The Minority Caucus in Parliament, led by Hon Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, on Wednesday presented what they consider to be the “True State of the Nation Address” at a news conference in Parliament
Read the full statement below
• Last Thursday, February 21, 2013, President John Dramani Mahama delivered a regulus to this nation, what is supposed to be his work programme.
• Mr. John Dramani Mahama’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year is expected next week Tuesday, March 5, 2013. For the record, the NPP Minority group was not in Parliament, to the delight of many Ghanaians but also to the angst of some others.
To the mostly laughing and cheering NDC crowds which populated the public galleries of Parliament, the President delivered a comprehensive, bold and spot-on statement. Others were less enthused and thought it was a rehash of the NDC 2012 manifesto document with no new initiatives. Many people who listened thought the President was still campaigning.
• A President’s delivery of the message is an obligation imposed by Article 67 of the constitution.
• Article 34(2) of Constitution provides a glimpse on the contents of the message which should capture the policy objectives of the chapter 6 of the constitution. These are in the areas of political, economic, social, educational, cultural and international objectives. In particular, the address, according to Article 34(2), must relate to the state of steps being taken in respect of basic human rights; a healthy economy, the right to work; the right to good health care and the right to education.
A. THE ECONOMY
Ladies and gentlemen, evidence of the true state of the economy can be found in our everyday lives; in the industries, in the markets, and in the streets. The cost of doing business has shot up, and so unemployment in both the formal and informal sectors are widespread. High cost of living is taking its toll on all of us, and justifiably, public sector workers are demanding pay rise from government.
In brief, standards of living are falling, life is becoming unbearable, and our people are getting poorer. Public financing are out of control and the economy is in trouble, to put it simply. What are the causes of the sharp decline in the economic circumstances of ordinary Ghanaians?
First, public debt: The Mills-Mahama administration inherited a total public debt of US$8 billion (paragraph 94 of 2009 budget statement), the equivalent of GH¢9.5 billion at the beginning of 2009. Within just 4 years, this debt has escalated to GH¢33.5 billion. It means every year, from 2009 to 2012, the NDC led government added GHC 6billion to our public debt, 55% of which was borrowed locally. This means that government has been competing with the private sector for money domestically. This causes interest rates to rise thereby making it harder for domestic businesses to borrow and create jobs. The effect is that our youth are roaming the streets without employment.
Sadly, it is these unemployed youth who are expected to repay this debt some day. At Ghana’s current debt, each of us (25 million Ghanaians) owes GH¢1340, that is, over 13 million old cedis per person. This debt does NOT include the US$3 billion Chinese loan. If we include the yet-to-be-disbursed Chinese loan, each Ghanaian would owe about ¢1600, that is about 16 million old cedis. The question is, what is there to show for all these funds being borrowed in our name? Not much, except dubious payments to Woyome and Construction Pioneers, and other NDC cronies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the true state of the nation’s economy.
FISCAL DEFICIT AND ARREARS
Ladies and gentlemen, our fiscal deficit and arrears do not suggest any better state of the economy. In 2012, indiscipline in government expenditure reached levels never experienced in this country. We would recall that, in 2008, the NDC lamented loudly that they had inherited a fiscal deficit of GH¢2 billion (6.6% of GDP). Well, in 2012, this government ran an unimaginable, gargantuan, unprecedented deficit of GH¢8.7 billion (12.1% of GDP or 20% of GDP in the non-rebased era). It is the highest recorded deficit in the history of this country i.e. from 1957 – 2009. What does this mean?
It means in 2012 alone, government spent GH¢8.7 billion in excess of the income the nation generated. Government spending increased astronomically to 34.5% of GDP even though government revenues amounted to 16.1% of GDP (a gap of over 100%) for the year. Why this recklessness from an administration that claimed it would fight “profligate expenditure”? The NDC government has to answer to the point that these excessive expenditures went to finance the purchase of vehicles, laptops, sewing machines, sound systems and the many things the party lavishly distributed around during the elections. The nation needs answers because in the 2012 budget including the supplementary budget government targeted a deficit of GH¢4.7 billion i.e. 6.7% of GDP. Even that was questionable. And the figure gets bloated by GH¢4 billion or ¢40 trillion in one year!
Ladies and Gentlemen you will recall that in 2009, the NDC Government told Ghanaians the NPP Government had engaged in profligate spending and left them with a unprecedented arrears amounting to GH¢1.8 billion cedis. Guess what? At the end of 2012 the stock of arrears had increased to a whopping GH¢5.4 billion cedis (and still counting). This includes amounts owed to COCObod, SSNIT, GetFund, DACF, NHIS, road contractors, among others. The large stock of arrears results partly from indiscipline on the part of government, especially from ministries, departments and agencies engaging in unbudgeted expenditures and not the extra wage expenditures that the government is attempting to use as the reason for the reported record deficit of GH¢8.7 billion cedis. After all, additional wage expenditures account for only GH¢1.9 billion cedis of the GH¢8.7 billion cedis reported deficit.
