Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Leave Akufo Addo & the NPP to their Handbags and Gladrags: The NDC Must Set the Agenda!!

During a meeting I attended recently, there was heated debate regarding current happenings in Ghana.  As I heard the arguments and counter arguments, on the NPP and Nana Addo’s ‘illogical’ court case and the minority’s ‘illogical’ position of boycotting the President and whatever he does, and whether there is a need to match them boot for boot or let them be?   I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics of Stereophonic’s version of D’Abo’s classic ‘hand bags and glad rags’. Particularly, the opening two stanzas of the lyrics kept coming back to me:
Ever seen a blind man cross the road, Trying to make the other side,
Ever seen a young girl growing old, Trying to make herself a bride,
So what becomes of you my love, When they have finally stripped you of
The handbags and the gladrags, That your poor old Grandad, Had to sweat to buy you
In my opinion, Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP have become the lady the lyricist is referring to as a young girl growing old but trying to make herself a bride. The people of Ghana on the 7th and 8th of December, 2012 voted President John Dramani Mahama as a clear and deserving winner as so declared by the constitutionally mandated body charged with running the elections. Therefore, until the Supreme Court declares otherwise, which I very much doubt, we have a constitutionally elected President. For this reason, the NDC and its government must move swiftly, with the ‘urgency of now’ in executing its mandate and solving the myriad of challenges this beautiful nation of ours faces.  
In the meantime, as we await the supreme courts declaration that albeit, with some challenges and infinitesimal amount of irregularities which cannot be avoided in an election of the type that any nation faces during its election cycle; the 2012 elections were free, fair, and transparent, with a clear winner who has fittingly being sworn in as President already. That the said general election was witnessed and monitored by the international community that has affirmed indeed, that the results represents the will of the people. Accordingly, the people of Ghana have since moved on as evidenced by the split within even the New Patriotic party’s own rank and file, as to their post election conduct.
However, as Nana Addo and the Akyem mafia make their own way to the abattoir, where they will be stripped of their handbags, glad rags, affectation, and subsequently slaughtered, with their political carcass fed to the masses of public opinion and oblivion; the NDC and its government must for once set the agenda for the politico-socio-economic discourse. The NDC and the government must be on message; it must empower the communication apparatchiks to lead the socio-political agenda setting in this country. Skilfully steering public opinion and moving the discourse towards achievements, ongoing programmes, aspirations, as well as inviting the public to come along with their ideas and suggestions to support the President in his quest to move this nation forward, towards achieving the better Ghana mantra.
Undoubtedly, there are no better communicators at the disposal of the President in this process of setting the politico-socio-economic agenda; than the Presidents own Sector Ministers. The new crop of Ministers should not become a part of the bureaucratic classes, warming their chairs and desk whilst pushing pen and paper instructions. No! Far from it! We need them to be out there, setting the strategic direction of their various ministries according to the overarching vision of the President, concentrating on policy formulation and cracking the weep on implementing bodies to ensure we are achieving the better Ghana we promised the people of this country.  They must make themselves available, in fact, they must join forces with party and government communications teams so that communicators understand and are abreast with happenings within their various ministries; in order that they can tell a seamless, synergised story.
The NDC and government cannot allow a dying horse to continue to set the agenda. We must consign the NPP to its place as the largest opposition party and Nana Addo as the one time Presidential candidate of the largest opposition party in Ghana, period! We have no place worrying about or countering what the NPP is doing. Their stock is down, they are starved of any sort of good news or victory so they are in the market for little worthless victories which the NDC must not grant them the luxury of having anytime in the near and foreseeable future. We run the country, they don’t, so let us show them ‘who is boss’ by executing our manifesto promises and giving this country total development.
Mr. President, the current crisis in the delivery of utilities to the average Ghanaian, offers you a golden opportunity to take the bull by the horn, by giving Ghanaians some ‘kick ass’ leadership that has never before been experienced in this country. We have the opportunity today, to take the people of this country with us towards true social democracy and towards the provision of equality of opportunities. Let us seize this moment to set the agenda. As for Nana Addo, what becomes of him and the NPP, when they are finally stripped of their handbags and the gladrags that their ancestors (Danquah-Busia-Dombo), had to sweat to buy them; your guess is as good as mine!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Cementing the NDC’S Grip on Power Beyond 2016

