Social Programmes hold the key to 2008 -NPP UK
Hayford Atta-Krufi, Chairman of the UK and Ireland branch of the New Patriotic Party has appealed to government to embark on more social programmes to enable the NPP government succeed itself in 2008. Speaking at the Branch Party's beginning-of-year get together at Ekubanz Paradise in London, which was held under the patronage of His Excellency Isaac Osei, Ghana High Commissioner to UK and Ireland, the Chairman urged the government to ensure that the free and compulsory education takes firm roots in the country for every child before the 2008 elections. He praised the government for being the first to lift the FCUBE from the walls of our Constitution and turning it into reality. He appealed to the government to add a specific agenda to the policy to ensure that every Ghanaian child is not left behind. He said “the only way to ensure that every Ghanaian child matters is to ensure that we have an agenda of specific outcomes whereby every child achieves and enjoys free education, stays safe in school, and is well fed. By doing this we are not only achieving our millennium developing goals but also securing Ghana's future”
Mr. Atta-Krufi also urged the government to speed up the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that the much hated “cash and carry system” is completely conquered and annihilated by 2008. On behalf of women, the Chairman appealed to government to use NGOs to widen its financial support to women in farming and trading with small loans, first to help them support their families and also to empower them to contribute to social development of Ghana. He also appealed to government to show its commitment to Ghanaians abroad by giving them the opportunity to vote in national elections. He said “as Ghanaians who contribute immensely to the economic development in Ghana through our remittances it is only fair that we have a say in who governs us”
Mr. Isaac Osei, Ghana High Commissioner to UK and Ireland, on his part assured the Chairman and the Branch Party that the appeals will be passed on to government. He however assured the members that education and health are top priorities of government and that both the FCUBE and NHIS have come to stay. He said the government has shown its commitment to free education for every child up to the age of 16 by introducing Capitation Grants to all schools. The government's action, he added, towards the introduction of free meals for Ghanaian children in school is unprecedented and it showed the commitment of the NPP towards every Ghanaian child. On poverty alleviation and women empowerment His Excellency reminded all Ghanaians about the commitment of President Kufour's administration to women for creating the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs. He said the government has already embarked on poverty alleviation schemes by providing small loans to women to undertake small to medium scale businesses. On the National Health Insurance Scheme, he said as a major health service delivery programme being introduced for the first time, it will have its teething problems but these problems are not uncommon. For the government to show this bold step at tacking social health insurance in this way, he said, it means the government is seeing to the fundamental needs of all Ghanaians.
Mr. Isaac Osei assured Ghanaians in the diaspora of the government's commitment towards their exercise of their franchise in future elections through the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill which is going through parliament. He assured Ghanaians that the opposition will have its say but government will surely have its way.
Mr. Isaac Osei reiterated the government commitment to good governance expressed through economic recovery and freedom of expression. He said the government's commitment to freedom of expression was shown through the abolishment of the Criminal Libel Law. He reminded Ghanaians about the infrastructural developments that are being embarked on throughout the nation as well as the drastic reduction in inflation since 2001. He said every government should be judged by its performance in office and that the NPP government is doing its possible best for Ghana if it is judged by its achievement in office. He said that usually when inflation figures are quoted people take it for granted but it is an important indication that the government is on course to putting Ghana on sound economic footing. He said that for the G8 conference of the world's leading economies to invite Ghana to its summit on three occasions gives a serious indication of the government's achievement in office in this relatively short period of time. Again he reminded Ghanaians about the respect and stature of President Kufour among world leaders and the fact that he was the first president in Africa to subject his government to the first Africa peer review panel, tasked with assessing the countries' adherence to principles of sound governance which the nation came out with flying colours.
Nii Ayittey Boafo, a Presidential Aide brought good will message from the Party in Ghana and encouraged the branch in UK to continue to support the Party with ideas and policies. He commended the UK and Ireland branch for their hard work and assured them that their efforts shall be remembered. Nii Ayitey Boafo, quoting from Abraham Lincoln said economic emancipation is not an easy task and many people will always oppose it. He advised Ghanaians to stand tall and be counted as part of the people who supported the government and played a part in bringing about the economic renaissance that Ghana is going through.