In fact the people of Ghana want to know why the Office of Government Machinery (The office of the President), last year spent in excess of GH¢600 million or ¢6 trillion above its approved budget? What did the office of the President spend this money on. We want to know why the Social Protection Programs (SPP) spent over GHC 700 million or ¢7 trillion? The nation want to know why and how the Ministry of Youth and Sports last year spent over GH¢300 million above its budget. What has been so perfectly defined? Ye be dii keke! Is it also true that NADMO spent over GHC 300 million cedis just in the last quarter of 2012?
As a result of the huge fiscal deficit and arrears the international credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Ghana’s credit rating from B+ stable to B+ negative. Ladies and Gentlemen this is the true state of the nation’s economy.
SINGLE DIGIT INFLATION
Now, fellow Ghanaians, permit us to comment on the strange single digit inflation. Instead of dealing with the practical economic challenges ordinary Ghanaians are grappling with, government is busy praising itself for achieving single digit inflation for so long. But here is an extract from the February 2013 report of Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Committee:
• The 91-day Treasury bill rate rose from 10.7 percent in December 2011 to 22.4 percent in June 2012, and to 23.1 percent in December 2012.
• The 182-day bill increased from 11.1 percent in December 2011 to 22.0 percent in June 2012, and increased to 22.7 percent in December 2012.
• The 1-year fixed note went up from 11.3 percent in December 2011 to 22 percent in June and to 22.9 percent in December 2012.”
The question is, how come that at the time inflation is supposedly dropping in single digits, interest rates are more than doubling over a period of just twelve months? Which economic theory explains this strange observation, and in which country has this ever happened? Is it not mystical that today, while the inflation rate stands at 8.8% lending rates hover around 30%. No wonder the private sector, the engine of growth, cannot ignite its engine.
What kind of economic comedy is this?
Government must abandon this single digit inflation propaganda, stop borrowing unnecessarily and unreasonably from the domestic market, and let interest rates drop so that businesses can borrow and create jobs. People need jobs, not propaganda. People want prices on the market to be genuinely stable. Government must listen to the concerns of the people.
For most parts of the last four years, our economy has had so many opportunities, but there has been so little economic growth. This NDC government inherited an economy that was growing at 8.4% even without the benefits of crude oil export. In 2011, the crude oil discovered under the Kufuor administration came on-stream. So in 2011, economic growth was reported to be 14.4% (the same as the targeted rate of 14.4% which in itself is a rather rare occurrence). Assuming that this reported figure is accepted then a large part of this growth (over 40%) is associated with crude oil production and export).
Any good government would have been concerned about the slowdown in the non-oil sectors of the economy, but government was all over the place boasting about “unprecedented economic growth”. The NDC deliberately refused to acknowledge that almost half of the 14.4% was coming from the export of crude oil that did not result from any effort of government.
Ladies and gentlemen, the sad report is that in 2012, our economy grew by only 7.1%, both the oil and non-oil sectors put together. In the last three years of the NPP led government, 2006, 2007 and 2008, the economy grew by 7.6%, 7.5% and 8.4% respectively when commercial production of oil had not commenced. In 2012 we are growing more slowly than in periods when we did not have crude oil. It is obvious that proceeds from Ghana’s oil export are not being used to grow the economy. What proportion of the 7.1% GDP growth is oil sector generated and and what proportion is due to the traditional economy? Is the commercial discovery of oil a curse or a blessing?
But this NDC government is lucky not just for having crude oil revenues that previous Ghana governments did not have; it is also lucky to be managing the economy at a time prices of our major exports (gold, cocoa and crude oil) are at near-record high levels. What is happening to the windfall benefits?
In short, this is a government that has been so lucky to have so much resource at its disposal, and yet all the blessings have been eaten up by economic mismanagement.
Additionally, this government has borrowed much more money than all previous government’s put together. Unfortunately, there is very little to show for the huge debts we are piling up.
Ladies and Gentlemen this is indeed the true state of the nation. We have more to say about this when the budget gets read next week.
B. FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND COCOA
The true state of food, agriculture and cocoa sub-sector is one of stagnation. Real growth in agriculture has consistently nosedived from 7.4% in 2008 to 0.8% in 2011. The share of agriculture in total budgetary allocation has fallen steadily from 3.0% in 2009 to 1.9% in 2012. This has resulted in reduced food security for consumers and low productivity and income for farmers.