To my mind, the people of Ghana on the 7th and 8th of December 2012, unequivocally endorsed President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC’s efforts towards a better Ghana; regardless of the current huffing and puffing by the opposition New Patriotic Party and their bungling legal team.
There is a certain commonsensical generational approach applied by all men to wooing a woman. They try a few times and if she won’t have them, they move on to other passions. I believe the same approach is needed very badly in the Akuffo Addo household. Ghanaians in 2008 said nay, we will have a better man for a better Ghana, then in 2012, we said it edey be keke, so no need for change.
Instead of conceding defeat, Nana Addo and his advisers unleashed violence on some ordinary Ghanaians going about their lives or in the process of earning a decent wage. Some of the journalist who were brutalised probably voted for the NPP. The hallmark of a bad loser is to huff, puff, and damage their reputation and that of their ilk in the process before vanishing into oblivion. Sour losers; always lose not only their minds but also the sympathies of onlookers by failing to control how they react to their loss. Therefore, it must be said that the NPP must re-examine itself or risk losing its place as a viable alternative. Bernard Shaw once said ‘that if history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable man must be of learning from experience’; over to you Sir John.
The NDC’s victory in the just ended elections, offers the party and its government the opportunity to rule this country for the next 30 years and beyond. However, any chance of doing this depends on how the party and especially government, governs this country. Ghana, in the next four years and beyond, will see increased revenue from the oil and gas sector, and if government puts in place prudent policies that will ensure growth in our pre-oil sectors to avoid the Dutch disease, this nation and its people will see dramatic socio-economic transformation and its love affair with the NDC will be cast in stone.
In the not so distant past, many pundits predicted the disintegration of the NDC. That prediction was born out of a certain lack of foresight. Now the NDC must not be victim to the same disease. Foresight has become the great need of the 21st century and as Malcom X once said, ‘the future belongs to those who prepare for it today’. The NDC must quickly put its victory behind it and soldier on. Come November/December 2016, if the party is able to achieve 65-75% of its manifesto pledges, it is certain of victory. The government must empower economic growth through a new wave of infrastructural development through the building of new roads&bridges/rail/airports across the length and breadth of this country. This will ensure money in the pockets of unskilled labour, with a long term effect of greater access, movement of people and most importantly movement of goods of all shades.
If this is achieved within the shortest possible time, alongside total electricity coverage as promised in the NDC manifesto, expansion of the education sector to ensure greater access and quality through the elimination of all schools under trees, 250 new community SHS, new teacher training colleges and specialist kindergarten training as well as increased health care coverage through the building of health centres for every populations of 500 across the country, increased training of health professionals through new health colleges. There is a famous saying that life is water, both urban and rural folks need water and our nation is blessed with abundant water resources, therefore, this needs to be dealt with holistically in the context of spatial planning with a national policy framework and action plan.  Mr President must deal comprehensively with Youth unemployment through special socio-economic intervention programmes such as the youth enterprise fund, introducing a compulsory mentoring and apprenticeship programme under a new deal for youth to be rolled out for all young people from JHS to University  level to give them hands on experience of work and helping to shape their career choices through both the private and the public sector, introduce as part of this new deal programme a career counselling office for all SHS and bringing  Lesdep, Yesdec, MASLOC, under  one umbrella organisation to ensure their effectiveness and reduce duplication. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that ‘we cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future. We must use foresight and the benefit of hindsight to adopt good practice models from the Western world, where the idiom ‘youth as the future of the nation’ is not a cliché but deliberate policy and strategy are introduced to equip the younger generation. In England for instance every local authority has a children and young people’s plan/strategy and its implementation is reviewed on a yearly basis with young people involved alongside technocrats in the review process.
Fundamentally, the NDC must take care of its own; it must strengthen its base through effective and targeted development. The Volta region and Northern Ghana which have similar development challenges must see significant social transformation. The President must make a personal commitment and challenge himself to bridge the North/South development gap, which undoubtedly will curb North/South migration, using SADA as an effective tool. There is the need to transform northern Ghana and make it attractive to both foreign and local investors, reversing the North/South migration by attracting more manufacturing industries to the North and making Central Gonja District an inland industrial hub. This to my mind can be done by ensuring good roads within the north to increase intra-North trade and movement and from the South to the North to increase North/South trade, use SADA as a tool to make northern Ghana the real food basket of the nation, put up some of the biggest food markets in the North. The development of these markets should not be limited to the north alone as Ghanaians love their markets as everybody loves to buy and sell, give them state of the art, world class, health and safety conscious markets and watch local market women drive this economy.
The NDC must work relentlessly in the next four years to make the four swing regions, its strongholds and gaining parity or taking back the Eastern region. The Central, Western and Brong Ahafo regions and to some extent greater Accra have similar development challenges to the Volta and the Northern parts of the Country. In the case of the western region, there is a peculiar case of very bad roads in a resource rich region. Therefore, rolling out the western corridor roads projects as ‘roads of the future’ using technology and material that will ensure longevity and ensuring effective access to health care will cement the NDC’s relationship with the region. Replicating the SADA model across the other zones will ensure targeted bottom up development.  To my mind even replacing RCC’s with development agencies is a much more cost effective, development centred approach to governance as the RCC concept is out of sync with effective decentralisation. In my opinion the RCC’s are a needless bureaucratic layer and their coordinating role can easily be absorbed by other organisations or layers of the bureaucratic chain.
Many Ghanaians believe and are praying the President lives up to their expectation of doing a good job for Ghana. However, the success of the President is linked with the success and effectiveness of his men on the ground (DCE’s).  Ghana at this point in time, needs effective, highly educated, development and political aware local leadership. Therefore, there is the need to have what I will term – HSQL Approach – that is the highly skilled and qualified leaders approach. With this approach, the President must nominate competent, highly educated and development centred DCE’s. These should have what it takes to operationalise the new decentralisation policy framework and action plan and champion local development with little supervision. The days of the barely educated local party man becoming DCE are numbered. Local communities deserve strong, focused, development centred local leaders who by themselves can dream up visions for developing their local areas.
However, these local leaders must be given the necessary tools to help them lead the socio-economic transformation of their localities. The dawn is here when the nation and government must recognise decentralisation and local governance as the final frontier to sustainable development. Therefore, local authorities must be given even more power and flexibility in their operations, given more financial and human resource. In my opinion, government must allocate 50-70% incrementally, of national revenue to local authorities to spearhead the transformation of this country. In addition, government must give local authorities the mandate to oversee the development and provision of housing schemes to house the nation’s growing middle classes. Local assemblies can and should be empowered to undertake PPP agreements in the housing sector. This will ensure a bottom up, community driven approach to solving the housing deficit. Come 2016, should local housing schemes begin to spring up everywhere across the nation for teachers, nurses, and all other public servants on flexible mortgages as was done in the past through SSNIT, the NDC will have no trouble in winning a resounding victory.
Significantly, there is the need to strengthen the party and its structures and institutions especially the Youth and women wings, introducing the party school, consciously targeting first time voters in secondary schools. Undertaking special ideological summer camps, seeing to the proliferation of groups within the party that are targeted at attracting metrosexual men and women and Ghana’s next generation of thinkers and leaders to the party as well as proactively ensuring a strong constituency and branch presence. Currently, there seem a certain disconnection exist between the grassroots of the party and its leadership. The NDC needs to be proactive in mobilising and engaging local people at all times not only when elections are coming. The party must put in place visionary leaders at its next congress and it must develop its futuring skills to sharpen its ability to assess the probabilities, anticipate consequences, and choose ever-wiser courses of action that can help it to entrench itself at the helm of driving this great nations transformation.
Last but not least, the party must take advantage of the likeability factor of the President to renew itself, to win over the floating voters who voted not because they have sympathies for the NDC but the President. Our people say a chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches. The President by his actions even as a care taker President and even as a parliamentarian won him admiration. He comes across to many a Ghanaian, as one who values nationhood and national unity above political affiliation. His decision to participate in the IEA debates as well as the move to the flag staff house and more recently his appointments so far portend well for mother Ghana and NDC especially. The party has an asset in the President and it must utilise that asset judiciously.
Gameli Kewuribe Hoedoafia
Croydon, UK

Friday, 7 December 2012

Ghana, in Search for a President! The Bourgeois or the Proletariat?

The opening paragraph of the 1992 constitution embodies a statement which sums up the way Ghanaians, as a people want to be governed. The constitution personifies our collective voice when it says “ We the people of Ghana, in exercise of our natural and inalienable right to establish a framework of government which shall secure for ourselves and posterity the blessings of liberty, equality of opportunity and prosperity…………in solemn declaration and affirmation of our commitment  to; freedom. Justice, probity and accountability…....…hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The fourth Republican constitution is not very different from the three others we had post independence. However, since independence, Ghana has had four constitutions, several military interventions, courted numerous international organisations, and on their advice, tried a gamut of socioeconomic doctrine and concepts. Despite all these, the sovereign state of Ghana has largely failed to meet the aspirations of its people in the manner enshrined in our current constitution.
Plausible explanations abound depending on who you ask, and what their political philosophies and allegiances are. Perceptions of what has gone wrong and still going wrong depends on whether they are NPP or NDC supporters or overtly non political but with intrinsic political allegiance to one or both of the two major political parties in the country. I am not by any chance posturing that there are no other political parties in existence, far from it.
There are several other political parties such as the CPP, PPP, PNC, GCPP; albeit many of these and their leaders have usually backed one of the two big parties when push comes to shove, thereby losing their essence and the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the politics of the big two players. Nonetheless, these political parties with their mostly under resourced and sometimes incongruous leaders play a critical role in strengthening our relatively young and stable democracy.
Over the last 55 years, our country has had several presidents and opposition leaders with varying leadership qualities. We have had the forceful, persuasive, action orientated, leading from the front types, and we have also had seemingly benign but authoritative presidents. One may argue that there is a third category of leaders that our country has had the misfortune of having had; the damn clueless, ostensibly intellectual, effusive and snotty.
Once again, Ghana goes to the polls in search of a PRESIDENT.  However, this time, our nation is at the cross roads because election 2012 is a so called “battle’, for the lord”. It’s a battle for the soul, values and transformation of our Country. We go to the polls to choose a President who will lead Ghana to the promise land. A president, who will not garrotte our nation, but create the climate in which our people can develop their attributes and potentialities to the full, unifying our collective energies for gargantuan socio-economic development.
Ghana, at its precipe, deserves a president who will not partition nor highlight our ethno-religious differences to establish a firm grip over the nation. Ghana deserves a president who is in tune with our aspirations and timeless values; not lily-livered but one who will roll up his sleeve, unify our diverse strengths and weakness and carry us, as a collective to socio-economic transformation.   
So how do the two main candidates measure up? Crucially, Ghana is faced with two different political ideologies and Presidential candidates with distinct personalities.
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo Addo, in his own words is a seasoned politician in Ghana and has been around for a long time. Many see this election as his last foray as he is much too old and should he lose, will not make the cut going against a more youthful and hungry pack waiting in the wings. He embodies right of centre political views and leads Ghana’s self proclaimed right of centre party.
Nana naturally by his actions and utterances believes in a class society where one group controls the means of production. According to Marxist theory, this group of people are the bourgeoisies relating to the social class that owns the means of producing wealth and is regarded as exploiting the working class.
He often alludes to a vision of a society divided between the makers and the scroungers of the nation; an inherent policy theme of the New Patriotic Party. A party and its followers who believe that the best can only come from them and nobody else and that they are the best thing to ever happen to Ghana since turkey tail (kyofie). Indeed, a very bourgeois point of view which will go very well with hot coffee/tea in the scotching Ghanaian sun.
The NPP flagbearer seems to be suffering a certain crisis of ideology which reemphasis the view that he is naturally out of touch with Ghanaian reality. He proposes a very populist secondary education policy out of sync with his party’s ideology and goes about selling it with an affected, intolerant accent and posture. Over the last four years, Nana has travelled the length and breadth of this country; suffice it to say he must have seen the countless numbers of villages and towns with none or very little educational infrastructure. And yet, for the sake of living out his boyhood dream of becoming President; he comes out with an election mantra to provide free secondary education. Moving round, the poor peasants must have asked him, ‘na school dyn no wo hin’.
Travelling across Ghana, I have heard rural folks calling on government to provide them with schools both primary and JHS. If a proper audit were to be undertaken by the Ghana education services, I have no doubt that, it will show the need to construct about a 10,000 primary and JSS to enable average levels of access to education. Similarly, I have met young people who should be in SHS but currently are not because of limited school placement. Evidently, Ghana has a shortfall in ensuring access at this level too. I believe we need about 200 secondary schools per region to ensure full access to secondary education in Ghana. Now fast forward to election 2012 campaigns and here comes Nana with his free SHS policy! So out of touch! 
Undoubtedly, his profile and life experiences reveal a lily-livered, bourgeois upbringing that naturally puts him out reach and out of touch with 98% of Ghanaians.  He was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, England, after having left Oxford under very uncertain circumstances. The grapevine has it that his dismissal was as a result of his excessive abuse of substances not permitted on a University campus. From Lancing College, and the Oxford debacle, he came down to the University of Ghana, Legon, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Economics.
On the other hand, John Mahama, was born and bred in rural Damongo, schooled the Ghanaian way and toiled like millions of other Ghanaians on a maize farm in the sweltering heat of Northern Ghana. He has a very ‘grounded in tradition’ upbringing and naturally blends well with any crowd. He understands the pain and suffering of the common man and he is one with the calculated single mindedness needed to run this nation to prosperity.
President Mahama represents a new generation of leaders who are determined to pursue good governance and help make a difference in the lives of their peoples.  Alongside President Mills, he worked very hard to stabilise a leaking economy left by the NPP. So that, with a firm foundation made towards sustainable economic development, Ghana is ready for lift off when he wins his own tenure of office in a matter of 12hours. May God bless and reward his effort.
Undoubtedly, President Mahama is the type of leader Ghana needs today. He is humble, not snobbish, easy going, intellectually capable and a unifier who will keep this great nation together beyond this election. Ghana deserves youthful, measured and commonsensical leaders not leaders who feel it’s their entitlement to lead the nation at all cost regardless of the consequences. ‘All die be die comes to mind’.  I believe Nana Addo’s all die be die mantra and the NPP’s failure to denounce but rather celebrate it, and his snobbish nature will be the underlying determinant for losing middle Ghana; the class between the bourgeois  and the proletariat.
Furthermore, in my opinion, there is only one political tradition which seeks and adheres to the doctrine and intent of the fourth republican constitution with the vision to ensure equality of opportunity, freedom, justice, probity, accountability and prosperity for the people of Ghana. Evidence of this abounds in manifestos and the plans and actions of this political tradition since 1992. The NDC, for me with John Mahama at the helm, will take Ghana where it deserves to be.
God bless Ghana.

