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16.01.2007 Africa

CPP says gov’t must distribute the wealth

By DAILYEXPRESS-Orlando Afedo
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The UK & Ireland branch of the Convention Peoples' Party (CPP) has issued a statement from its London base accusing the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration insensitivity and failure to provide Ghanaians with the basic needs of life.

Among many others, the party says the NPP just like the National Democratic Congress government of Jerry Rawlings, has since coming into office in 2001 “promoted a style of economic development policies which has often been insensitive to the basic needs of ordinary Ghanaians.”
“Indeed, since 2001, the NPP's economic focus is on wealth production than wealth distribution, production for export than for the needs of local population, extraction of natural resources rather than environmental protection, and trade liberalization which is 'killing' local industries” the statement said.

In a swift reaction however, Minister for Information and National Orientation Kwamena Bartels told the dailyEXPRESS that there is nothing to distribute.

“How can you distribute wealth when you have nothing to distribute? Tell me, if you don't have money, can you give out money? You must first create the wealth before you think of distributing it. And that is what government has been doing.”
The CPP-UK statement signed by Branch Chairman R. N. A. Akrofah also faulted government's commitment to providing basic necessities like water and electricity to the ordinary people while government ministers and functionaries live in total comfort at the expense of the taxpayers.

“They are failing to deliver even on the basics of our population. The government continues to fail the country on the basics of electricity and water at this very moment- the country is plunged into darkness every five days with power cuts, and water taps run dry for days on end without explanation, whilst tankers continue to deliver water to Ministers.”
The CPP further charged that this government and others before it have been pursuing policies which serve the rich elite at the expense of the poor, effectively neglecting the economically disconnected and those living in remote areas.

According to the CPP UK branch, these types of policies must stop.
But Mr. Bartels says he has not heard of a tanker service supplying ministers of state at government expense.
“Which minister are they talking about? They should name the minister. I live in Cantonments and anytime I don't have water, I buy and pay for it from private tanker operators. And I can tell you no minister is receiving water for free,” Mr. Bartels said.
Also reacting to the CPP statement, deputy Information Minister Oboshie Sai- Cofie expressed surprise, arguing that the NPP administration's economic policies have all been targeted at making life better for the ordinary Ghanaian.

“All the policies of this government are targeted at making the lives of the people better. The National Health Insurance Scheme is certainly not for the rich but to make health care affordable for the less privileged. The district-based National Youth Employment Programme which is giving jobs to unemployed youth in all districts; the Millennium Challenge Programme and the School feeding programme are all aiming at making life better for all. So I don't really know what they are talking about.”
Mrs. Sai-Cofie told the dailyEXPRESS that a number of countries are having problems with their population growth rate and since Ghana does not have any strict measures on birth control, any government will have problems with the provision of basic services as a result of the population pressure.
The CPP-UK which has a long standing record of periodic comments and statements on pertinent national issues thinks, 2007 which is a Golden Jubilee year offers the country a good platform “for that sober reflection on where we have come from and where we are going.”

It asked the government to lead the country in “the exercise of reflection, beginning with a thorough consideration on government policies- are the policies and actions of the Executive meeting the needs of the populace?, and when realistically will the noble ideals envisaged at the beginning of our birth as a nation be realized in our beloved country Ghana?”

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