The production of basic food staples (cereals, legumes, roots and tubers) has seen stagnant growth in the last few years. This has reduced food security in farming communities and among the poor in urban areas. The large yearly fluctuations witnessed in the production of maize and rice and the sharp increase in the imports of rice from 395,400 metric tonnes in 2008 to 543,465 metric tonnes in 2011 attest to the deepened food insecurity in Ghana.
The steady growth in the roots and tubers sub-sector can clearly be attributed to policy initiatives undertaken by the NPP administration from 2005 onwards. The production of meat and fish which constitute the bulk of protein supply to Ghanaian consumers has been stagnant in recent years with corresponding increase in imports to meet domestic demand. Imports of livestock and poultry products have risen from about 128,000 metric tonnes in 2008 to just below 140,000 metric tonnes in 2011 in spite of the punitive levy imposed on poultry products. This requires urgent attention if protein deficiency amongst the population is to be arrested.
The Ghanaian farmer continues to suffer from low productivity because of inadequate supply of improved inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and agro chemicals) and lack of market access and farm credit. In spite of the pressing needs of the farmers, the NDC government has not adopted adequate measures to reduce the burden of Ghanaian farmers, contrary to the propaganda. Inadequate provision of infrastructure and marketing facilities is deepening poverty among farmers in our rural areas with all the social consequences. The recurrent promises contained in the Budgets and State of the Nation Addresses of this government to provide irrigation and other infrastructure have remained only a lip service.
The NDC government established the Local Premix Committees (LPC) to ensure a fairer distribution of premix fuel to fishermen to avoid artificial shortages. This policy has clearly failed as persistent reports of shortages abound in all fishing communities. The fisheries laws (Act 164 and LI 1964) designed to protect the dwindling fish stocks in our coastal and inland waters, are not being implemented vigorously for political convenience. This can only deepen the already intolerable poverty levels prevalent in the fisheries sub-sector.
The country attained a peak of one million metric tonnes of cocoa production in the year 2010/2011. This achievement was a result of policies and programmes adopted by the NPP administration under President J.A. Kufuor which witnessed the doubling of production from 360,000 metric tonnes in 2001/2002 to 736,000 metric tonnes by 2004/2005 and then to one million metric tonnes in 2010/2011.
Since the attainment of this record production there has been a fall in output to some 879,000 metric tonnes in the 2011/2012 crop season. It is indicated that production of the current 2012/2013 crop is likely to yield only 800,000 metric tonnes. This steady reduction is a reflection of the poor implementation of policies pursued by the NDC administration in the past four years.
• Unreliable supply of inputs to farmers;
• The politicisation of the mass spraying programme;
• Smuggling of subsidised inputs into neighbouring countries.
• The inability of the government to pay annual production bonus to farmers on a timely basis; and
• Delay in payment to farmers for their produce.
If these measures are not addressed urgently, there is a danger that production could decline further to the 2004/2005 levels.
As we can see from the account so far, it is clear that the state of food, agriculture and cocoa is a deplorable situation. The NDC in 2008 promised Ghanaians that by the end of 2012 they would have sufficiently moernised agriculture to assure food security for the people and dependable raw materials source for industry”. No such deed has happened. The government has to act urgently to avoid Ghana falling into the Dutch Disease with the emerging oil and gas industry.
C. TRADE, INDUSTRY & TOURISM
I. The Terms of Trade
In 2012 it is estimated that merchandise exports was at US$13.5 billion. Total merchandise imports was US$17.7 billion. These developments resulted in a trade deficit of US$4.2 billion compared with a deficit of US$3.1 billion in 2011.
As we all know the amount of money we receive from our exports is influenced by the prices of our exports, which are mainly commodities such as cocoa, gold, diamonds, and other minerals. The prices of these commodities have been relatively high in the last two years on the world market. Our balance of trade position should have improved with the high prices. The deterioration of our balance of trade position is therefore the result of indiscriminate and uncontrolled imports.
This deteriorating balance of trade position contributed in a large measure to the huge current account deficit of $4.9 billion in 2012 compared with the deficit of US$3.5 billion in 2011and the excessive depreciation of the cedi in the last quarter of 2012. As you may recall the cedi deteriorated from GHS1.10 to $1 in December 2008 to GHS1.98 to $1.0 in December 2012. It is worth noting that due to the excessive deterioration in the terms of trade the overall balance of payment recorded a deficit of US$1.2 billion in 2012 reversing the surplus of US$546.5 in 2011.
