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24.03.2009 NDC News

Toku makes recommendations to NDC…Provides workable models to arrest poverty

By Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle

DR. ANTHONY Kwabena Toku, Founder and Chairman of the Traditional Congress Party (TCP), a USA-based Ghanaian political organization, has suggested a number of models for the Atta Mills- led government to jump start the economy and steer the country out of poverty.

In a statement sited by this reporter, he suggested that the NDC government must organize itself to embrace the massive task of putting people at work and to overcome the nation's economic woes with our limited natural resources as Japan, Brazil and Mexico once did.

According to him, economic development requires well trained labour and capital, which comes from two major sources, namely foreign and domestic, and has therefore urged the new NDC administration to take up the challenge and create huge domestic capital in order to reduce dependence on foreign capital.

Domestic savings and creation of domestic capital from the exploitation of gold, bauxite, diamonds, cocoa, timber and lately oil, which he said are inevitable, would provide a cushion for the government in sustaining on-going projects, in the event that inflow of foreign aid ceases.

He noted that domestic creation of capital for investment and development has been dismal and urged the government to re-value all land and real Estate properties to assess new and fair taxes to raise revenue for developmental projects.

Dr. Toku would want foreign investment encouraged as much as possible to generate tax revenues and also increase export commodities to generate foreign capital, and therefore stressed the need to cut down on unnecessary government recurrent expenditure, while eliminating concealed employment in public establishments and institutions.

The Akrokerri born US-based Ghanaian scholar, who is also an elder of the Christ Apostolic International Church, USA, called on the government to stop bribery and corruption in government, public and private institutions and that there must be transparency in all government operations while all information must be disseminated for Public scrutiny.

He said, since our quest for foreign capital is a fertile ground for corruption, the NDC must formulate clear policies for effective distribution of foreign loans and aid, and identify projects and programmes in their terms of strategic long term development and growth.

“Projects and programmes must be effectively evaluated, co-ordinated, managed and monitored to determine their failure or success in order to avoid waste,” he also added that “there must be careful and proper co-ordination and systematic planning between donor and recipient countries to measure the impact of their aid”.

According to him, it would not be out of place to establish a Regulatory Agency to monitor any improprieties and effective dispensation of foreign capital which information must be made known to the public for its independent assessment of the situation. Dr. Toku would also want the government to encourage tourism to raise needed domestic capital by renovating all historical buildings and sites in the cities and rural areas to attract tourists.

He also recommended that import duties must be imposed on imported luxury goods that can be produced locally, further suggesting that the government must devise effective ways of collecting duties on export and import commodities, with the institution of anti-corruption mechanism into the collection process.

Dr. Toku also called for the establishment of National and regional Revenue Administrations to involve local councils to help track and collect tax revenues and other payments to government, with Oversight Committees at all levels to ensure that collected revenue are paid into government coffers.

He says Ghana must safeguard its interest in the oil fortune as domestic source of capital generator by reserving the top executive positions for Ghanaians.

Chairman Toku urged Ghanaians to change their attitude towards spending beyond their resources and discontinue their insatiable quest for foreign made goods, and work together as one people to bring the needed socio-economic transformation.

“Ghanaians must frown on bribery and corruption, nepotism and tribal sentiment and exclusivity and embrace a culture of responsibility, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness in a conscious effort to engage in a massive socio-economic transformation”, he advised.