CPP RETURNS TO “GREEN BOOK” ISSUES ...NOT SOCIAL INTERVENTION THAT WE NEED BUT SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
5/7/2012 1:50:43 PM -
The Convention People's Party (CPP) has been commenting on the 'Green Book' since its publication by the NDC on various media platforms. We wish to consolidate our response for the benefit of all media houses.
OUR GENERAL OVERVIEW
The CPP's general view on the publication is that it is good for all governments to account to the people of Ghana, for their stewardship of the country.
We note however that the standard or benchmark on what constitutes 'Achievement' or 'Unprecedented Achievement' needs to be raised so that governance or the normal business of government in any country is not continually captured and circulated as achievement let alone unprecedented achievement. For as long as any government that emerges in Ghana collects taxes from the people of Ghana and contracts loans on their behalf it is only just to expect that they have basic obligations that they must fulfil. These basic obligations, many of which are functions of Local or District Authorities should never be viewed as achievements.
Thus 'tarring of roads', 'construction of bungalows', construction of 2 unit classroom blocks' etc cannot possibly be viewed as constituting achievement in any country.
We welcome the effort of any Government of Ghana in making provision for various sectors but wish to point out that, it is not Social Intervention that the country needs but Social Transformation.
Much of what is noted under various sectors does not touch on the fundamental or structural problems and needs of the sector.
COMMENT ON THE NDC'S FOUR THEMATIC AREAS
The NDC government's 'Better Ghana Agenda' hinges on the four thematic areas that the party presented in its 2008 Manifesto namely:
1. Strong Economy for Real Jobs
2. Investing in People
3. Expanding Infrastructure for Growth
4. Transparent and Accountable Governance
1.0 STRONG ECONOMY FOR REAL JOBS
The Green Book 'premise of achievement under this theme is largely based on Macroeconomic Indices. It may be recalled that the NPP government had similarly used Macroeconomic indicators
as proof of progress during its term of office and was continually condemned by the NDC as not
meaningful and not dealing with the reality of people's lives.
12 years on nothing has changed other than the colours of the party in government, singing from
the same hymn sheet of macroeconomic indices.
The CPP believes like many Ghanaians, that important as indicators are, progress must be measured against the reality of daily lives.
As a party we share in the views of the vast majority of our citizens that 'Hardship in our lives is not in single digits'
Prices in all areas of life have escalated in double digits, triple digits and in some instance more digits:
Kenkey Prices - 50 to 75%
Water prices - 100%
Utility Bills - 200%
Cement Prices - 55%
Toll Booth prices - 900 to 1000%.
Single digit inflation is not the measure of development in any country. Inflation in neighbouring Togo is currently 4.5%, and in Cote d' Voire is 5.2%.
GDP Growth, Interest Rates, Cedi Depreciation etc
Economic Growth must relate directly to the standards of living of people. .
These indices must reflect directly on the following areas:
Improved living standards of people.
Eliminating or reduction in poverty.
Improved supply of goods and services that Ghanaians need.
Prices of goods and services must not outstrip wages and salaries, and rents must be within the means of workers.
Education and Health must be affordable by all.
Population below the poverty line must improve below the current 30%
Unemployment rate is assessed at 11%
Graduate unemployment must improve beyond the current 50%
Formal sector employment must rise above the current 8% as opposed to 18% when the CPP was in government.
Ghana's Banking sector employs about 10,000 people in total.
Ghana's Health sector including Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, etc employs about 60,000 in total.
Thus when a government says it has created,1.74million jobs in three years it has to be viewed against some of the vibrant sectors of our economy.
The NDC government is saying that it has created more than 170times our Banking sector and
30times the size of our health sector.
We feel the presence of Bankers and Health workers in our lives every day. Whilst we can feel the presence of more uniformed men and women in our security services we certainly do not feel the presence of 1.47million new workers , the total of 820,000 noted as indirect jobs related to road and other projects, and 650,000 noted as Labour intensive Road Projects. These figures need further back-up and clarification.
Trade and Industry
We welcome increased investment in all areas but point out that whilst celebrating the construction of a new Palm Oil refinery in Tema. The huge investment of our Oil Refinery, TOR has been allowed to fall largely idle.
Manufacturing experienced growth of 1.7% against a targeted 7%
Our Balance of Trade deficit stands at GHc1,201million ($707 million).
An Industry Policy remains to be implemented. What Ghana needs is massive
Industrialization linked with our rural economic activities. .
Whilst welcoming the interventions on fertilizer subsidies and Agricultural Mechanization Services
Centres, as well as increased Cocoa production, we wish to point out that we still import
$400million worth of rice per year, and still import basics such as plantain and tomatoes.
