01.01.2004 Feature Article

Things that Put a Smile on My Face (II)

Things that Put a Smile on My Face II
01.01.2004 LISTEN

As I reach for my keyboard to write this piece, I feel rather hopeful about our country. I am hopeful about its future. Democracy is thriving. There is peaceful co-existence among the various people who dot the country’s landscape. The Dagbon crisis is an exception rather than the norm. Sooner or later, the Dagbanis will have to come to terms with the simple truth that they cannot continue to scapegoat the government for what is an ancient feud between members of the same family. The Dagbanis should carry their own cross. If they fail to do so, they would be left behind the rest of the country. This is the 21st century for Christ sake!

Internal security is holding. In a normal country, this would not even be worth mentioning. But in our part of the world, a government cannot take internal/national security for granted. There are dark forces lurching and ready to pounce on any security lapses. Thankfully, the Kufour administration has been on its guard since assuming the reigns of government. They have not been naïve about national security. More significantly, they have, within the limits of resource constraints, worked hard to improve conditions of service for the security agencies through the provision of equipment and other resources.

The Government continues to uphold the tenets of the rule of law. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are duly respected. There is not a single Ghanaian who has had his fundamental rights needlessly violated. Opposition groups and not so friendly social commentators tried to capitalise on the unfortunate incident involving an apprentice mechanic who had been arrested by overzealous security officers for insulting the president. To its credit, the Kufour administration moved quickly to have him released and to have criminal charges against him dropped.

Therefore, it was utterly amazing that leaders of a prominent opposition party sought audience with their political colleagues in Abuja, Nigeria purportedly to complain about human rights abuses under the current stewardship of the Kufour presidency. How sad. When political opponents will not stop at anything to make their country look bad in the eyes of the international public opinion, one should be suspicious of the underlying motif. Are such individuals so desperate to come to power to extent of rubbishing their own country? I invite you to ponder over this.

Despite the message of gloom and doom that some social commentators and the opponents of the government continue to dish out, we see a glimmer of hope for our country. In the face of tough fiscal and economic management challenges, the government continues to keep faith with the people. This is exemplified by a number of development projects sponsored by the Kufour administration.

There are a number of significant achievements that deserve highlighting.

The successful enactment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should be applauded. Once it is fully implemented, it should go a long way in meeting two of the seven-millennium development goals of improving the health of children and women. The NHIS should enable Ghana to reduce by half child mortality and maternal death by 2015.

The restructuring of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the decision by the Kufour administration to deregulate the petroleum sector should go a long way in improving the performance of the sector. Now petroleum-distributing companies will, under the new policy, be allowed to import oil and make it available to their various franchises. This is a huge step forward.

On another front, we urge the Kufour administration to move quickly to restructure Ghana Airways and put it on a sound financial footing. In a statement released to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) this week, the Minister of Transport, Dr. Richard Anane, intimated that the government is studying a number of offers/proposals to streamline the operations of Ghana Airways. The problem of the national carrier has been festering for far too long. We, therefore, urge the government to move decisively on the issue.

We applaud the government for continuing to improve the road network in our country. In particular we are exceedingly pleased that the much talked about Mallam – Kasoa- Winneba – Yamoransa road is finally under construction. You would recall that some prominent opposition leaders ridiculed the Kufour administration for losing funding for the project as a result of declaring Ghana as a highly indebted poor country (HIPC). In the end, the government has had a last laugh as the Japanese converted a US$80 million loan into a grant. The much-improved design of this road should go a long way in improving economic activity in the central and western regions. Trade with neighbouring countries should also improve.

On Monday, December 29th, President Kufour cut the sod for the construction into a dual carriage the 17.6 kilometre Ofankor – Nsawam road, which is part of the Accra – Kumasi highway. The determination of the government to improve this important road network should facilitate the movement of goods and services between the two most important cities in our country.

Finally, the proposed introduction of a National Ambulance Service in January 2004 must be commended. It should contribute to the reduction of fatalities on our roads. Initially, the service will start in Accra and Kumasi. And it will gradually be extended to other parts of the country.

Yes progress is being made. Only cynics will say otherwise! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.