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07.10.2008 NDC News

NDC manifesto timid, regressive

By The Statesman

The NDC's economic policies unveiled at the party's manifesto launch on Saturday are both unambitious and inaccurate, the NPP said yesterday, and would fail to improve the lives of ordinary Ghanaians, instead taking our economy and development backwards. Simply put, the NDC Manifesto is "timid."

The Government Spokesperson for Finance and Economy, Kwaku Kwarteng, revealed this after close examinations of the NDC manifesto exposed numerous factual errors, indicative of the weak policy formulation and planning which characterises the NDC's supposed blue print for government.

Mr Kwarteng also alerted Ghanaians to the fact that by the NDC's own predictions under their leadership the economy would grow at a far slower pace in the next 12 years - demonstrating the weakness of their economic proposals.

The NDC's won document states that under their stewardship Ghana would only achieve middle income status (meaning GDP per capita of US$1000) by 2020, whilst the NPP's plans, building on the growth rates achieved since 2000, would deliver middle income status by 2012.

Thus, if Ghanaians elect an NDC government they will have to wait at least eight years longer for the country to achieve middle income status - if the NDC's own figures are to be believed.

Their manifesto's lack of foresight, vision and ambition for the Ghanaian economy reveals the NDC's underlying lack of confidence in the Ghanaian as the driver of our development and future prosperity. Rather than empowering and equipping the Ghanaian people, industries and business to move us forward, the NDC's economic policy would therefore take us backward.

The lack of faith that the NDC has in Ghana and Ghanaians should thus caution us against putting our faith in them come the December elections. This is borne out by their record in power.

Mr Kwarteng pointed out that for the 19 years that the P(NDC) was in office the Ghanaian economy could only expand from under US$2 billion to under US$4 billion. 'But, since 2000 the Ghanaian economy has grown from US$3.9 billion to US$16.5 billion today.'

He thus challenged Ghanaians: 'If both NPP and NDC are promising today to better the education and health of Ghanaians and bring prosperity to all, the least we can do is check their records in these areas.'

In his view, 'the evidence is very clear as to which of the two parties can be trusted to spread prosperity, access to education and health faster and better to the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians. The NDC is painfully aware of this, which explains why they have a very timid expectation of the growth of the Ghanaian economy, which in turn determines how fast and deep the promise of prosperity for all can be realised.'

Mr Kwarteng, quoting from the latest figures released by Renaissance Capital and sourced from IMF, World Bank and the Bank of Ghana, among others, reports that Ghana's GDP per capita income was US$ 270 in 2000. It had more than doubled to US$677 by the close of 2007. 'It is estimated to end this year at $747, representing close to a three-fold increase in the growth of the country's per capita income.'

On the basis of close analysis, Kwaku Kwarteng explained that 'the NDC manifesto fails to indicate the specific economic policy measures based on which they intend to reduce poverty and improve standards of living. It is a very timid manifesto. This is the most obvious and serious weakness of the NDC manifesto.'

The manifesto also revealed the lack of foundation to the NDC's bland proposals, containing no costing of the initiatives which they allege will improve the economy.

Mr Kwarteng therefore called on the NDC to 'cost the initiatives… and demonstrate how they intend to raise the needed resources. That way, they would make it possible for Ghanaians to properly assess their manifesto.'

To name just a few examples of the inaccuracies and errors which pepper the document:

1. The use of a figure of 5.8% economic growth rate for 2007 instead of the actual figure of 6.35 as recorded in the 2008 Budget Statement and approved by the NDC Members of Parliament.

2.The inexplicable, unjustified and utterly mystifying use of a figure of ¢91 trillion for current national debt, whilst the real figure for total national debt as confirmed by the Bank of Ghana was approximately GH¢7.8 billion at the close of June 2008, representing 48.7% of GDP, a massive improvements on the 189% of GDP inherited in January 2001, and a figure close to the OECD average.

3.Reference on page 45 of the NDC manifesto to 'the National Revenue Authority' - when no such body exists, reflecting a critical lack of understanding of our economic institutions.

Issued by the Communications Directorate of the NPP

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