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17.02.2005 Politics

MP calls for translation of economic policies into poverty reduction

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Accra, Feb. 17, GNA - Mr. Michael Teye Nyaunu, NDC-Lower Manya, on Thursday said the 5.8 percent Gross Domestic Product figure for 2004, captured in President's Kufuor's recent address, had made little impact in addressing poverty levels among Ghanaians.

He said government's macro economic policies were meaningless if many Ghanaians were still living in poverty.

The MP was reacting to President Kufuor's statement that: " Significantly, the GDP growth rate which was projected at 5.2 per cent by the close of year, 2004, has exceeded all expectation and achieved a rate of 5.8 per cent."

Mr. Nyaunu, who was contributing to the debate on the State of Nation address, said there was nothing significant about a 5.8 percent GDP if the living standards of ordinary Ghanaians were so low. He asked government to furnish details of sectors of the economy that contributed to the 5.8 percent figure.

The MP also touched on the level of unemployment among the youth and said it was not enough that government had prioritised skills training for the youth if there were no jobs avenues for them after training programmes.

Mr. Dan Abodakpi, NDC-Keta, touched on private sector development and said the informal sector should be empowered to help players in the sector play their role in growing the economy. On deregulation, Mr Abodakpi said deregulation should not be equated with increases in fuel prices, adding that government should reduce taxes on petroleum products to help the local industry compete favourably anywhere and on the international market. Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, NPP-Offinso-North, said government had laid the macro-economic foundation for the take-off for "positive change chapter two, which aims at addressing the many economic challenges facing the country.

He said government was not happy with the unemployment situation, adding, "we need to create more jobs... and help the private sector grow competitively... we are making progress towards it." On good governance, Dr. Apraku said government had made gains in this direction, saying Ghana was the first country to open itself up to the African Peer Review programme, which aims at evaluating progress made in various areas of governance including, political democratic governance and economic management.

Mr. Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, NPP-Asuogyaman, who touched on private sector development, said the banks should assist in growing businesses by going the extra mile in monitoring and advising businesses they assist financially to ensure that these businesses performed well. On deregulation, he said the process should be seen as a sacrifice Ghanaians should be prepared to make now to ensure a better Ghana in future. 17 Feb. 05

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