Gameli Kewuribe Hoedoafia
Croydon, UK

Sunday, 11 March 2012

RE: Nana Addo’s Free SHS to cost $150m in first year of implementation - The Deceit of NPP

The NPP as a political party has over the years presented itself as the intellectual, competent, being there, done it all, party in Ghanaian politics. Therefore, it came as a huge surprise to me when on the BBC Hard Talk programme recently; their flag bearer was unable to disclose how much it would cost and where the money was going to come from for the implementation of his gargantuan free secondary school flagship campaign promise. To hide his embarrassment, Nana chose shameless bravado, ‘I prefer to disclose that to the Ghanaian people first’- every discerning Ghanaian who head him knew he lied when he said they knew how much it would cost, albeit his demeanour and body language saying the opposite.
As a result of his insistence on telling the Ghanaian people first, I was salivating over the prospect of another major policy statement splashed all over the rented Ghanaian press. To my utter disappointment, even before his arrival in the country, figures are released to the Ghanaian public, without any indication as to how the figures were arrived at and more importantly, detailed projections on how and where the money was going to be mobilized from for such a policy.
The NPP and its flag bearer have been talking about their flagship campaign policy for the past 5 years without giving an indication as to how much it was going to cost the Ghanaian tax payer and yet no Ghanaian journalist or institution had bothered to take them to task? It takes a foreign journalist with a much higher standard of training and journalistic values to force the NPP to come out with any indication as to how much the policy will cost. If only we had just two of such journalist in Ghana, our country will be in a different league.
I agree that, if free secondary education is achievable whether in the short term or long term, we need to be bold to go for it. However, I must say the projections from the NPP are not thought through properly; the figures that have been released are hasty and an attempt to cover up the fact, Ghana’s so called intellectual, big brains party has been caught napping. According to the NPP, their universal secondary education (USE) policy is estimated to cost $150million in its first year of implementation, rising to about $400 million in subsequent years. The initial amount is expected to be for payment of boarding and lodging for the students as well as the expansion of infrastructure in the various secondary schools across the country as tuition fees are already catered for under the current policy.
In rolling out a policy of such magnitude, one would have expected that initial costing will not only be for the payment of boarding, lodging and infrastructure. We need comprehensive analysis which include projections for the above as well as capital expenditure external to the physical environment of a secondary school. Analysis need to include investments for improving quality of education commensurate with the expected increased access. To get the policy right, means giving attention to that which has not been considered, because the policy hinges on first and foremost getting the public realm and human resource challenges out of the way, i.e adequate and professional teachers and auxiliary staff, as well as adequate equipment and furniture to meet the growing classroom populations in the early stages of implementation.
Also, consideration needs to be given from an early stage, to whether coverage needs to be extended to students in private secondary schools, some of whom are there due to limited places in the public schools and what the cost implications are for the totality of the policy. In some countries, private schools have been included to ensure comprehensive coverage as there is bound to be shortfalls in the public provision.
To implement the policy in four years requires significant expenditure in the first three years for the construction of additional classroom blocks and laboratories in all existing secondary schools, at least one additional secondary school in each District across Ghana, at least one additional teacher training college in each region, increased expenditure for the training and enrolment of tutors/lecturers for all existing and new teacher training colleges, increased expenditure for textbooks etc.
Significantly, government would need to find the money for the ‘double spine’ salaries for such new entrants on the government wage bill. These are only pre-implementation requirements for the achievement of the basic tenets of such a policy and rollout in the fourth year. These alone will eat up 150million dollars without paying for board/lodging premiums; unless we go the way we have always done in the past; go for glory, rush to implementation without getting the basics right. To say that implementation of such a policy will add only 0.6 percent extra on current GDP expenditure for education is being frankly impish. One of the areas that I can vouch will receive little or no attention is going to be the acquisition and implementation of computers and related systems which will ensure the seamless and prompt disbursement of government payments to schools and surely any delays in this area is bound to undermine the quality of education and the success of the policy.
According to the guys from IMANI, the initial projections from the NPP are rather “conservative by a multiple of nearly three, if expanded enrolment and the shift of the cost-burden of secondary education from private households to the public purse” is to be achieved. They argue that to cater for 60 percent enrolment, their own projections were comparable to that of the NPP in the first year but subsequently there are significant upwards points of departure in their projections ($1.1 billion) compared to that ($400million) released by the NPP. Comparative data from other countries suggest that realistically, such a policy could achieve close to 80 percent enrolment in the first year; which is 20 percent more than the IMANI projections.
We cannot increase access without increasing quality. It is not enough to introduce a conveyer belt of secondary school leavers who cannot read or write. Our nation will be the poorer and posterity will judge our generation harshly for standing aloof whilst such an injustice is allowed to happen. If our politicians pledge solemnly to do big things, let us hold them responsible and force them to get the basics right.  Verily, not getting these basic aspects right poses a real danger of such a policy creating a two tier educational system in the country.
The urban, well resourced schools will attract more students and bring about significant student migration and thereby increase corruption in the enrolment process, inadvertently defeating the intentions of the current computer placement regime. Classrooms in rural secondary schools such as in Yapei/Kusawgu will be empty whilst those in nearby Tamale will be bursting to the seams. We need to get these things right, let us tell the NPP to come again! Come out with the right calculations and how they arrived at them and how they are going to find the money. When there is consensus in Ghana that it makes economic sense to go down the path of universal secondary education(USE), whatever party is in government can implement the policy; and Ghana will be the better for it.