II. Internal Trade
Because of the recent free fall of the cedi a lot of local traders have had difficulty keeping their shops because of their inability to protect their working capital. This difficulty has been compounded by the invasion of Chinese and other foreigners in the retail trade. The effect is that most Ghanaian retailers are operating at losses and some have had to fold their operations. Another issue facing internal trade is the huge price differential between the farm-gate and the markets in the urban centers. These wide differentials are as a result of huge cost of transportation resulting from previous and current price escalation of petroleum products.
II. Manufacturing Performance
Manufacturing sector has been on the decline since 2008. Manufacturing share of GDP fell from 6.9% in 2009 to 6.7% of GDP in 2011and continues to dwindle. The growth in the sector was -1.3% in 2009 rose to 7.6% in 2010 but fell to 1.7% in 2011 and is expected to be below the 2008 level of 3.7% in 2012. A major cause of the dwindling manufacturing sector is the inappropriate tariff regime that does not allow fair competition against imports. It is also affected by ineffective border controls and loose inspection at the port that allows dumping of cheap goods on the local market especially from China. Other factors include lack of access to credit; high interest rates in spite of the trumpeted single digit inflation; high utility cost and the persistent intermittent power outages. The cumulative effect of these factors is the abysmally low productivity in the sector. These are the issues that need to be tackled boldly.
In the meantime, the northern region is still awaiting the 50,000 tons capacity sheanut processing factory promised in both the 2010 and 2011 budgets. The $11 million facility which has been installed is inappropriate to all intents. The sugar manufacturing project at Savelugu-Nanton; the revival of CEDECOM; the serious capitalization of SADA; the development of bauxite deposit at Kyebi and iron ore at Oppong Manse; and the industrial salt complex at Keta promised in 2010 and 2011 budgets have all proved to be empty promises.
Growth in the hotels and restaurants sector has not been encouraging in the last three years. The sector grew at 9.08% in 2008, fell to -3.8% in 2009 and saw a paltry growth of 2% in 2010 then for the first time in recent times grew at a negative rate of - 11% in 2011. While statistics for the 2012 is not available, the negative growth, indeed the recession in the hotels and restaurants sectors in 2011 points at serious difficulties faced by the sector which is one of the most promising sectors of our economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen every Ghanaian has the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities. This is provided for by article 25(1) of the constitution. The various levels of education – basic, secondary and higher education have all been stressed to be made free at some point in time.
In this direction the Kufuor government deepened the fcube with the introduction of school feeding, capitation grant, free exercise books, and one lap-top per pupil project and the eradication of schools under trees project for which in two years over six hundred and eighty (680) schools were started. The Mills-Mahama government continued these projects and in the areas of the one lap-top per pupil and the exercise books to pupils projects expanded the frontiers.
However, when they promised to expand the school feeding program to cover all primary schools countrywide they have not been able to cover 25% of the schools. Their 2012 manifesto which still emphasizes the need to expand coverage of the school feeding programme to all primary schools is an admission of failure!
What is outstanding is making secondary education free. Articles 38(1) provides that within 12 years into the 4th Republic basic education shall be free. After 12 years the state shall endeavour to make secondary education free. That is the meaning of Articles 38(2) and 25(1)(b) when read together. So when a President-in-waiting, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, speaks to this matter in the bold and pragmatic manner that he has done he is not day-dreaming. He is a hard thinker who is asserting how Article 25(1)(b) could, and must, be complied with.
The NDC in 2008 promised to “provide enough vocational institutes to absorb JSS graduates who do not gain admission to SHS or the Technical schools”. Not a single vocational institute was provided. (Ref. pg. 21 of Manifesto). Yet the 2012 manifesto re-hashes the 2008 declaration: students who do not qualify for technical or SSS after JSS will enter vocational institutes. The NDC has pledged to build in 4 years 2 technical schools in each of the 216 districts. This translates to 432 new technical schools. We live to see!
The NDC’s posture towards education since assuming office in 2009 has been characterized by stagnation, lack of vision and resourcefulness with the result that the situation in our schools have deteriorated, worsened and heading towards total collapse. In 2008 BECE pass rate of 62.12% (best in 15years WASSEC) fell to 50.21% in 2009 and to a sheer 46.93% (worse in 15years) in 2011. This is disastrous, to say the least.
The NDC has reiterated that they will reverse secondary education to 3 years in 2013 as if they had not done that already. But the two results of our 4year SHS groups clearly demonstrated improved performance compared to the 3year group thus making the choice clear.
Worse of all, for the first time this year two batches of SHS groups - 4year and 3year group - will be taking their WASSCE exam simultaneously. This certainly presents a crisis with implications for exam hall, the conduct of the exam and related admission issues of the students into our tertiary institutions particularly our universities. Yet, the government is silent about it as if all is well only for the nation to be confronted with the problem headlong.