As a coastal country we still import $200million worth of fish each year.
Sector growth was only 2.8% against a target of 5.3%.
2. INVESTING IN PEOPLE
It is worth repeating under this theme again that 'It is not social intervention that Ghana needs but
Social Transformation', and thus whilst welcoming interventions on free school uniforms and
Textbooks we wish to point out that overall the sector isn't working and the government needs to
focus on the fundamentals that make the educational system more effective and efficient. .
Currently an average of 50% of BECE students fail their exam!
Circa 500,000 children of school going age are not in school!
25% of existing schools are crumbling and need major repair!
43% of our schools are without water!
52% of our schools are without toilets!
Our schools are overcrowded, standards are falling and there is a shortage of trained teachers.
The 2011 UNICEF report notes that our schools are not child friendly and thus they need to
become more 'Healthier', 'Safer', 'More protecting'.
It is only when we have addressed these major challenges that we can be counted as having
improved the lot of Ghanaians in the area of education. .
'Social Transformation and not Social Intervention' - again because we welcome additional
maintenance at our hospitals, and the provision of new Clinics and the acquisition of new
ambulances. None can be viewed as unprecedented achievements however.
We would challenge the sections on the NHIS and Maternal Mortality and wonder why the book is
silent on Child Mortality.
The Unicef Report entitled 'Situation Analysis of Ghanaian Children and Women' Oct 2011, notes
that the scheme only covers 60% of Ghana's population, and that the scheme is not equitable to
the poor as only 29% of those in the lowest quintile of our society are insured with valid NHIS cards.
Maternal Mortality was 740/100,000 live births in 1990 , dropped to 244 per 100,000 per live births in 2004, and is now rising and currently stands at 350/100,000 live births. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of 185/100,000 by 2015 is unlikely to be met.
We would also challenge the stated numbers on life expectancy. In 1999, a new-born child in Ghana could expect to live to be 63.1 years, the Unicef report notes that figure has now fallen to less than 60 years as against the figure stated in Green Book of 64.2. It fails to state the reference year for the base year of 53years.
Infant mortality is still too high at 50/1000 and the MDG of 22/1000 by 2015 may also not be met.
The CPP wishes to remind Government that good health is primarily about the provision of;
Good Drinking Water
Good Nutrition and
The emphasis on the provision of medical care reveals a complete lack of understanding of health.
3. EXPANDING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GROWTH
Roads, Highways, Transport
The CPP does not view road tarring, road
reconstructions road reconfigurations Street lighting
etc as achievements of government but as basic functions
of government or more particularly local government.
An important point we would wish to make on road constructions is that safety concerns for
Ghanaians during construction has been lacking on virtually all projects - from Spintex Road to the
Accra - Kumasi after Nsawam.
Our public Transport system needs to be more integrated.
The quality of services from the huge investments in infrastructure leaves very little to be desired. E.g. although the quality of roads has generally improved over the years the time travel has either increased or remain unchanged. The CPP believes Government needs to begin to focus more on improving the quality of services required from this investment.
Energy, Water, SADA
On Energy the CPP approach is to assess long term need of the country and to plan to meet that need effectively. That is why the CPP had planned to build the Bui Dam after Akosombo followed by Kpong and other smaller schemes.
Today there is seemingly no planning; both the NPP and NDC have waited till the country is plunged into darkness before using the excuse of 'obsolete equipment replacement'.
Energy is not simply the addition of wattage but the efficiency and basic functioning of the system. The perennial problems of power termination are a major problem and concern of Ghanaians.
On Water the problem is similar to energy - shortage and disruption to the service. The yellow gallons have become all too familiar in many areas and are an indicator of the failure in the water sector by government.
On SADA, THE Authority needs to fulfil some of its remit before we can begin to assess and agree if it has achieved anything for government to take credit for. Government had initialled promised seed money of $200million; it has since grudgingly made available GHC30million then GHC100 with promises of more. It had also announced that future SADA funding will be subjected to a Donor Conference.The CPP is concerned about the conditionalities that this may bring.
4. TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE
Its difficult to understand why re-equipping The Police, The Military, Immigration and Prison Service is classified under this theme.
Enhancement of our security services is welcomed but again does this qualify to be classed as 'Unprecedented Achievement'.
The Woyome Scandal and issues arising from the 'cocaine to soda' and other incidents of reported corruption - e.g. the acquisition of an alleged new NDC National Head office building, and the whole issue of Judgement debt does not point to accountable governance or a serious attempt at fighting corruption.
It may be recalled that the CPP has called for an investigation into 'Judgement Debts' during the 4th Republic. A request that the Government has not yet responded to.
Nii Armah Akomfrah
Director of Communication