•His State of the Nation address exposes Kyeremanten to fellow aspirants` carping People should be judged by their performance, not by their cash else NDC will capitalise on it`
THE MINISTER responsible for President's Special Initiative (PSI), Mr. Alan Kyeremanten, appears to have been disabled by the gentle, but very embarrassing admission from President John Agyekum Kufuor, when the President told the nation that the PSI had failed.
Even before the President went public about the PSI challenges, the issue of the competence of 49-year old Allan had been a subject of widespread speculation as most people concluded that Mr. J. H. Mensah had him in mind when he set his famous Koforidua benchmark, during which he 'shot' those who thought the presidential race was a beauty contest.
Now a presidential aspirant has wondered aloud to The Chronicle how somebody, who was not able to handle a very important programme set by the State could lead the nation as a whole, when voted as a Presidential candidate of the party.
Early this month, the President in the State of the Nation address presented in Parliament, spelt out certain failures in the Ministry of Trade, Industry & PSI, attributing the failures to lack of commitment from personnel and poor supplies of raw materials.
One of the presidential aspirants (name withheld) in an interview with The Chronicle noted that as a Minister responsible for a particular sector, if there was credit or failure, the Minister in charge must be prepared to take the responsibility and no one else.
He went ahead to state his position that issues of failure and performance and others would be used to assess and determine whether the presidential candidate to be elected by the party could lead the nation or not.
He therefore implored delegates of the ruling NPP that they should not make the mistake of voting for people who could not manage their respective Ministries well, to lead the party because the opposition parties would definitely use that as yardstick to campaign against them as a party.
“Let's elect someone whose record is clean, in terms of the execution of the job assigned to him as a sector Minister and if we do that victory would be ours come 2008”, he said.
Although Mr. Alan Kyeremanten spends extravagantly on his campaign, giving fat envelopes, buying bicycles, motor bikes and other expensive materials for distribution to delegates, he urged the delegates not to consider these material things but rather consider the party and the nation first.
In President Kufuor's State of the Nation address, according to the aspirant, what the President was telling Mr. Kyeremanten, now nicknamed Alan Cash, because of his big spending status, is that he should go back and put his Ministry in order before thinking of becoming the President of this nation.
The President told the nation on February 8, that the PSI had encountered difficult teething problems, despite the great enthusiasm on the part of the government and participating farmers.
According to President Kufuor, the Ayensu Starch Factory at Bawjiase in the Central Region for instance, had faced some problems in the area of supplies of raw materials and uncommitted personnel.
The President however disclosed that his government had instructed a review of the processes at the factory, saying he was expecting that by April this year, the factory would resume work.
The President did not also hide his dissatisfaction on the failure of PSI for oil palm, revealing that 50,000 acres of nurseries had eventually collapsed as a result of poor working capital.
Again, the President told Parliament that he had instructed a thorough review of the problem, so that the targeted 500,000 acres could be reached.
Prior to this the Ghana News Agency reported disturbing developments in a key component of the PSI; oil palm seedlings for the oil palm industry.
On Thursday November 2, GNA reported that about 70,000 matured oil palm seedlings nursed at Akotogua near Baifikrom Water Head in the Central Region under the PSI on Oil Palm is not receiving the required patronage, even under very favourable terms of payment.
Mr John Baah Seesi, Nursery Operator of the Mfantseman Oil Palm Plantation Limited (MOPP), said in an interview at Mankessim that the company had nursed 100,000 seedlings under the PSI to be supplied to prospective farmers on hire-purchase. Mr Seesi said even though the farmers were made to understand that they would pay for the seedlings after five years, when they would have started bearing fruits, the patronage was disappointing.
According to him the farmers demanded that the seedlings be delivered to them on their farms, but because MOPP had no vehicles for the conveyance, it could not do so until the Mfantseman District Assembly released a tractor to the company for the purpose.
He said the farmers were made to fuel the tractor in conveying the seedlings to their farms.
“I therefore see no reason why the farmers are not interested in clearing the stock”, he lamented.
When the GNA contacted Mr Vincent Biney Amissah, an oil palm farmer, he cited the high cost of fuelling the tractor, the unavailability of wire-nets to protect the seedlings from being destroyed by rodents and the high cost of preparing the lands as setbacks for the promotion of the PSI on oil palm in the area.
Mr Amissah, who is also a private businessman, said farmers had to go to the Oil Palm Research Institute at Kade to procure the wire-nets.
He appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to send some of the wire-nets to the district directorates of agriculture to ensure that the farmers had easy access to them.
Ironically, Mr. Kyeremanten was able to mobilize transportation for two delegates each from the 230 constituencies across the country to cheer him up and supply them with custom-made T shirts emblazoned with his name and photograph for the two day delegates conference at Koforidua last month.
They were also fed and entertained by him.