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02.02.2006 General News

State of the Nation: CPP UK response

By CPP (UK & Ireland) Secretariat.

State Of The Nation: NPP Policies Not Moving Ghana Forward – CPP The President of the Republic of Ghana Mr John Agyekum Kufour delivered his “State of The Nation” address to Ghana's Parliament on Tuesday 31st January and we thank him for his service to Ghana and to Ghana's constitution. One of the planks of his address was “ The current state of socio-economic development” and we had hoped that he would have used his opportunity to address the nation as a platform to spell out in clear terms the progress that his administration has made in improving the welfare of the people of Ghana instead we got a “timid and apologetic” address.

The President talked about his “government achieving a level of economic stability which must be pressed on for accelerated growth” but the only acceleration Ghanaians have witnessed under the NPP, is an acceleration in corruption, an acceleration in petrol prices, utility tariffs and the cost of living, an acceleration in failed Ghanaian owned businesses, an acceleration in the return of previously eradicated diseases, an acceleration in the brain drain, an acceleration in poverty, an acceleration in the gap between the peoples need and the government's priorities.

His mention of the 100% cancellation of Ghana's $7billion debt should have been accompanied by bold government initiatives against the savings realised every year from debt servicing.

The President stated that his government's “ vision and policies are right” but his address was actually short on vision and long on the list of proposed projects, Ghanaians now expect as a basic minimum that their taxes are at least used for projects, and thus this is not a measure of progress.

The NPP government must learn however that their policies are not moving Ghana forward. They must realise that moving Ghana forward requires a complete transformation of the way our economy operates. They must pursue the policies followed under the CPP government where with the natural advantages that we have in local resources we establish industries, which produce the essential commodities we require for development and for domestic consumption. Until Ghanaian owned industries are producing the goods to meet the needs of Ghanaians, the country would not move forward.

Mr President, your policies are still reliant on donors and external agencies with conditionalities, this is a path of failure proven time and time again and admitted by its authors. The IMF has admitted that its initiatives for HIPC countries had failed to produce the expected results. It has also been proven that a privatisation agenda is doomed to failure because of the failure to gain domestic and foreign investment, weak regulatory capacity, immature institutions and thin markets.

NPP Vision and policies are thus not right.

The President talked about “ Investing in People, and Investing in Jobs” citing 250,000 jobs created by his government in the last two years. With such precise figures we expected the President to be a little more definitive in the jobs created. If 83,000 jobs were created as stated, by the Road and Transport Ministry then we needed to know the type of jobs created and whether these jobs were permanent or temporary/seasonal. Whilst we welcome the opportunity for poor families to have any opportunity to earn an income, “cocoa spraying” cannot be said to be the sought of jobs needed to take Ghana to the promised land.

The President went on to say that his government would continue to stay out of business but would intervene to serve the national interest. Our advise is that for the sake of the national interest the CPP has always maintained that a Government of Ghana needs to intervene morning noon and night, indeed the state needs to be the locomotive for growth and development. If the NPP government wants to signal that it is an interventionist government it should stop being so timid and apologetic and boldly declare it is in favour of State industries as under the CPP government of the 1960's.

The Presidents statement that the private sector was being given assistance and encouragement to become the main engine to drive the economy would seem naïve in the face of some of the evidence noted above and against the back-drop of liberalization which has opened our very limited markets to competition from advanced countries, leading to the ongoing collapse of local businesses. Perhaps it is this encouragement that means that Government Ministers order Cycles from China at the expense of local industries.

40 years after the overthrow of the CPP government we would welcome any plans to implementation our idea of an integrated aluminium industry with VALCO at the heart.

The President showed once again that the NPP government is completely out of touch with the priorities of the people of Ghana with his commitment to spend a loan amount of $30m building a new Presidential Palace. Their priorities are comparable to Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa of the CAR.

We end our response on a light but important note, on the President's mention of uncomplimentary stories on websites driving away investors, we would comment that the biggest deterrent to investment both local and foreign is the opulent lifestyles of Ministers and the governments failure to tackle rampant and arrogant corruption among its ranks.

Yours In The Name Of Ghana's Democracy