Gameli Kewuribe Hoedoafia
Croydon, UK

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Setting the Records Straight

The Crisis The NPP Left Behind For MillsLadies and Gentlemen of the Media, it is not an exaggeration when we state that there has been no government in the history of our 4th Republic that has faced the Economic Mess and Crisis President Mills inherited from the NPP upon taking the reins of power on January 7, 2009.

In addition to the global financial and economic crisis that ushered President Mills into office, the Mills led government also had to face an unprecedented budget deficit of about 15 percent on cash basis and about 22 percent on commitment basis. President Mills thus encountered astronomical arrears never heard of before in the history of Ghana and a badly mismanaged economy that brought in its wake a currency that was in free fall, inflation that had started galloping at a fast rate, a banking sector virtually strangulated with huge Non Performing loan ratios, contractors who were in disarray because they were deceived into getting their bankers to pre-finance contracts when the NPP had not provided a dime in the 2008 budget to cover most of those payments; major road contracts such as the Accra-Nsawam project were awarded without even securing a source of financing, TOR was virtually at a standstill due to crippling debts; debts which threatened to collapse the nation's largest commercial bank, the Ghana Commercial Bank.

As if these were not enough, foreign portfolio investors, upon realizing the astronomical mess the NPP left behind and how that was affecting the value of the cedi, started liquidating their investments with lightning speed which brought the cedi under even more unbearable pressure. Confidence of domestic and international investors and financial markets reached an all time low. We have not even mentioned the recklessness with which the NPP announced in the final hours of its mandate an incredible Increase in salaries as part of a Single Spine Salary Program completely oblivious of the fact that the arrears alone they had left behind virtually equaled the 35 trillion cedis, which was almost the whole debt of Ghana from 1957 to 2000- a recklessness that fortunately was realized by organized labour which rightly denounced the move. The people of Ghana will be eternally grateful to organized labour for that show of patriotism.

In a nutshell, the NPP had so badly messed up the economy and left it in a state of suspended animation, barely alive in the Intensive Care Unit.

Yet The NPP Had Inherited a Recovering Economy From The NDC

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, when the NPP came into office in 2001 they claimed they inherited a collapsed economy. They cited the year 2000 end period inflation which stood at 40 percent as one of the main evidences. They also cited the depreciation of the cedi in the year 2000 and capped it all by saying that they had inherited a HIPC economy.

We have in the past explained that if the NPP had faced a fraction of the economic crisis the Rawlings led NDC faced in the second half of 1999 and 2000, the deficit they would have left for Ghana and the arrears they would have bequeathed upon leaving office would have been impossible to compute. NPP’s so called 2008 crisis was by comparison a mini crisis. In 1999-2000, the then NDC faced a collapse in both cocoa and gold prices and a simultaneous skyrocketing increase in crude oil price (which at its height reached 153%, compared with the 100% the NPP faced in 2008). Even with the minute crisis they faced in 2008, they left behind an unprecedented 14.5 percent deficit and astronomical arrears of 35 trillion cedis. So can we begin to imagine the magnitude of the mess the NPP would have left if they had faced the Mega crisis the NDC2 faced in the year 2000.

Besides, when NPP talks about 40 percent end period inflation in the year 2000, what they conveniently fail to add is that average inflation in the year 2000 in spite of the Mega crisis stood at 25 percent. Average inflation in 2003, two clear years after the NPP took over, stood at 27 percent worse than the crisis year 2000 figure.

NPPs Lies About Inheriting A Fast Falling Currency in 2001

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, NPP's claim that they inherited in 2001 a currency that was fast losing value as a result of depreciation is again another example of NPP's superlative ability to distort the truth.

The truth is that whereas the second half of 1999 and the first eight months of 2000 saw a rapid depreciation of the cedi because of the Mega Crisis Ghana's economy faced at the time, the Rawlings' government economic management team which was led by then Vice President Mills, through astute management, weathered the storm considerably in the last four months of the year 2000 and achieved a remarkable slowing of the currency depreciation; which feat continued well into the first six months of 2001 when the incoming NPP was finding its feet in office.

Whereas the first 8 months of the year 2000 saw an average 19 percent monthly depreciation of the cedi, the last four months of the year 2000 saw only a 2 percent monthly depreciation. Incidentally, even though in 2008, the NPP did not face the mega crisis the NDC faced in the year 2000, the last four months of the NPP in power saw the same monthly depreciation of 2 percent just as the Rawlings NDC achieved in spite of the massive external shock without resorting to selling Ghana Telecom and without any external support from either the World Bank or other Development partners.

To further accentuate the point, one needs to just compare the performance of the cedi in the first few months of the NPP in 2001 (which largely shows the effects of the last months of the preceding government's economic policy) with the first few months of the Mills' government in 2009.

In the very first month of 2001 when President Kufuor had not even formed his cabinet yet, the cedi saw an appreciation in value consistent with the relatively strong performance of the currency in the last four months of the year 2000. The next five months whilst the NPP was finding its feet, the relative strong performance of the cedi continued with monthly depreciation averaging just 0.4 percent.

Compare that with the first 6 months of President Mills which largely reflect the policies put in place in the final months of the NPP in 2008. The very first month of January 2009, when President Mills had not even appointed one Minister of State, saw the cedi losing value by as much as 5.12 percent. The last time such a monthly depreciation exceeding 5 percent had occurred was in August 2000. This goes to show the scale of the economic mess the NPP had caused in the last months of 2008. February to June 2009 saw a similar trend with the average depreciation standing at 3.1 percent.

By the turn of the first half of 2009, the policies of President Mills started taking hold. These savvy and astute economic policies completely alien to the NPP, enabled a slowing down of the monthly depreciation of over 3 percent down to less than 1 percent in the last five months of 2009. The month of September was to see the start of the phenomenal performance by President Mills and his team. August 2009 saw the cedi appreciating in value by as much as 1.74 percent. In eight long years of the NPP the highest monthly appreciation of 0.87 percent occurred in July 2001 and incidentally that happened while Dr Kwabena Duffuor the current Finance Minister was the Governor of the Central Bank.

HIPC- Another Flawed NPP Excuse

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, Ghana going into HIPC is another thing the NPP throws about to justify their claim that they inherited a collapsed economy. This was just another convenient lie. The one-size-fit-all debt sustainability ratios were determined by the World Bank and IMF and on the basis of those ratios, virtually all developing countries became classified as HIPC. Some of the countries that fell into the HIPC categorization were admittedly poorly managed economically; but others such as Ghana that had consistently posted positive growth rates of about 4 percent from 1984 to 2000 did not fall into that category because of economic mismanagement but rather by virtue of the unjust economic order that ensured that prices of exports from developing countries were comparatively cheaper.

Besides, as mentioned earlier, despite the crisis faced by Ghana in the year 2000, the economy was in a good state of recovery in the final months compared with the debilitating economic crises the NPP left behind at the close of 2008. Of the two situations, if one needed truly to be described as precarious and badly in need of help then it was the Intensive Care Unit economy the NPP left behind rather than the recovering economy left behind in 2000.

Moreover what's the point of NPP taking the nation through the whole debt write off exercise and as soon as HIPC was completed, rush to borrow almost 1 billion dollar and virtually waste it down the drain with not one single major infrastructure to show for it? Again, what was the point of all the HIPC journey only for the NPP to land the economy on rocks as it did in 2008? So you see the whole HIPC excuse was just another attempt by the NPP to create the impression that the previous NDC had mismanaged the economy.

Why have we taken the time to remind the nation about the shocking depths to which NPP plunged this dear country? It's because many times, it is difficult for people to appreciate the heights that have been reached unless they understand fully the depths from which they had to climb out.

From Crisis To Hope - The Mills Economic Story

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the formidable effort needed to rescue the shattered economy the NPP left behind would have overwhelmed most leaders- but not President Mills.

Through a combination of prudent and astute fiscal and monetary policies, the Mills Economic team set about restoring sanity and consolidation into the economy. Arduous though it was, the results started showing by July of 2009. Both inflation and the rate of depreciation which from January to June had shown negative trends turned the corner in July for the first time. Inflation which by June 2009 had reached a peak of 20.74, inched down to 20.5 percent. The cedi, which from January to June 2009 had suffered a rapid monthly depreciation of about 3 percent, slowed down considerably to 0.9 percent in July.

