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23.11.2011 Opinion

Atta Mills indeed shames his critics

By The Statesman
Atta Mills indeed shames his critics
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I hope Ghanaians have not soon forgotten President Mills saying in the year 2009 that the sector of the economy which he was going to use to shame his critics was the agricultural sector?

As we were made to believe in 2008 that the then candidate Mills was an 'honest, believable, genuine and clean man who would not mount platform to deliberately lie to the people of Ghana', I personally took the president seriously on this promise. Do the statistics vindicate the now President Mills as an 'honest, believable, genuine and clean man who would not mount platform to deliberately lie to the people of Ghana'?

Since President Mills assumed office in 2009, the agricultural sector which has been the source of livelihood for most Ghanaians has seen a consistent massive decline. In 2008, under former president Kufuor who the then candidate Mills accused of failing on the agricultural sector, the growth for the agricultural sector was 7.4 %( at 2006 constant prices).

This was the growth rate of the agricultural sector that the supposedly 'failed' Kufuor bequeathed to the 'honest, genuine and believable' Mills. It was this growth rate that we were promised a massive improvement upon to shame critics of the president. What have been the growth rates of agriculture since 2009? In 2009, the agricultural sector growth declined to 7.2% from 7.4% in 2008(at 2006 constant prices).

Again, the agricultural sector growth took a further nosedive under Mills to 5.3 %( at 2006 constant prices) in 2010. As if the consistent decline in the growth of the agricultural sector under Mills was going to see an improvement in the 'action year (2011)' of the president, the agricultural sector saw a further decline in growth to an abysmal 2.8 %( at 2006 constant prices).

Surprisingly, the agricultural sector did not see improvement in growth over the growth rate under Kufuor. Per the figures since 2008, between the president and his critics, who should be ashamed? Shame unto critics indeed!

Also, the then candidate Mills promised the fisher folks in this country (at Mumford in the Central region) in 2008 that he was the man to be trusted on improvement in the fishing industry because he (Mills) was from the coast ( Ekumfi Otuam precisely) and because the then president (Kufuor) was from the Ashanti region where there was no sea, he (Kufour) was destroying the fishing industry.

The question one would ask is that is there any improvement in the fishing industry since Mills became the president? Well, let us see!

In 2008, under the so-called 'non-coaster cum fishing industry destroyer' Kufour, the fishing industry grew by 17.4% (at 2006 constant prices). In 2009, under OFARNYI KWAGYA II Mills, the fishing industry grew by an astonishing -5.7 %( at 2006 constant prices). Also, the fishing industry grew by a paltry 1.5% in 2010. I thought the growth rate record of 17.4% of the fishing industry in 2008 under Kufuor was going to be broken by Mills in the 'action year(2011)' but to my utter surprise, the industry grew by another paltry 1.7%(at 2006 constant prices) which comes nowhere near the growth rate of the industry under Kufuor in 2008.

What are some of the factors responsible for the decline in the fishing industry under Mills? It is in part attributable to the shortage of premix that the industry has been experiencing from time to time under Mills?

A Ghana News Agency (GNA) publication on the 16th of May, 2011 quoted the MP (Kuntu Blankson) for Mfantseman East (home Constituency of the president) as calling for an investigation into why the fishermen of Narkwa (a fishing community in the president's home constituency) were denied supply of premix fuel from February 26 to May 12, 2011.Premix fuel was also in serious short supply during the peak of the fishing season last year.

The skyrocketing of prices of fishing gears such as outboard motor under Mills is also a factor. Another contributory factor is the timing of the enforcement of the Fisheries Regulations of 2010. The Fisheries Regulations came into being in August, 2010 but the Atta Mills government decided not to enforce it in any other month (be it in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May or June) but decided to set up a task force on the 2nd of August, 2011 to seize generators and nets from fishermen at the peak of the fishing season.

This task force harassed and molested fishermen to the extent that a fisherman lost his life out of this at Komenda in the Central region. Why did the government not set up a task force to enforce the law in any other month prior to the peak of the fishing season so that the fishermen could gather resources to replace the seized nets in anticipation of the peak season but rather chose to render the fishermen jobless at the peak of the fishing season? Can this be a government that cares for the fisherman? President Mills could not even deliver on his own 'adze wo fie, a oye promise to his people (fisherfolks).

Still on the adze wo fie a ,oye promise, the tourism industry is an important industry to the people of the Central region. What has been the performance of this industry under President Mills, an indigene of the Central region?

An important aspect of the tourism industry is the 'Hotels and Restaurants'. In 2008, the hotels and restaurants grew by 9.1 % (at 2006 constant prices) but in 2009 under president Mills, the hotels and restaurants grew by a disgraceful -3.8 % (at 2006 constant prices). In 2010, the hotels and restaurants grew unimpressively by 2.7 % (at 2006 constant prices). Instead of putting in place measures to improve on the performance of the hotels and restaurants, the Atta Mills-led NDC government rather decided to kill the hotels and restaurants industry by imposing huge taxes on hotels and restaurants in the 'action year (2011)' of the president and it is therefore not surprising that the 'hotels and restaurants' is seeing a whopping -11% (at 2006 constant prices) growth in 2011.

From the forgoing analysis, it is clear that president Mills' bad policies have resulted in the collapse of industries dear to the heart of his own people(people of Central region) whom he promised them adze wo fie a, oye. Per this abysmal performance of Atta Mills and his NDC since 2009, the best they deserve in 2012 is a vote of no confidence in them by voting them out come 7th December, 2012.

Richard Takyi-Mensah
Central Regional Communications Director, NPP.
Tel: 0249167226

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