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17.11.2005 General News

Fast track the People's representation bill - Kennedy

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Sunyani (B/A), Nov. 17, GNA - Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy, aspiring Presidential candidate of New Patriotic Party has appealed to Parliament to speed up the process of passing the People's Representation Bill into law to enable Ghanaians outside the country to exercise their franchise in national elections.

He expressed dismay that even though Ghanaians abroad sent home about 1.4 billion dollars a year to boost the national economy, "they do not have the chance to exercise their franchise during general elections".

Dr. Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of Family Health Centres Inc., the largest outpatient health facility in the United States made the appeal at a symposium organised by the Sunyani Polytechnic branch of Tertiary Education Students Confederacy (TESCON) of NPP in Sunyani. He said Ghanaians outside constituted about 10 per cent of the country's population and could help nurture "our infant democracy" if the bill was passed.

The aspirant explained that Ghanaian professionals abroad could also provide an endless stream of practitioners and lecturers, who could enrich the system.

"There is the need to focus on encouraging Ghanaians in the Diaspora to come home and open businesses through tax holidays and administrative implications", Dr Kennedy added. He reiterated the need to introduce the widespread use of credits cards and the institution of a national identification system and improved work-related education, as well as job training to create a high paying and productive workforce.

Dr. Kennedy called for inter-sectoral collaboration between government, agencies and ministries to provide safe, clean and affordable drinking water and sanitation for the people. He embraced the institution of the National Health Insurance Scheme and advised the government "to go back to the drawing board and involve healthcare professionals, define the costs and responsibility for malpractice insurance and the cost of procedures performed under the scheme".

This, he said, will go a long way to facilitate the easy and smooth running of the scheme.

Mr Alfred Ofori Annye, Brong-Ahafo Regional youth organizer of the party said NPP had the greatest task towards the 2008 elections, since there would be a change of presidential candidate.

He advised members of the party to work harder and identify the volatile areas challenging the party to ensure a resounding victory. Mr Annye announced plans by TESCON to institute branches in second cycle institutions to woo the youth, particularly those aged between 15 and 16, to the party, who would exercise their franchise in the next general election.

In a welcoming address, Mr Amoah Asiedu Atta-Kakraka, local president of TESCON said the symposium was aimed at rekindling the spirit of TESCON to motivate members for the task ahead.