Access to secondary and tertiary levels of education is becoming hardly affordable and thereby depriving many youth of their right to education which the constitution in Article 25(1) stresses it is.
During the 2012/13 academic year for instance, SHS fees have soared and range from GH₵500 to GH₵800 for boarders and GH₵300-GH₵400 for day students per term, mainly because government has not been paying tuition, subsidies and other grants to the schools regularly or on time, further making SHS less accessible to the vulnerable in the society. In the current academic year, fees charged in public universities were not less than GH₵1,200 per year while the private universities also charged not less than GH₵4,000 for one year. When these figures are compared to the average 2008 household income of GH₵1,217 per annum it becomes obvious that life is becoming unbearable for the ordinary person who wants to avail himself/herself of our educational opportunities. Herein lies the justification for a free SHS which also ensures a progressively universal SHS education.
LACK OF TEACHERS
Lack of teachers at the basic level continues to plague our schools. In 2011 for instance, the shortage of teachers at the basic schools hit 42,000. Only national service personnel, GYADA personnel and volunteer teachers without fundamental training in teaching were recruited to fill those vacancies and thus contributing further to the worsening of school quality assurance.
The NPP position on lack of sufficient trained teachers is to expand the present intake of teacher trainees from 9,000 by the 38 colleges of education to a maximum of 15,000. This immediate solution is feasible considering the fact that colleges like Ola, Foso and many of their kind with facilities lying idle can admit between 150-200 students more beyond their present intake levels. Only a little additional resource and infrastructural support may be needed.
To us the NPP, no better results can be achieved in our schools without putting the teacher first. Their welfare, promotion, conditions of service and their level of motivation are critical. Issues related to teacher accommodation, future housing needs and income level are our top priorities in ensuring better educated society for Ghanaians.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is not for nothing that the 1992 Constitution of Ghana under Art. 34(2) places tremendous emphasis on the ‘right to good healthcare’. In healthcare the operative word is ACCESS in all its forms (financial, geographical, quality). The NPP recognizes that the HUMAN PERSON should be central to all policies and has behind its health policy the dictum: 'A healthy people make a healthy nation!'
Following from pro-active health sector interventions over the 2001 -2008 period of the Kufuor administration, the NDC administration was bequeathed very positive environment to carry the nation forward.
The implementation of a NHIS, a College of Physicians and Surgeons, a National Ambulance Service, expansion program, including the promotion of private sector participation, in the training of all categories of health professionals from Doctors, Pharmacists, Herbal Medical Practitioners, Optometrists, Physician Assistants, Nurses and Midwives, Laboratory personnel, etc, the all disturbing environment of ACCESS to healthcare for our peoples were being tackled with positive results.
The Free Maternal and Child care and the School feeding policies of the Kufuor administration could only be deepened in sync with the above to see a continuous improvement in our health statistics.
The interventions referred to above profoundly improved access to healthcare. Out-Patient attendance per capita over the years has been improving steadily over the years, thus, 0.45 in 2000, through 0.52 in 2004 to 0.81 in 2009. This is shown by number of Out-Patient attendance as 8.32million in 2000 through 11.01million in 2004 to 19.75million in 2009.
Maternal Mortality in 2008, though reported in 2010, was 350/100,000 live births.
These interventions with the associated positive trajectory emboldened the NDC in opposition to claim in their 2008 Manifesto that, ‘Within two years in Office’, the NDC will:
1. Significantly reduce current troubling and unacceptable trends in Infant/Child and Maternal mortality,
2. Review the NHIS to provide coverage for basic healthcare FOR ALL (emphasis ours) and review the un-wieldly bureaucracy and palpable corruption of the Scheme.
The NDC II Government has quietly shelved the much promised One-Time Premium Payment Policy! The same NDC Government will be advocating for an increase in the NHIL soon – because the NPP advised it?!!
While there is the need to beef up secondary and institutional care, there is significant evidence to show the lack in the needed concerted multi-sectoral actions to stem the scourge of communicable and sanitation-based diseases.
The nation's rate of urbanization is 3.4%; the Urban population is currently 51%, but the access to improved Sanitation is about 18% in the Urban areas and 7% in the Rural areas.
From1998 - 2008 births in Ghana attended unto by skilled health workers went up from 44% to 59%. From 2000 to 2009 out-of-pocket payments went down from 47% of total health expenditure to 37%. Life Expectancy moved from 52 years in 1998 to 64 years in 2008.
Our Birth rate is now 32 births/1000 of the population whilst our Death rate is 7.7 deaths/1000 of the population. This implies an increasing population and with the improved Life Expectancy, a population that is growing older and hence the need to anticipate and prepare for the diseases of the old.