Mills' Inflation Feat

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, many scoffed those early signs and claimed they were just a nine day wonder. President Mills and his Economic team knew better. The Inflation figure far from being a flash in the pan, continued its consistent downward trajectory and by the middle of 2010, made a historic entry into single digit. Inflation continued to drop consistently for a period of 18 long months, a feat never recorded in the history of Ghana. That’s not all, inflation has remained in single digit from June 2010 to the end of January 2012, another unprecedented 19 month long spell, a feat dreamed of by the NPP, but which in 8 long years they never achieved.

President Mills’ determination to bring inflation down and keep it low has been informed by the need to keep increases in cost of living below the growth in income levels within the economy. The same sentiments have been behind the effort to secure the stability of the cedi bearing in mind how a rapid depreciation of the cedi causes prices of imported goods to increase at an alarming rate. In no economy of the world, is it possible for prices of all goods and services to remain at the same levels over the period of three years. Even in countries with very low inflation rates, prices do still show upward movement.

Though it is the truth that prices of goods and services have seen some upward movement in the past three years, the great success chalked in the battle against inflation and the depreciation of the cedi have made the situation far better than it would have been if the alarming 18 percent inflation NPP handed over at the end of 2008 had not been contained and brought down considerably coupled with the halting of the rapid depreciation of the cedi.

Moreover, the phenomenal effort made to boost the remuneration of public sector employees through the Single Spine Salary Scheme and the effects of this on their households and near and far dependants, have in many ways brought real improvement in the standard of living of the workers and their families and a positive spill over into the broader economy as well.

The battle to make cost of living go down even further however is not solely within the control of the government. There are certain attitudes, beliefs and mindset that must change if we are to see improvement in this important area. The mindset that makes the micro/small/medium or large business unit in Ghana want to make a kill through higher pricing at the least opportunity remains a big cultural obstacle. In many places where economies thrive, the principal strategy is to place less premium on profit through constant price increase and rather put more importance on making higher profits on the back of greater volumes of transaction. The strong predisposition of the Ghanaian towards the former is one of the principal drivers of relatively higher prices within our economy. A case in point is the difficulty our banks continue to have in bringing the price of credit (i.e. lending rates) down significantly in response to the significant drop in inflation and The risk free rate (i.e. T-bill rate). Profit levels of banks would have been far enhanced if they had had the courage to reduce those prices which would have in turn spurred greater output and higher volume of banking transactions; but because of the age-old mindset of focusing on prices rather than on volumes, cost of lending continues to be high which in turn translates into higher prices of goods and services, a situation which is clearly avoidable.

Mills' Cedi Stability Accomplishment

Those who thought the July 2009 relatively good performance of the cedi was a fluke had a shock when August saw a remarkable appreciation in the value of the cedi followed by another feat not recorded in Ghana's history for several decades. The Cedi Continued back to back appreciation in value for 8 long months. Despite sporadic difficulties, this relative stability of the currency has remained from July 2009 to December 2011. And in spite of transient difficulties in first few weeks of 2012, the recent massive oversubscription of the Bank of Ghana’s 3 three year bonds by foreign investors bringing in its wake a resumption of the appreciation of the cedi, underscores the continued high confidence in the cedi and shows that over the medium term the currency stability is set to continue especially as the nation produces bigger and bigger volumes of Oil.

Single Spine Salary Challenge- Mills Met It and Managed It

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, despite the remarkable turnaround that President Mills and his team had achieved in the management of the economy, one hurdle remained and that hurdle was the obstacle that prophets of doom were certain was going to be the undoing of all the good work President Mills had achieved. It was not just the cynics that thought so but many development partners were apprehensive as well.

Navigating through the incredibly expensive and potentially destabilizing Single Spine Salary scheme would prove to be arguably one of the toughest challenges President Mills and his team had to confront. In spite of the scale of the resources that had to be found to make the exercise successful, President Mills and his team, working harmoniously with organized labour reached critical agreements not only about the new levels that each public sector organization was to be migrated to, but also the critical time period within which the full migration could be done and the astronomical arrears settled.

As a result of the brilliant manner this difficult assignment was handled, it can be safely said that public sector employees have seen an appreciable improvement in their remunerations, taking the pay envelope from about 2.5 billion cedis to about 5 billion cedis.

It is to the credit of the great leadership of Prof Mills and a salutation of the nationalistic spirit of organized labour that the nation at the close of 2011 successfully achieved the migration of nearly 100 percent of all public sector workers. It was arguably the toughest challenge President Mills faced but what a remarkable success he made of it despite the astronomical mess he inherited from the ever reckless NPP.

Ever Growing International Reserves

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, underpinning the stability of the currency has been the consistent growth in the nation's Gross International Reserves and Ghana's capacity to provide comfortably for the import of goods and services in the event of a force majeure. Gross International reserves which stood at 1.8 billion dollars at the close of 2008, have grown considerably and hit almost 5 billion dollars by the close of 2011, another significant testament of the remarkable job Prof Mills had done in three years.

Containing the Runaway Budget Deficit

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, no government in the constitutional history of Ghana before the coming into office of the NPP has ever posted a budget deficit about 15 percent of GDP. The NPP will forever be in our record books as being the group that scored that unenviable feat. While economies like Greece, Ireland etc were virtually grinding to a halt due to budget deficits in the region of 12 and 13 percent, President Mills and his team quietly set about navigating through the turbulence caused by the huge deficit left behind by the NPP. In 2009 in particular, President Mills and his team had to be on the path of consolidation which largely meant curtailing non priority expenditures especially given that revenue growth was relatively constrained by the Global economic crisis. By the close of 2009, the budget deficit was brought down to about 9.6 percent.

By dink of hardwork and competent management, the Mills-led government by 2011 achieved a remarkable containment of the huge deficit. At the time of the presentation of the 2012 budget, the budget deficit stood at 2 percent- a feat that has not been achieved in several decades.

Mills Confounding the Cynics With Record GDP Growth

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, in 2009, owing to the effects of the global crisis and the need to restore sanity through macro-economic consolidation, Ghana's GDP grew by 4.1 percent. In 2010 one clear year before the commercial production of crude oil, growth gathered pace reaching an impressive 7.7 percent. In 2011, this strong growth in the non oil sector continued; the additional impetus brought about by the production of oil led to Ghana posting a record growth of 13.6 percent, one of the highest growth rates in the world; this was anchored on a still very vibrant non oil growth. The significant difference with these high growth patterns being chalked by President Mills is that these growth levels are not just high but very healthy. Completely different from the very unhealthy growth achieved by the NPP in 2008- a growth which first and foremost was accomplished through a dangerously high deficit plus financing, which on cash basis stood at nearly 15% and on commitment basis was a staggering 22 percent plus.

An unhealthy growth which brought in its wake a rapid depletion of the nation's foreign reserves, high inflation, high interest rates, high non performing loan ratios for banks, a rapid depreciation of the cedi, shattered the confidence of portfolio investors and imperiled local contractors, their bankers and the economy as a whole. Not so the high and healthy growth rates being chalked by President Mills and his team. While NPPs growth rate was toxic and sent the economy into Intensive Care Unit, President Mills' High and healthy growth is inspiring widespread local and international confidence in Ghana, setting the stage for even more accelerated future growth, across all the productive sectors. To cap it all, is the fact that this healthy, high, sustained inclusive growth is being achieved in the midst of unprecedented sound macro- economic fundamentals.

Phenomenal Rise In Foreign Direct Investment

The healthy and high growth rates have brought in their wake, unprecedented inflows in Foreign Direct Investments and portfolio investments. The year 2011 saw the FDI inflow into Ghana reaching a staggering 6.8 billion dollars. The figure for 2010 stood at 1.28 billion dollars.

Rebasing of Ghana's GDP

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the rebasing of Ghana's GDP which was done in the last quarter of 2010 is largely a credit to the economic turnaround achieved by the PNDC/NDC, halting the years of negative economic growth, setting into motion a far-reaching economic/financial recovery and extensive reform program, followed by a painful process of reconstructing the nation's completely shattered social and economic infrastructure. This was what smoothed Ghana into a successful era of sustainable political stability and 17 years of continuous positive growth rates of the economy, spanning 1984 to 2000.

The durable and solid infrastructural and institutional foundations that were laid coupled with the far reaching reform processes undertaken provided the strong anchor that irreversibly prepared the stage for the continuation of the growth of the economy from 2001 to date.

