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28.02.2005 General News

Massive Demo To Rock Accra

By Lens

..... Other Regions To Follow

Ghanaians of all walks of life are expected to turn out for what is expected to be a massive demonstration of the anger of the Ghanaian people against the NPP government's insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary people of this country.

The demonstration, ignited by the unprecedented increases in the price of petroleum price products, is intended to drive home forcefully to the government that whereas it may have the mandate of the people of Ghana for another four years, that mandate does not include impoverishing or heaping difficulty after difficulty on the people of this country.

Ghanaians have been labouring under severe economic conditions; skyrocketing utility tariffs, high cost of health care delivery, astronomical cost of formal education, and generally high cost of living, on the other hand the value of the minimum wage keeps nose-diving (presently it stands at ₤0.7).

Analysts believe that but for the fact that the Kufuor-led NPP government has exposed itself as a double-tongued, deceitful and insensitive government that is practising the exact opposite of the things it preached while it was in opposition, Ghanaians generally would have accepted these difficulties with their legendary "fama nyame, nyame be kyere" philosophy.

While the NPP was in opposition it kicked against proposals by the government of the day to increase government revenue through increase of taxes. The NPP argued then that there was no need to increase taxes and that government could generate more revenue by expanding the tax-net, cutting down on government expenditure by reducing the size of government.

Indeed, the then de-facto leader of the opposition parties, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, the current President, warned several times of social explosion and unrests should the then government go ahead with its plans to increase the prices of petroleum products to generate revenue for government.

In one of his very few remarkable public speeches, Mr. Kufuor posited that governments are elected to work for the welfare of the people, and that the people are entitled to resist a governments that seeks to impoverish them.

As part of his proposal to cut down on the size of government, Mr. Kufuor proposed fusing the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, and Finance into what he called the "triumvirate ministry".

Based upon these lofty ideas, Ghanaians gave Mr. Kufuor and his party the mandate to implement his ideas only for him to turn around to say his criticisms of the NDC government about the size of government was misplaced and uninformed. He then went on to form a government, the size of which rivalled that of the size of the NDC government he so uncharitably castigated. That was in the first four years.

Having secured a renewed mandate for a second term,, albeit under dubious circumstances, Mr. Kufuor went into overdrive with his appointments, with the number of government Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Special Assistants, Government Spokespersons, and other officials pushing well beyond hundred. As if that was not bad enough given the huge outlay of expenditure required for maintaining these officials, Mr. Kufuor slapped a huge 50% increase on the price of petrol, with about 60% of the increase made up of taxes and margins.

The Kufuor-led NPP government sought to justify the increases with the excuse that it was necessitated by the need to remove government subsidies from the prices of petroleum products.

But this argument was debunked by a member of the Central Committee of the opposition Convention People's Party, Mr. Kwesi Pratt, when he clearly demonstrated on Radio Gold's Alhaji and Alhaji programme that given the current prices of crude oil on the world market and the huge levels of taxes imbedded in the prices of petroleum products a gallon of petrol could still sell at ¢20,000.00 per gallon without government subsidy.

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