We are still confronted with the skewed deployment of health professionals, especially, Medical Doctors, such that 70% of all Doctors are concentrated in Accra and Kumasi, while only 4.2% cater for the healthcare needs of three Northern Regions.
Industrial disturbance in the health front and the lack of Trust in the Government is the order. Whilst Doctors went on a scaled industrial action and agreed to go back to the drawing board, Pharmacists have also bared their teeth. The other health professionals are also waiting on the side-lines!
The major social engineering feat chalked under the Kufuor administration, and which should make financial barrier to healthcare access a thing of the past, has been pushed unto the precipice. The 'Cash-and-Carry' of the pre-Kufuor times have been smuggled back into the system under the Health Insurance Scheme; a Scheme which was aimed at eliminating Catastrophic health expenditure! Even when the Laws of the NHIS has always frowned on payment at the point of service the NHIA appears to be flat-footed to take action.
A poorly, 'catastrophic', implementation of a Capitation Policy by way of a pilot, in 2012, in Ashanti has rather led to:
1. Back-door introduction of 'Catastrophic Expenditure'
2. Distressed health provider facilities
3. Decreased access to primary health-care,
4. Increased need for admissions, because patients seek care when they are more seriously ill,
5. Increase in Child and Maternal mortalities, e.g. for the Kumasi metropolis, there were 127 Maternal deaths that increased to 204 from 2011 to 2012; and with respect to Child deaths there were 105, 106 increasing to 118 from 2010 through 2011 to 2012. The only change in the environment was the introduction of CAPITATION!
6. Coerced Provider collaboration, since most of the facilities would fold up if they opted out of the Scheme.
Since August 2012 most Providers, i.e. Hospitals, Pharmacies, and Healthcare Suppliers have NOT BEEN PAID by the NHIA!
The NHIA is seriously indebted to the Banks. The NHIA has mortgaged all its interests and contracted loans over and above its limits.
These explain the NHIA flat-footedness in sanctioning Provider Cash collections and why many facilities are DISTRESSED and some are no more accepting National Health Insurance Cards!
In the meantime, in the midst of all the difficulties introduced by the Capitation Policy in Ashanti by the NDC Government it has proposed to roll out this Policy nation-wide!
Ghana, welcome to Capitation-NDC-style!!
G. ROADS AND TRANSPORT
Ladies and gentlemen, let us now deal with the performance of the NDC-led government since January 2009 to – date in Roads, Railways, Ports and Harbours and Aviation sectors and where found expedient comparisons would be made with the situation during NPP – led administration.
The nation’s road network suffered the worst maintenance in the history of our dear country during the administration of NDC-led government between January 2009 and December 2012.
Maintenance of our roads have not only been of poor quality and slow paced but has been of untimely interventions. This neglect has resulted in rapid deterioration of our roads.
Our roads are bedeviled with:
(a) potholes (some of which have been expanded and deepened to be ‘manholes’ as a result of neglect),
(b) very bushy roadsides reducing safety of motoring public and early failure of road edges, and
(c) severe corrugated gravel surfaces with deep gullies that have affected the comfort of most rural communities and impaired their social and economic activities resulting in increasing their poverty levels.
Even roads of economic importance such as Bunso Junction – Koforidua – Mamfe, Anwiankwanta – Obuasi – Dunkwa – Ayamfuri – Tarkwa, Anyinam – Kwabeng to mention a few are in deplorable states as a result of delayed maintenance.
Besides, roads selected for either upgrading or rehabilitation to bituminous surfacing, and others for expansion by re-construction to accommodate increased vehicular traffic volumes and reduce traffic congestions have been progressed at unacceptably slow pace. The desired levels of service these roads are to provide for the growth of the nation’s economy and reduction of poverty are therefore not achieved.
The Achimota – Ofankor, Nsawam – Kwafokrom – Apedwa Junction, Madina Junction – Pantan Junction and Okomfo Anokye Hospital Roundabout – Bekwai Roundabout – Abuakwa (Kumasi – Sunyani road) road development projects are few of such projects in distressed situation.
Road Surface Condition
This slow pace of road projects coupled with poor and untimely road maintenance have severely affected the nation’s road surface condition.
In January 2001, when the NPP-led government took over the administration of this country, the road condition mix at the end of December 2000 was 29% good, 26% fair and 45% poor. This was improved to 36% good, 28% fair and 36% poor by the end of December 2004 and a further improvement of 42% good 26% fair 32% poor by the close of December 2008. There was a significant increase of 7% points during each of the 4-year period for roads in good surface condition, in spite of the rapid expansion of the road network during the two (2) terms.