NPP’s Spurious Claims That We Attained Low Inflation Only Due To Low

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, confounded by the impressive performance of the economy under President Mills, especially the record breaking continuous reduction in Inflation, the NPP has over the last several months tried hard to create the blatantly false impression that the macro-economic stability was on account of lower expenditure on the part of government. The evidence however shows the contrary. Even in the year 2009, when it became critical to hold down expenditure in order to restore economic sanity following the utter recklessness of the NPP in 2008, government's expenditure exceeded the 2008 expenditure. In the year 2010, expenditure went even higher because of the introduction of the Single Spine Salary Scheme and the need to start paying a huge part of the 35,000,000,000,000 old cedis arrears.

Containing expenditure in 2010 was a tough challenge, hence the comparatively higher budget deficit that year. Yet, the NPP conveniently closes its eyes to these naked truths and claims that it is because government has not been spending that inflation and the cedi have been very stable. The 2011 expenditure patterns again confirm that government expenditure over the three years of President Mills has been buoyant. Records at the Ministry of Finance show that the total budget allocation to the Ministry of Defense covering the period 2009 to 2012 stands at a little over 600m cedis compared with the total of 481m cedis which represents the total resource envelope allocated to the same ministry during the eight long years of the NPP. This shows that President Mills in his first term alone has allocated far more to the Ministry of defense than NPP did in 8 years. Similar trends exist in many other sectors as well. Yet the NPP continues to throw dust in the eyes of Ghanaians with Spurious claims that President Mills is not spending. Incredible!

Debt Stock- Sustainable & Invested Into Productive Sectors

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the rising debt stock of Ghana under President Mills has been one of the issues that the NPP has been making a lot of noise about. The truth however is that Ghana's total debt when viewed against our GDP is very sustainable and poses no threat at all to our country. This view is completely supported not just by the IMF and the World Bank but by virtually all international credit rating agencies and the international financial markets. The recent massive vote of confidence from the IMF, when it corroborated Ghana’s need for a non-concessional borrowing threshold of up to 3.4 billion dollars, is yet another massive endorsement of President Mills. It shows that at even at the global level there is consensus that the President and his team have been savvy in the management of the nation's debt just as they have been astute in other areas of the economy like inflation, currency stability, growth, budget deficit etc.

NPP has out of desperation resorted to playing to the gallery, screaming out the quantum of the domestic and external debt stock, hoping against hope that the mere mention of the total debt will frighten Ghanaians and make them think the economy is being mismanaged. What they have conveniently glossed over is the fact that what matters most is the efficient utilization of the monies borrowed; and on that score, President Mills and his NDC are light years ahead of the NPP.

A case in point is how the NPP utilized the very expensive almost one billion dollar Eurobond money it obtained at the close of 2007. For a bond that Ghana has to retire in the next five years and whose interest rate is a high 8.5 percent, the NPP cannot today point to one major infrastructure that the money was used for. They should point us just a single road, or bridge, or housing facility, or water system, or energy infrastructure, or school, or hospital that the money was used for. In line with their obsession for kickback induced procurement politics, they ignored real long term infrastructure investment and rather spent these enormous resources into procuring locomotives (at the time the railway tracks were not existent), prepaid meters, Anglogold shares and used part of the money to pay salaries among others. How very sad!

Compare NPPs Use of $750m Vrs Our Plan For The $3b

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, let's compare this inexcusable expenditure of the NPP with the plan President Mills has detailed for the 3 billion dollar facility. Another massive difference is the fact that whereas NPP did not even bother to get detailed feasibility studies in place before rushing to borrow the almost 1 billion dollar facility and therefore proceeded without any proper plan to wantonly dissipate it, President Mills has ensured that every single project to be financed by the 3 billion dollar facility has detailed feasibility studies to ensure that the nation derives maximum economic returns from the facility. So for instance the detailed feasibility of the Gas Infrastructure alone indicates that the return on investment from that alone can pay off the whole 3 billion dollar facility in a few years. That's the difference President Mills brings.

President Mills is therefore pushing for the critical investments that will provide accelerated and sustainable economic growth and transformation going forward. Besides, it is quite an irony for the NPP, a party that at the close of 2008 left arrears alone amounting to 35 trillion cedis (almost close to the total debt stock of Ghana from 1957 to 2000) to want to even pontificate over huge debt stock. NPP should be the last group to speak about huge debt stock. They simply do not have the moral authority.

What has the Debt Stock Accumulated To Date Been Used For?

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, another familiar refrain these days has been: “Show us what all those debts approved have been used for.” And this request is coming from a political party that spent 8 long years in government and whose leading members were in both the executive and the legislature. In the first place, though they very well know that a loan approved in parliament does not mean a loan disbursed, they deliberately mislead the people of Ghana by throwing about the total loans approved in parliament and asking where the projects are even though they are aware that even as at 2012 there are still loans contracted way back in 2006 that have still not been fully disbursed and therefore completed projects from such undisbursed loans could not be shown.

They also deliberately ask to see the projects even though they know that not every loan approved goes into visible infrastructural projects like roads- this is because many loans go largely into building the critical institutional and systemic capacity needed to achieve optimum returns for the country. They also do know that many projects do take years to complete as can be seen from example of the recently commissioned N1 Highway that took almost four years to complete.

But the proof of some of the things we used the loans for abounds. Huge part of the loans we borrowed domestically have been used to among others, pay off the hydra headed TOR debt the NPP left behind, pay the huge road and non-road arrears left behind by the NPP and notably cover the shame of the NPP in starting major road projects, aka the Gang of four roads without even having the presence of mind to secure a stable source of financing for the projects.

We will also before long at a future press conference that will deal with social and economic infrastructure, give extensive information on many of the physical projects that other loans contracted are being used for.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, in addition to all this has been the astute debt management that has been deployed under President Mills' leadership that has made cost of domestic borrowing become cheaper with the 91 day T- Bill dropping to a historic 9.1 percent by the close of 2011. There has also been a systematic program to de-emphasize shorter dated government paper and shift more towards the 3 and 5 year bonds, which give the nation some vital savings. This correction of the yield curve has also prepared the nation towards the successful future floatation of 7 year and possibly 10 year government bonds and the establishment of the critical benchmark that will make the corporate sector float similar long term bonds; which development holds transformational promise for Ghana because the raising of long term capital to power the long term needs of our country remains one of the key challenges to overcome.
Other Remarkable Feats Chalked By President Mills

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, within the space of three years, President Mills and his economic team have chalked other significant feats a few of which are worth mentioning here briefly:

Cocoa Volume Record

President Mills in 2011 achieved the enviable record of one million metric tons of cocoa one whole year ahead of the target- another first. Significantly also, cocoa production under President Mills is growing in leaps and bounds in so many different regions at the same time showing desirable geographical diversification. For instance, cocoa production in the central region has increased tremendously from 37,000 metric tons in 2007 to 80,000 in 2011. Measures include using approved chemicals, supplying of hybrid cocoa seedlings, and constant education of farmers and replacement of aged cocoa trees.
Record Feat In WAMZ Convergence Criteria

For the first time in the history of Ghana since we joined the West African Monetary Zone Ghana at the time of the budget 2012 presentation had met all four primary convergence criteria. Inflation in single digit, budget deficit less than 3 percent, three months of import cover and lastly central bank financing not exceeding 10 percent of the previous year’s tax revenue. President Mills scored four over four where the NPP in 2008 scored zero out of four. President Mills thus clocked 100 percent, a feat NPP never achieved.

Petroleum Price Hedging Program- Revolutionary

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, President Mills and his economic team possess not just competence and skills but also vision and courage. In 2011, the price of crude oil exceeded the 120 dollar mark just as it did in 2008. But Ghana hardly experienced the turmoil that was experienced under NPP, even though we did not have the fortune of having the price of crude oil dropping to below $40 as NPP experienced in the latter part of 2008.

How was this done? President Mills had the vision, courage and astuteness to implement the revolutionary Petroleum Price Hedging program. Confronted with same option in 2008, the NPP Minister for finance said he would not adopt a hedging option because he might go to jail. So, there again is the difference between us the NDC and the NPP- we genuinely care about the well being of our people and would courageously explore all options and employ our utmost competencies to optimize the welfare of our people.

