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11.08.2005 General News

Mills urges government to do more for the poor

GNA

Accra, Aug. 11, GNA - Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, Former Vice President, on Thursday criticized the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for doing too little to alleviate the suffering of the mass of the people.

He said the salary of Ghanaian workers had become farcical and spouses were not able to make ends meet, with the price of "kenkey" more than tripling since the NPP government came to power.

Prof Mills, who was also the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2004 Election, was addressing a press conference in Accra on issues of national concern as well as the unity, stability and development of the country.

He accused the NPP Administration of being insensitive to the plight of the people, with the rising cost of living that had resulted in the growing incidence of parental neglect, broken marriages, prostitution, child labour and streetism.

"Small and medium scale poultry producers are folding up; domestic rice growers have abandoned their farms, whiles the timber and textile industries have virtually collapsed as result of high operating costs", he said.

Prof Mills said: "The President Kufuor's administration has made a fetish of macro-economic stability when it is evident there is something fundamentally wrong with the economy."

He called on the Government to come out clearly on the ownership of the Metro Mass Transport Company, which had been shrouded in mystery with numerous questions remaining unanswered.

He criticised the Government on the mode of the disbursement of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund), saying that the expenditure had not been transparent and that the Fund had also been politicised by the fact that almost all the buses imported by the Government with the GETfund money were painted in NPP colours.

The Former Vice President additionally expressed concern about the way the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) issue was handled by the Government with the crippling five week strike that left the students, who were about to write their final examinations, untaught for that period.

He said instead of the Government playing up the welfare and the future of the students as the main consideration for the resolution of the dispute, the Ministry of Education and Sports appeared more interested in the technical issues of whether NAGRAT was a recognised body.

"I am not very sure whether the Government was aware of the magnitude of the problem it was about to create by those very ill-advised decisions," he said.

He called on the Government to resolve the causes of the NAGRAT strike action once and for all so that the nation would not witness another threat of a strike. 11 Aug. 05

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