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29.06.2005 General News

APRM report reflects national concerns


Accra, June 29, GNA - Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Press Secretary to the President on Wednesday said the Presidency considered the ongoing national discussions on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as refreshing and useful to energise the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration.

He said it would make the Government to push for further far reaching interventions to reverse the chain of flaws associated with the general governance structure.

He said when President John Agyekum Kufuor declared the "Ghana Incorporated Concept", he sought to promote national ownership of the process of change and development, so the APRM Panel findings provided the opportunity for Ghanaians to join hands together in addressing the downsides in the system.

Mr Agyepong in a statement issued in Accra on a range of public opinions on Ghana's review under the APRM said the exercise was that "of renewed commitment and sober reflections".

"Executive Highlights of Ghana's review at the recent Abuja APR Forum have stimulated considerable public discussions on governance system, especially aspects that touched on deficiencies," he said. The statement said issues raised in the Executive Highlights bordered on the consolidation of democracy, corporate governance, Executive-Legislature relationship, public service delivery, women in governance and land administration.

The Press Secretary said President Kufuor's position was consistent with public sentiments that the Highlights were objective summary of the national mood.

"The process in arriving at the findings captured in the Executive Highlights was a broad based consultations and information sharing sessions involving opinion leaders, decision-makers, civil society and political party figures.

"However, the Presidency maintains there is every reason for Ghanaians to celebrate the successes whilst being equally sensitive to the collective spirit required to address the defects outlined in the Executive Highlights", the statement said.

Mr Agyepong said President Kufuor agreed, at the Abuja Forum of African Heads of State that the administration would study the report thoroughly and map out remedial measures subsequently. He gave the assurance that "President Kufuor will seek to reinforce the strengths and review weaknesses as identified by the APR Eminent Panel.

"It is not a business of debit and credit as is being touted in some quarters, but rather national ownership", he said.

The statement said the Government had opened the system up to similar review exercises such as the sovereign credit assessment by Standard and Poor/Fitch Ratings, inclusion criteria for US Millennium Challenge Account and lately the G-8 Debt stock cancellation eligibility, all premised on considerations aimed at promoting public accountability and open administration.

Mr Agyepong said President Kufuor's resolve to manage the system and change it to a safe berth, which is that of prosperity and secured nationhood demanded from Ghanaians patience so that yielding dividends could make Ghana proud.

He said, "to muster the courage to open up for system checks such as the one by the APR Eminent Panel, an act considered as historic in global politics.

"The thrust of President's vision, right from January 2001 is that of change and development in freedom. There appeared to be not much surprises in the Review Highlights, for the administration's policy direction is largely inspired by these concerns, which could be considered as known public facts," he said.

He said one thing that emerged strongly from the Presidency was that "President Kufuor by acceding to the pioneering review has demonstrated his commitment to the undertaking by African leaders at the birth of Africa Union in Durban, South Africa, in 2002 to carve a new image for the continent."

Mr Agyepong said President Kufuor and his "colleague leaders are relentlessly taking away the stereotype picture of Africa being a hub of diseases, conflict, hunger and dependency for that of a continent ready for global reintegration into mainstream of world economic activity and international politics.

"Come mid-August African leaders assigned to the African Peer Review will converge in another Summit, which will showcase fully Ghana's outlook in the review process.

"It is being mentioned that subsequently the actual Peer Review by the leaders will commence", Mr Agyepong said.