Oil Revenue Full Disclosure- Integrity At Work

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the year 2011 did not see massive volumes of oil produced. The amount obtained from the first year was originally thought to at least reach the one billion dollar mark- that was not to be. But one significant feat that was achieved under the leadership of President Mills was the absolute transparency exhibited because the President in line with his utmost commitment to openness and transparency, stopped at nothing to ensure that the petroleum revenue management act was crafted in a manner that will send a message to the whole world that Ghana was truly a beacon of transparency and an inspiration to the continent. That's what obtains when a nation is led by a leader who wants to lead by example.

Busting Ghost Names On Payroll- Mills Succeeds Where NPP Failed

For decades, the issue of ghost names on the payroll system has proved impossible to resolve. The NPP in eight long years huffed and puffed about the issue and could do nothing about it. Enter President Mills and his team! The NDC had the vision and the competence to put in place a sophisticated biometric verification to start first with pensioners' payroll and then scale it up from there to cover subvented organizations and then other public sector employees. The audit of the Pensioners payroll done in several regions so far has disclosed that a sizable 38 percent of names on the pensioners' payroll are illegal names. Thus, substantial savings have been made and more significant future savings will accrue when the exercise is scaled up. This is another demonstration of President Mills' visionary and competent leadership. Attributes totally alien to the NPP in eight long years

Challenges Still Remain to Overcome

Having said all these, it will be disingenuous on our part to create the impression that Ghana has suddenly turned into a paradise within the space of three years or that every single plan or promise has been fulfilled by Prof Mills and his economic team. Even the president of the US, Barrack Obama, can't make that claim despite the wealth of America. Not even China, the world's fastest transforming economy can boast of that accomplishment. If these rich and powerful countries even have difficulty fulfilling every economic aspiration of their citizens, how much less a developing country that has just recently made a transition into the lower rank of the middle income countries and is still striving to meet all the Millennium Development Goals?

Apart from the obvious resource constraints that pose a major challenge, there are also massive institutional and attitudinal constraints that have to engage the collective attention of our people from top leadership to the lowest groups on the social ladder if we are to achieve our collective dreams faster.

Levels of Employment and Money In Peoples' Pocket

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, the recent happenings in North Africa and the Middle East have highlighted the crisis of especially youth unemployment that is sweeping across the globe and especially the developing world. Even the US and the Euro Zone have and continue to be hard hit by a wave of acute job losses. The situation in Ghana has been no different. Despite the strong growth of the economy especially in 2010 and 2011 with the attendant opportunities that this strong growth brings in the services sector, cocoa and agriculture in general, mining, construction and now oil and oil related businesses coupled with opportunities that have become more available within the informal sector, levels of unemployment admittedly continue to be relatively still high and require a lot more efforts.

There are no quick fixes though but the age-old need to continue to work hard to achieve faster expansion and growth of the economy which would open up more employment opportunities. Job opportunities are created as existing businesses, in line with growth of the national economy, also see expansion and profits. The truth however is that far more expansion and employment would have occurred if cost of credit had come down in line with the marked drop in inflation, policy and T Bill rate between 2009 and 2011.

The massive infrastructural projects envisaged in 2012 are expected to generate a good number of short to long term jobs as the range of completed infrastructure provides a boost to business and attracts increased investment.

An initiative such as LESDEP aimed at providing equipment and skills to individuals to set them successfully on the journey of basic entrepreneurship is one of the main ways through which job creation opportunities are being boosted. If NPP had even a fraction of this idea and implemented it when it was confronted with massive unemployment the rate of joblessness would have been addressed.

LESDEP at the moment has provided equipment and training to 10,000 people thus setting them on the road to self-employment and productivity. Other initiatives such as Youth in Agriculture, National Forest Plantation Development, Ecobrigade, have so far employed 100,000, 20,000 and 10,000 people respectively.

NYEP has also increased the numbers under employment from 100,000 to 200,000. Add to this the thousands of recruitment by the Police, Army and other security forces, and also the civil service and the ever expanding private sector and it is obvious that efforts are afoot to find address what has become a global challenge.

In the 2012 budget, another far reaching initiative designed to leverage the entrepreneurial capacities of young people themselves and pool such into the forming of a forum for entrepreneurship, innovation and employment designed to unlock the innovation and entrepreneurial abilities of young people through peer group ideas/experience sharing and guidance, is another audacious move aimed at unleashing employment among young people and consequently put more money in the pockets of young Ghanaians and their families.

If only the NPP had a fraction of these ideas the number of unemployed youths would have been reduced in their eight long years. Employment would have been more boosted also if NPP in 8 years had the presence of mind to use precious resources to boost infrastructure. For instance had they striven to attain the nearly 20 percent rural electrification President Mills has chalked in 3 years instead of the mere 11 percent they recorded in eight years, great boost to rural employment would have resulted.

More employment would have been boosted also if instead of wasting the massive 750m dollar Eurobond money on useless stuff and dissipating several other hundreds of million cedis on a luxurious presidential palace and other such unprofitable experiences, they had instead invested in real productive infrastructure as Prof Mills is doing at the moment.

So it is a fact that challenges remain as the case is all over the world, but real smart efforts are being made to tackle them and the second mandate of Prof Mills once secured would see the flowering and fruition of a lot of the precious seeds that are being currently sown.

What NPPs Elephant Size Arrears Cost Ghana

We emphasize for the umpteenth time that much more could have been accomplished but for the monumental mess left behind by a reckless NPP regime.

Below is just a little gist of some of the things Prof Mills would have additionally done for Ghana had he not had to use a colossal 35 trillion old cedis to pay off NPP’s reckless arrears.

With 35 trillion cedis President Mills would have additionally delivered any of the following:

- 12,500 (6 classroom blocks) which translates into 74 of such classroom blocks for every district

- 43,750 CHPS compounds (257 clinics per district)

- Rural electrification in 9000 communities that would have provided electricity for 4.5 million people

- 1.3 million km of feeder roads- 7625 km of feeder roads for every district

- 290,000 plus boreholes

- 200m cedis promised as seed money for SADA could have been provided 17 times over.


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, In conclusion, we want to say that President Mills has endeavored to achieve for Ghana within the space of three years what the NPP in eight long years dreamt about but never achieved. Despite the monstrous arrears and debilitating economy NPP left behind, President Mills and his team have delivered the following 12 cardinal accomplishments among others.

- an unprecedented low inflation rate. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented stability of the currency. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented gross external reserves. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented single spine salary scheme. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented low budget deficit. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented GDP growth. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented one million metric tons of cocoa. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented revenue to GDP feat ever chalked in a year. Yes We Have!

- an unprecedented feat in the Convergence Criteria of the WAMZ. Yes We
- an unprecedented Petroleum Price Hedging Program. Yes We Have!
- an unprecedented rise in FDIs and Portfolio investments. Yes We Have!
- an unprecedented transparent scheme for the management of the petroleum revenues. Yes We Have!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, if the Mills led government has done all these in three short years, despite the crisis left behind by the NPP, how much more shall President Mills and his team not do when given a second mandate that will be not be characterized by the Elephant-Size Mess NPP left behind for Prof Mills.

Source:NDC Setting the Records Straight

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

RE: We'll Kill to win Power – Karbo

London, 6th of February, 2012: NDC UK/Ireland Youth Wing Reacts to Anthony Karbo

On Friday, 3 February, the youth wing of the NDC UK/Ireland chapter read the daily democrat news report on Ghanaweb with momentous apprehension. In the said news item the National Youth Organizer of the New Patriotic Party, Anthony Karbo is reported to have stated that the NPP is desperate to see change and desperate to see the presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo. He further states that, the NPP youth would not hesitate to crush anyone who tries to thwart that effort. The party, he said, would use all possible means, foul or fair to capture power. He encouraged the youth to be militant saying that “If the Egyptian and Tunisian Youths could do that, then we can also certainly do it”.

Members of the youth wing of the NDC UK/Ireland Chapter call on our colleagues in the NPP and all Ghanaian youth to denounce such calls on them to be violent and take up arms against their compatriots. We further call on all youth especially the youth of northern Ghana not to allow themselves to be used as tools by politicians such as Anthony Karbo for their selfish political aims.