There has not been significant improvement of road condition since January 2009, only an additional 1% of the network had had surface in good condition during the whole 4-year period of NDC – led administration. The condition mix as at the end of December 2012 stands at 43% good, 28% fair and 29% poor with virtually no change in the 2008 network size.
The procurement of road works during Mills – Mahama led government was mainly by sole sourcing in spite of being in an environment where expertise for construction and maintenance of roads and related structures is in abundance. The nation is blessed with many well established and experience road contractors.
This form of procurement had failed to introduce competitiveness into selection of contractors for road works. Most of the ‘sole sourced’ contractors are only interested in the ‘interest-free’ advance mobilization loans due them from the project and after which their performance had been found to be poor and sluggish.
This procurement method did not only cause the nation to pay more than the costs Engineers had projected for such works because the contractor is at liberty to select desired rates for the work items, but had during the four (4) year period killed the activeness and responsiveness of the road construction industry. The contractors are not cautious of their performance since selection had not been based on previous performances.
This procurement style had been so endemic in the Mills-Mahama led administration that loans contracted from Development Partners and foreign financial institutions had sole-sourced contractors attached whilst Cabinet seeks Parliamentary approval. This is very unacceptable and impairs cost effectiveness of the projects since the nation spends more on such projects whose cost could have been reduced by between 5% and 10% if open competitive bidding to eligible contractors had been allowed.
Delay in Paying Contractors
The four year period of NDC-led administration had been characterized by undue delay in paying for contractor’s work done and “selective” payments to some contractors. Whilst many payments are in two (2) years arrears others are paid even before the contractual 90-day period within which payment ought to be made expires.
Many contractors cashflow had been seriously affected and had lost the trust lending institutions and creditors had in them.
Whilst it is true that previous governments had delayed in paying for work done, the Mills-Mahama regime has been the worst in the nation’s history. Contractors have abandoned projects whilst others notified the Employer of suspension as a result of undue delay in payment. Consequently, contractors laid off workers, some selling their plant and equipment and shifting from road construction into other business sectors.
The stress which road contractors have gone through as a result of poor cashflow has contributed to the illness and untimely deaths of some of them during the NDC-led administration.
The road construction industry has suffered severe jolt during the Mills-Mahama rule and the undue delay in honouring payment for work done has contributed immensely to the collapse of the industry. This situation is dangerous for the nation because only 20% of the nation’s road network have been paved (tarred), the remaining 80% are in either gravel or earth surface awaiting development.
Many road projects have been abandoned throughout the country and the people do not get the intended benefit and rather their plight become worsened.
Interest on Delayed Payment
The Ghanaian road contractor is compelled to raise invoices for interest on delayed payments in accordance with the conditions of contract. These amounts are huge and the longer the payments delay the closer these interest amounts to the contract sums of the respective projects, thereby doubling the cost of the project.
Most of the on-going road projects have therefore, become costly and eroded their cost-effectiveness. Besides, a substantial amount of the revenue of the Road Fund have been used to pay these interest amounts, putting further stress on the already inadequate revenue, a situation the nation could avoid by proper planning of projects for execution and prudent management of the Fund.
The Road Fund
Averagely revenues accruing to the Road Fund are sufficient for only 55% of the road maintenance works on a network size of 67450km since January 2009 in spite of the increase in Road and Bridge tolls since February 2010.
A large amount of the Fund, estimated at over GH¢200 million annually, have been funding major upgrading and rehabilitation works. Non-maintenance works ought to be catered for under the Consolidated Fund. Consequently, there always have been undue delay in paying for the maintenance works, currently in arrears of eleven (11) months.
Payment for pothole patching, grading of gravel roads, grass cutting, desilting of drains and culverts, the cheapest of all the categories of road works, are unacceptably delayed, killing the interest of small scale contractors who execute them.
For the past four years, the revenues from the Road Fund had mainly been used in paying for upgrading and rehabilitation of projects awarded to NDC party faithfuls at the expense of paying for maintenance and road safety works as prescribed in Act 536 1997 that established the Fund. Besides, request for releases from the Fund have not been in conformity with the approved procedure (done by text massages and verbal instructions from the Minister) and this has held up the Road Fund’s annual report for 2011 fiscal year, because External Auditors had highlighted these malpractices in the report.
Indeed, during the Mills-Mahama rule of this country the Road Fund had been mismanaged to such an extent that repayment of loan to SSNIT had to be put on halt. The Road Fund is in a near bankrupt situation. It is over-committed. As at the end of 2012 fiscal year, the Fund’s indebtedness stood at GH¢266.8 million or ¢2 trillion 668 billion cedis.
The NDC government’s much talk on rehabilitation and expansion of existing rail infrastructure especially the Western line between Awaso and Takoradi has been a mere talk.
