Try as I have to keep mute on the misleading "I also said some" comments by the thrice- defeated flagbearer of the NDC on the 2008 budget, I am nonetheless compelled to state my opinion on it.
Among the comments made on the budget was the fact that no NPP budget should be taken seriously because they are a recycling of old, unfulfilled promises. He further contends that jobs cannot be found, and also that major downturns have been recorded in the majority of sectors of the economy.
Characteristically however, Prof Mills refuses to give credit to the government for the creation of the Northern Development Fund. He postulates that it was a prompting from the APRM and the Catholic Archdiocese of Tamale. Even in that, he is of the view that any serious attempt at helping the three Northern Regions could have been adequately accommodated in the allocation of funds under the MCA. He concludes on the issue by describing the allocation as paltry and an affront to the people of the three Northern Regions in the light of the amount that was expended on the Peduase Lodge and the Presidential Palace.
Oh Egya Atta!! Is that all you could offer? And then you go ahead to state that the NDC will respond to the detail of the budget statement in due course? Why couldn't you wait study the document a little before commenting on it? Or were you pushed to the wall by the controlling powers to just chip in a word, to indicate that you are still around? In any case, what else do you have to say?
Mr. Aspiring President, in your politically-motivated response regarding petroleum products, why did you fail to take cognizance of the world crude oil price which was $ 35.00 in 2000 when you were leaving office, and which is now hovering around $ 98.00 - $100 a barrel?
In all honesty, I find the Prof.'s statement as hollow and merit. In this maturing democracy of ours, I was expecting the Prof. and his NDC to have come up with an alternative budget as the NPP did whilst in opposition. An indication of what they would have done differently if they had the chance would have been a good sign of a responsible opposition. The Prof and his cohorts should hearken unto my advice and provide us with an alternative budget, fro the sake of constructive criticism – if for nothing else.
Why was the learned Professor so disingenuous in quoting the allocation into the Northern Development Fund in the new Ghana cedis, and that of the cost of the Peduase Lodge and the Presidential Palace in the old denomination? What mischief did he seek to play with this, and what was the expected impact or effect? In any case, who is responsible for the current dilapidated state of the Peduase Lodge and the Flagstaff House, necessitating the refurbishments? If he and his party and its founder had had a little appreciation of the culture of maintenance this expenditure would have been uncalled for.
And did I read right that the Prof is ridiculing the seed money for the Northern Development Fund. As learned as the Prof. is, I thought he would have known that seed money is only a start-up capital, with the intention of adding more it. For your information, Prof., the beneficiaries of the facility have welcomed the intervention. In a statement released by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA) last Friday, they commended the government for coming up with a policy in the 2008 budget to address regional inequalities. "The setting up of Northern Development Fund (NDF) to bridge the gap between the south and the north divide is good news to the people of northern extraction," a statement signed by Mr. Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, President of NORPRA said.
At least if Prof. Mills had such a similar foresight back in his days as the Vice President and as Head of the Economic Management Team, the imbalances in regional development would have been different. Or he and his party took the people of the north for granted that come what may, they would vote for them?
Will the Prof and his functionaries stop crying wolf even when there is none just so they could be heard to have also said some? At least if for nothing at all, Ghanaians are content with the current air press freedom, and prudent and people centred policies like the NYEP, NHIS, Capitation Grant, School Feeding Programme, Free Bus Ride for school pupils and the aged that they are enjoying. They also happy to hear from the 2008 Budget of the fact that 60,000 new direct jobs would be created annually as a result of the construction of affordable houses, that the Tamale Water Expansion Project will be completed, that $622.0m loan has been secured for the construction of the Bui Dam, among other interventions.
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