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22.01.2007 General News

Coffers Were Not Empty — Asiedu Nketiah

By Daily Graphic
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The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, has observed that moneys the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has taken in the name of the country is more than the total all other governments have taken in the history of this country, yet, there is very little to show for it.

This observation by Mr Asiedu Nketiah was in reaction to an answer President J. A. Kufuor gave to a question put to him at the People's Assembly forum in Sunyani, which sought to depict the country's coffers as empty at the time the NPP took over the reins of government from the NDC in 2001.

In an interview with The Mirror in his office in Accra, the NDC scribe said he thought that either the President was not abreast of the budgetary processes and how government was run or was just being mischievous.

“Because it would be unfortunate if a President of a republic would perceive a nation's coffers to be a big purse or safe where resources are dumped and into which each time succeeding governments would dip their hands to undertake development projects,” he said.

He said development projects during a particular year were planned for that year and moneys required raised during that same year to finance those plans. And that is why a budget was submitted to Parliament for approval.

“Else, where would the government take the money from and how would it spend the money?” he wondered.

Mr Asiedu Nketiah said the NPP government inherited an awful lot of money from the NDC, among which were the GETfund, the Road Fund and the Value Added Tax (VAT).

In addition, he said, the government had other sources of funds, including grants from the international community and the debt reliefs granted the country.

“In effect, what the people were asking for from the NPP government was for them to account for how all these moneys have been applied,” he said.

He said the debt reliefs alone that had come to the government put together were more than all the monies that all previous governments had received over the 44 years after independence immediately after which the NPP assumed the reins of government of this nation.

Asked why there was no official representation of the NDC at the People's Assembly in Sunyani, Mr Asiedu Nketiah said the party did not receive any invitation. In any case, he added, the People's Assembly forum had always been violent and so the NDC decided to stay away from it.

He said there was one instance in Tamale three years ago, at which NDC supporters were beaten and no action had been taken to date to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Even at Sunyani, people who asked unpleasant questions were considered as NDC activists and were beaten up,” he said.

Story By Jojo Sam

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