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23.12.2010 General News

Spio-Garbrah Congratulates Government

By Daily Graphic
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A former Minister and current Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has in a Christmas message to Ghanaians congratulated the government on publishing a booklet in which 50 concrete achievements of the Mills government are highlighted.

Dr Spio-Garbrah, who is also the Chairman of the NDC Communications Committee, said: “It is a great initiative on the part of the Ministry of Information to produce an informative and illustrated booklet on the achievements of the government even before the two-year milestone has been fully reached”

“Quite clearly, there are many policy initiatives, legislative successes, and projects that have been implemented by this NDC government that the general public may not be aware of, or which opposition commentators tend to belittle.”

He said the publication should therefore go a long way to help throw some light on the many achievements of the government.

Commenting further, the former Minister of Communication in the Rawlings administration, noted that in an era of a multiplicity of local and international media channels — radio, TV, newspapers and magazine — that the government does not control, it was not easy for any government to fully explain and promote all its achievements and efforts.

However, booklets such as the one produced by the Ministry, if discussed on radio programmes, especially in local languages and converted into some audiovisuals and broadcast nationwide, can go a long way to satisfy majority of the citizenry to understand that notwithstanding any occasional shortcomings, the government was really on track on many fronts, he stated.

Citing some examples of the government's achievements, he stated that the government's success in bringing down inflation significantly while stabilising the cedi were among the most important actions that had renewed domestic and foreign investor confidence in the economy.

The introduction of the single-spine salary structure to bring some sanity into the compensation levels in the public sector, the record increases in the prices of cocoa paid to Ghanaian farmers, and the passing of a Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) law to provide a framework for a faster growth of the northern part of the country, Dr Spio-Garbrah said, were all commendable.

Referring to his earlier role as the first Board Chairman of the Value Added Tax Service, Dr Spio-Garbrah stated that the merger of the three main revenue collection agencies, VAT, IRS and CEPS, into a Ghana Revenue Authority could again lead to a considerable growth in the country's capacity to effectively fund its development projects.

On the educational front, the former Minister commended the government for quickly reversing the four-year SHS to a three-year duration, adding that the previous government's decision to change that system had not been properly thought through and budgeted for, and there was no realistic implementation plan by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) that would have served the nation, parents, teachers and students well.

He hailed the government's increase in the Capitation Grant by 50 per cent, from GH¢3.00 to GH¢4.50 per child; the 75 per cent milestone achieved by the government in its efforts to provide free school uniforms to basic schools in selected communities; the expansions and improvements in the school feeding programme, and the elimination of more than 1,000 schools under trees.

As a strong advocate of the use of ICTs to advance rapid access to education, Dr Spio-Garbrah, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, exalted the government's decision to pay the full tuition fees for all teachers who were pursuing further studies through distance learning.

“That is a fantastic decision,” said Dr Spio-Garbrah, who enjoined all eligible teachers to try hard to take advantage of this particular incentive.

“We are in a Knowledge Age, and knowledge these days runs on fibre-optic cables or through various wireless and mobile technologies, rather than on blackboards.

The era of 'brick-and-mortar' education will soon come to an end.Our teachers and students must all get ready for the Internet age, the era of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Netlog, and other social networking sites,” he added.

Dr Spio-Garbrah also congratulated President Atta Mills on the recent ceremony on December 15 is to commemorate the commercial production of oil in Ghana.

He stated that it was a great day for the political advancement of Ghana that former Presidents Kufuor and Rawlings were also on hand to witness the ceremony and to take some satisfaction in the efforts and contributions of the governments that they led in making that common national vision a reality.

He also congratulated all the ministers whose respective achievements had made it possible for the list of 50 achievements to be compiled, noting that if each achievement were to be counted singularly rather than bunched together, there would have been several hundreds of achievements, as in the roads, health, housing, transport, agriculture and educational sectors.

In wishing the President, the government and all Ghanaians a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that no government was perfect.

“When a government does well, it must be commended and when things could be done better, patriotic citizens should also be encouraged to say so,” he pointed out.

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