15.06.2005 Politics

Debt relief good for Ghana - MP

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, NPP-Nsuta-Kwamang Beposo on Wednesday urged Ghanaians to resolve to work harder than ever and eschew laziness, bribery and corruption and all negative tendencies that impede growth.

Mr Osei-Prempeh said these in a statement on the floor of the House to congratulate Ghana on its debt cancellation by its multilateral partners and donor countries.

He said the refreshing news on the G8 that the poor people of Ghana are to enjoy debt relief of about four billion dollars means monies which would have gone to service these debts would now be available for development.

He said in granting the debt relief some consideration went into the choice of countries including good governance and the ability to fight corruption and that it was noteworthy that Ghana passed these test.

"In the words of world renowned development economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs: 'Ghana is one of the best governed and managed countries in Africa. It is a stable multiparty democracy and modest levels of corruption compare to other countries at a comparable income level.'"

Mr Osei-Prempeh said one important criterion for countries, which were benefiting from G8 debt relief, was the attainment of the completion point of the HIPC Initiative and praised President Kufuor for his courage in opting for the HIPC on assumption of power.

"Now our crippling debt is almost gone and I believe it would be proper to call on my colleagues in this House and the country at large to laud the President, his government and the entire people of this country who showed support and understanding for the President's move."

"However, it is important to state that as a collective, we must not be complacent but resolve to put to good use the money which would have been spent in servicing the debt and the debt stock itself."

Mr Edward Salia, NDC-Jirapa, who supported the statement, however cautioned that it would depend on how the relief was utilised and how well Ghana's resources were managed.

Ghana received a lot of support from 1983 due to the good work and governance of the government in power at that time and that "Ghana was credit worthy that was why it received a lot of financial support from donors."

Mr Maxwell Jumah, NPP-Asokwa said he did not think that the debt relief would have been granted if the NDC were in power. He praised the NPP government for opting for the HIPC initiative, which finally earned it the reprieve of the 100 per cent loan cancellation.

Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Deputy Minority Leader, said the Minority would come out officially with a statement on the debt cancellation when the total amount involved was known.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said this was not the first time a continent was receiving such benefits and that European countries benefited from the Marshall Plan in 1947. He said the 40 billion debt cancellation was inadequate but all the same, it was a relief and that the cut off date had not been fixed. "The real amount involved would be available by September and it is going to be an exciting period as the debate goes on." 15 June 05

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