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28.06.2005 General News

The truth the NPP is not telling Ghanaians

Palaver

MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT!

Palaver -- President Kufuor and his NPP Government claim to be a transparent government, but their capacity for keeping affairs of state secret from the people of Ghana is amazing.

Apparently ever since the US Government announced over two years ago that Ghana and 15 other countries had become entitled to some billions of dollars from a newly established Millennium Challenge Account, only two countries, Madagascar and Honduras, have been able to access the Account!

And in Washington DC, USA, last week, President Kufuor and four other African Presidents, from Botswana, Mozambique, Niger and Namibia, granted audience by President Bush, complained bitterly about how bureaucracy and the fine print of the programme had made it nearly impossible for them to access the account.

Translation – the so-called beneficiaries of the Millennium Challenge Account had not been able to fulfil the conditionalities required to enable them to access the account.

So ferocious were the complaints that the Chief Executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Paul Applegarth, was forced to resign, some say was “fired”, even though his office said his departure had “absolutely” nothing to do with the complaints lodged by the five African Presidents.

Yet the NPP Government has been boasting and bragging about how its “good governance” and exceptional economic performance have enabled Ghana to access the Millennium Challenge Account.

In President Kufuor's 2005 “State of the Nation” Address for the year to Parliament, this is what he said about the Millennium Challenge Account:

Another example of the country's improving stature is that, Ghana was among the first group of countries adjudged to have qualified to access the first tranche of the US Millennium Challenge Account of US$ I billion.

And this is how the editorial of the New York Times of June 19th 2005, described how Ghana and the other beneficiaries have been unable to access the Millennium Challenge Account.

“It took five African Presidents to get President Bush to finally face up to the dismal performance of his flagship program to promote development in poor countries. Within days, the White House reported the resignation of Paul Applegarth, the chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, who, with an entire world of poverty, disease and wretchedness to consider, managed to find only two countries worthy of aid. His office says his departure had “absolutely” nothing to do with the complaints lodged last week by the presidents of Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Niger and Namibia, who told Mr. Bu! sh that the bureaucracy and fine print of the program made it nearly impossible for them to get aid. We're just glad Mr. Applegarth is going, and how President Bush appoints a successor more interested in actually giving money to poor people”.

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