe that any serious argument can be made for a political party or government to retain power if that argument is devoid of a serious consideration of the role of the tenets of good governance. How have the rule of law, transparency, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability and political participation fared under APC rule?
Can we in all seriousness think that a president that bastardizes his country’s constitution while firing his vice president and cracking down on the citizenry with an iron fist is a respecter of the rule of law? Moreover, is a president that undermines his country’s legal frameworks for the sole purpose of having justice dispensed in ways that benefit only the ruling party fit to govern?
Additionally, is the Koroma government by any stretch of the imagination transparent? Is the government inclusive? Has Koroma ever encouraged mass political participation in Sierra Leone or has the APC government only being the domain of competing corrupt elites? Lastly, has there been accountability under Koroma? What happened to the Ebola funds?
When the impoverished masses of Sierra Leone go to the polls in March 2018, the choice will be very clear. Would Sierra Leoneans want to prolong their suffering under the ultra-perfidious and unethical APC government or would they vote for the dawn of a new era that would uphold constitutional rule and promote economic progress in Sierra Leone?