National Democratic Congress USA branch (NDC USA) emphatically rejects self-serving statements and outright innuendoes by the opposition NPP-USA in its Press statement of Wednesday, June 24th, 2009, as widely published on the upcoming visit of President Barack Obama to Ghana.
In the course of nefarious e-mail ˜conferencing NPP-USA engaged in and allowed discussions aimed at discouraging the White House from proceeding with the historic visit.
The opposition NPP-USA seeks to malign others for their own membersâ€™ sentiments expressed without disclaimer from the executive. However, they curiously admit after exposure that such discussions inimical to enhancement of good relations between Ghana and USA by the visit of President Barack Obama have indeed transpired. Their untenable claim is that since the statements made were not by the Executives, NPP-USA cannot be held responsible. We, of the NDC-USA wish to say categorically that the NPP-USA is ultimately responsible for discussions or comments that take place at meetings, virtual or otherwise, they organize for their membership, particularly where they fail to rein in outrageous sentiments or comments.
The press statement in question also wrongly alludes to the current NDC administration as being inactive in the face of the deteriorating state of the Ghanaian economy. The obvious question the latter raises are, how did Ghana economy get to this state of affairs in the first place; Is it as a result of the six months the NDC has been in office or it is mainly as a result of the woeful economic policies of the NPP led administration which was in office for the preceding eight years?
The NPP-USA must accept the fact that, the currentstate of the Ghanaian economy is as result of the bad policies, wasteful use of resources and corruption by their own Kufuor led erstwhile NPP administration. NDC-USA also wishes to state that, the current Mills led administration came into office in January 2009 after three unprecedented elections within one month, starting December 8 2008 to January 3, 2009. Most of the months of January and February 2009 were used for transitional work, which the outgoing NPP ministers largely boycotted.
Consequently, the NDC administration was severely hampered, since instead of receiving its briefing on the ministerial level, the transitional team had to establish the true state of affairs by engaging civil servants directly. In addition the NDC discovered a worse state of affairs than had been publicly claimed by NPP functionaries; for example the NPP had publicly claimed that the budget deficit was about 8% of GDP, this has proved to be inaccurate since figures available to government puts the figure at more than 15%.
Another case in point is the debt of Tema Oil Refinery for which a TOR debt recovery tax has been collected for years, the NDC led administration is still trying to figure out exactly what the funds collected for the payment of this debt has been used for. The organization of Ghana @ 50 is another case in point, where the original parliamentary approved figure of $20 million was more than trebled without knowledge of parliament to $77 million and still counting. An NPP MP has recently disclosed that figures quoted in dollars were not taken as part of the approved allotment of the initial $20 million, thus providing a blank cheque to NPP organizers to wantonly abuse.
It is perhaps even more poignant to reiterate that the extra $50 million without parliamentary approval remains unaccounted for to the good people of Ghana . The current NDC led administration continues to make discoveries of similar financial improprieties on a daily basis in all spheres of public service. The NDC Deputy Finance Minister, Fiifi Kwetey, has said that government is working very hard to fix the mess that the NPP government created in the economy.
The minister has noted that during the NPP administration in the past eight years, "there were no systems in place to reconcile revenue and expenditure when the NDC took office. The absence of such a system led the NPP government to spend recklessly and create a deficit of 15 to 20 per cent. To avoid that kind of recklessness, the NDC government, the deputy finance minister noted, is putting a mechanism in place to constantly monitor revenue inflows and expenditure. The first year of the government would be used to stabilize the economy while the rest of the years will focus on growth.
To grow the economy and create the jobs promised the people during the electioneering campaigns, the government, Mr. Kwetey said is placing emphasis on the agriculture sector. He stressed that rapid growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors should create adequate jobs and expand the economy to create more opportunities." Furthermore, monetary policies put in place aimed at stabilizing the cedi has resulted in the cedi's valueremaining stable recently.
As the law enforcement agencies investigate such cases, the Mills administration has reiterated its position and made it manifestly clear that no human rights abuses would be tolerated. Contrary to claims made by NPP-USA that the current NDC administration has done nothing, we wish to remind all fair minded readers that as of today the Mills administration has finished with ministerial appointments and in keeping with the President's promise they are fewer than the number of ministers the Kufuor administration had.
Secondly, all district chief executive positions having been filled, some appointments were delayed because the constitution required that the Council of State had to be consulted and it it is perhaps useful to point out that the Council of State is in place as well. Most of the Boards for public corporation have been appointed as well. It is also worthy to note that within this short period of time, President Mills has made fresh appointments to fill most, if not all high command positions in the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police Service, The Fire Service, and other key positions in the national security and intelligence services.
The NDC government under President Mills has also taken bold steps to combat the narcotic drugs menace which was created by the Kufuor led administration and for which our international reputation as a country was seriously tarnished. The Narcotic Control Board is under going structural and manpower redevelopment in a bid to make it more responsive to the threat pose by narcotic drug trafficking and its attendance criminal ramifications in the 21st century.
The government is in the process of reviewing the single spine salary structure for implementation for all workers in the civil service, increasing remuneration and benefits for teachers, free textbooks and exercise books for underprivileged children, and free school uniform materials for underprivileged children. These are just a few of the policies that the NDC administration led by President Mills is working hard on for all Ghanaians.
It is also heartwarming to note that President Mills has drastically cut down on the number of Presidential travels, even when he travels he has reduced the number of officials he travels with (in comparison to the number of officials who used to travel with President Kufuor) and he has directed that the practice of paying per diem to the President during travels abroad be discontinued. President Mills has in addition reduced the number of vehicles in the President's convoy to a maximum of only five.
All the funds saved from these cost cutting measures are to be used in basic developmental projects for all Ghanaians. We of the NDC-USA take it as a good omen and are grateful that President Barack Obama has chosen Ghana as the first country south of the Sahara to honor with an early visit during his historic presidency. We truly wish both Presidents God's success in their bid to better the lot of their respective peoples. Thank You.
Source: Osborne K Sam, General Secretary, NDC USA
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