It is unconscionable that a National youth organizer of a political party in our good country Ghana is indulging in such recklessness for political expediency. We want to point out to the NPP that the issues and political atmosphere which culminated in the arab spring in the middle east are not comparable to the political situation in Ghana. We recognise that the NPP is trying to use the arab spring as a template to whip up a violent political storm that would mar election 2012 and disturb the equanimity and recognition that Ghana currently enjoys. We are well aware of the intentions of the NPP to use violence as a tool to broker a power sharing deal should their flag bearer come short once again as he is destined to. We call on the security services to be extra vigilant and to begin to prosecute individuals who try to use their political platforms to incite hatred and violence in the lead up to election 2012.

We want to reiterate the view of our national youth organiser that Anthony Karbo's comments are unacceptable, ill-informed, malicious and have no place in the body politic of our nation. We urge all NPP youth to be law abiding and desist from acts which could breach the peace of the country ahead of election 2012.

We call on civil society, the clergy and religious groups, chiefs and other opinion formers and leaders in our country to join us in calling on the parliament of Ghana to clarify and where absent to enact laws that will ensure the prosecution of people who incite and indulge in actions and pronouncements that are inimical to the peace and stability of mother Ghana.

Scripture says by their works ye shall know them. The NPP only last week organised an interdenominational crusade aimed at presenting the view that they are God fearing and yet their crusade is immediately followed by such pronouncements leaves very little doubt about their true political intentions.

We believe that Ghana deserves as never before, political leaders who are measured thinkers, thinkers of great thoughts. Our country deserves doers, doers of great deeds, deeds and pronouncements that are exemplary. Of what use is the education of Anthony Karbo and his cohorts in the NPP, if they as political party leaders cannot help our country in her hour of need. Mother Ghana, in 2012, more than any other time, needs all of us, educated and uneducated, youth and non youth, to join forces in ensuring her stability and socioeconomic development beyond election 2012.

Gameli Kewurabi Hoedoafia (Youth Organiser)
Youth Wing, NDC UK/Ireland Chapter
Suite 12775, Second Floor
145-157 St. Johns Street
London EC1V 4PY

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Is Nana Akufo Addo Bisexual or is he Protecting Someone within?

To borrow the words of David Field, discussing homosexuality today is like fitting a plug to the lead of a lamp without being able to turn the current off first.  Without insightful, talented knowledge, skill and enormous political maturity and care the risks of disaster are high.  All too often, more heat is generated than light. I am tempted to believe that the fear of putting another foot wrong, the risk of compounding the woes of a ‘popular’ but intrinsically damaged and scandalous political persona; has browbeaten a recently buoyant ostentatiously bungling political elephant into a suricata suricatta.  The shining light of Ghana’s political opposition, who assert intelligence, intellectualism and charisma to himself has been caught pants down in mire, inevitably through his own think big, talk big, deliver little mantra. Nana Addo’s failure to address the burning issue of homosexuality and the Cameron ultimatum sodomises his president in waiting posture and raises new questions about his character.

In Ghana’s young political history, Ghanaians have rightly taken to leaders who have seized the mantle, willing to risk all for their conviction of a free, independent nation. Ghanaians have overtime carved a place in their hearts for leaders who are willing to galvanise the energy, spirituality and power of the masses to assert our nations pledge to rid oppressors rule with all our heart and might. Kwame Nkrumah during the fight for independence, Jerry John Rawlings during the revolution and uprisings of the late 70’s, early 80’s, and today, we have President Mills; a son of the nation who inherited a socially hopeless, economically near collapsed state, burdened with debt and deliberate state corruption. A man, who in two and a half years has set this county on the path to significant economic stability and set to achieve economic growth unparalleled by any other world nation in 2012.

Our president, showing significant leadership that is in tune with the spirit and embodiment of his people, took on the neo-colonial ultimatum of a fledgling UK Prime Minister, struggling to assert himself within his own country, party, regional body (EU) and as a world leader. Who needs the commonwealth anyway; that absolutely obsolete derelictus of a body, clutching at the straws of acceptance in a new world order.  I stand to be corrected, but I believe President Mills, is the only sitting President across Africa and the so called out of tune commonwealth nations who responded directly to the intellectually limited UK Prime Minister who spoke out of turn not bothering to contextualise the cultural, moral and religious sentiment of his intended audience as far as the subject of homosexuality was concerned.

Tellingly, our president spoke and all of Ghana was overjoyed except for one individual; our big thinking, big talking main opposition leader. He had to wait to fly to a summit in the UK, meet with David Cameron in private and we are told by his general secretary that he “took the opportunity to firstly talk about the gay matters that have been pervading the country [Ghana], " adding that “Nana Addo expressed the sentiments of the people of Ghana by stating that our cultural and religious framework should not be disrupted by foreign powers especially coming from Mr. Cameron.” What a load of tosh!  Nana Addo has been all over the place like a plague, looking for platforms to deliver headline making political speeches and yet over an issue that elicits and commands very strong cultural sensitivity; he can only be found under the dining table of Mr Cameron, competing with the cat for the crumbs! What a sad, sad situation! What sort of leadership will such a desperate la-di-dah of a person offer Ghana? Knowing that there is an election coming up, for which he is already beating war drums and wants to win at all cost; he needs an ally in David Cameron should the sticky fingered neo-colonialist decide that Ghana is their next target for invasion.

Nana Addo claims to believe in Ghana. On his facebook page he urges all Ghanaians to “have BIG faith, dream BIG, think BIG, act BIG.” He says that “to believe in Ghana is to be proud of Ghana's rich diverse culture, customs, traditions and history. To believe in Ghana is to be devoted to her welfare and freedom. It is to stand up in defence of the state even if, in dissenting, you offend the temporary custodians of the state”.  These are the words and conviction of the man who sees himself as a president in waiting. However, in keeping with his proclivity for anticlimax, he builds us up to crescendo with his very bold, loud speeches and phrases and without warning, deflates the balloon with the urgency of a manic depressant, letting Ghana and all his supporters down. It must be such a rollercoaster ride supporting the NPP under Nana Addo. He is the leader without bottle, without the akukudro to put his money where his mouth is. Ghana deserves better and it will be a great travesty to ever give this man the opportunity to run our truly beautiful country with a history of courageous leaders. It will be an anticlimax in our nation’s history. If Nana truly, believes in Ghana, then he must stand up on a podium in Ghana, denounce and ‘chide’ David Cameron openly, loud and clear for Ghana and Ghanaians to know once and for all that electing him some day in the distant future, will not be a vote for homosexuality in Ghana.

Interestingly, there is another school of thought which holds that, Nana’s failure to openly address the issue of homosexuality in general and in relation to Cameron’s ultimatum; has to do with his own sexual preference and/or that of some key members of his inner cycle. There is a famous akyem proverb which says that ‘a man doesn’t throw away his child, even if that child is a snake’. Rumours have it that very prominent members of Nana Addo’s campaign team are ‘shitus’ and a family member also indulges in lesbianism. If these rumours are true, then once again the man is caught between a rock and a hard place; what should he do, denounce and risk the wrath of his inner cycle which undoubtedly will have implications for his presidential ambitions. Or come out in search of futility, to make a bold stance on an issue for which he has already lost the high ground to the President. This is where like Ama Atta Aidoo, Akufo Addo asks the question ‘Shall I go to Cape Coast or to Elmina’? Nana Addo’s hesitation stems from both these arguments.

Therefore, if these rumours are true as in the case of his drug use and penchant for womanizing as reported by wikileaks; then the man must stand down as flag bearer and give way to Kyeremanteng. Believing in Ghana is not to burden it with baggage and a miasma of smoke. Ghana, at this stage in its history, needs insightful, bold, decisive, sober and responsible leadership as offered by Prof. Mills. I believe in Ghana, I believe Ghana is moving forward in the right direction under the NDC and President Mills. Hence, there is no vacancy for a morally corrupt politician who is unable to read the mood and desires of his people. Typical of all bisexual humans, there is a crisis of identity and preference, thus our country will truly be ‘all die be die’ in the hands of a lose bisexual cannon. Nana Addo, clouded by his selfish and poorly conceived posture of entitlement has by his usual inability to act decisively exposed another incurable weakness of his being. Ghana is not ready for a sexually and morally perverse President. God bless Ghana.

Gameli Hoedoafia
Croydon, Surrey
United Kingdom