There has not been any significant improvement on the state of the rail lines. The NPP government left USD90.0 million for rehabilitation and expansion of the lines especially the western line and paid workers all arrears in salaries before handing over the administration of the nation to NDC. We demand to know how this amount was utilized for the intended purpose.
The NPP reached advanced stages of engaging the private sector into the provision of rail infrastructure. We expect this PPP arrangement would have matured by now.
The haulage of bauxite from Awaso to Takoradi port continues to be by road in the so called “better Ghana agenda” era deteriorating part of our western corridor roads at an alarming rate.
Since January 2009 not a metre of rail line has been added except completing what the NPP started from Accra to Tema Community number 1.
PORTS AND HARBOURS
Clearing of goods at the nation’s ports and harbours has become more cumbersome since January 2009 when the NDC took over the administration of the country. The introduction of National Security Personnel at every point of examination has slowed down considerably clearing procedures at the Ports. This has brought intense congestion since fewer cargos are cleared daily.
The situation has brought great deal of frustration on the Importers and Clearing Agents. Besides, owners of shipping vessels are frustrated because of the undue delay of their vessels on reaching our ports. Consequently, the Ghanaian Ports are becoming unattractive to ship owners.
The expansion projects the NDC-led government promised to carry out at the ports have not been done. In Takoradi all the access roads to the Takoradi Port as part of the rehabilitation are yet to take off.
Since the NDC-led government took over in January 2009, clearing of goods at the Ports has become more expensive than in the era of the NPP administration. The introduction of security personnel and the consequent delay in clearing procedures and the intense congestion thereof has resulted in the introduction of two new charges, the Security Surcharge and Congestion Surcharge.
There have been many arbitrary charges imposed on the Ghanaian shippers by the Maritime Service providers resulting in high cost of doing business at our Ports. These charges have been estimated at 45% of the CIF Value of imported goods. Overall, the operations at the Port have become frustrating and have reduced patronage of our ports by our neighbouring landlocked countries.
There is generally an improvement in the growth of Aviation Industry especially in the domestic flights. This however, has resulted because of poor road surface conditions of sections of the central corridor and other trunk roads leading to the Airports, and the increasing carnage on our roads.
The Aviation Industry has one major problem, weak and failed runway pavement especially at Kumasi and Sunyani. The NPP-led government rehabilitated the Takoradi and the Tamale pavements and for the past four years of NDC rule only patching of potholes and sealing of cracks have been executed on the tarmac to ensure safety of domestic flights.
Except at Kotoka International Airport, Accra all flights close before 6.00pm since there are no runway lights in this ‘better Ghana agenda era’. How much does it cost to provide runway lights to the remaining airports?
The issue of shortage of aviation fuel, of late, puts many questions in the minds of the people and the future of the industry. Last weekend domestic flights were cancelled. A KLM flight from Accra to Amsterdam had to stop over in Lome to refuel. Other international airlines all do the same upon leaving Accra – The gateway to Africa!
This, ladies and gentlemen, this is the state of the affairs in our roads, highways and transportation sectors.
H. ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SECTOR
• Environment, Science and Technology represents a prominent growth sector of the economy and its linkage to sustainable development must assume centre stage. We do recognize that the immediate past NDC Administration re-created MEST but its focus on National Development is lack-lustre.
• Currently, the country faces enormous environmental challenges arising from illegal mining activities, that is, destruction of water bodies and aquatic life, pollution of the environment and forest degradation. Both the NDC in their 2012 Manifesto and the President in his Address failed to provide direction on how this problem can be arrested. Whilst recognizing the need to exploit our natural resources for economic benefit and maintenance of citizens’ livelihood, an NPP Administration will ensure restoration and sustainability of the environment.
• The emerging issue of Climate Change effects is neither recognized nor mentioned at all in the Address. There is increasing desertification from the Sahel zone towards the forest. Unbridled chain-saw operation and yearly wild bushfires are contributing to climate change. Increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas compels low-income earners to resort to the use of faggots/firewood as energy source and this promotes climate change. The country as part of the Global Community faces global warming, drought and flooding resulting from climate change. For example, our farmers have the difficulty in predicting the rainfall pattern for their agricultural activities due to Climate Change effect. Under NPP Administration, appropriate adaptation techniques will be pursued in response to Climate Change effects.
• The country faces land use indiscipline in our infrastructure development. Uncontrolled development is pervasive and this results in drying up of water bodies and siltation of drainage structures particularly in the cities. Government agencies are also culprit in this situation. It therefore requires Government leadership to reinforce Town and Country Planning Department to take bold and decisive action on appropriate land use to enhance the environment.
Science and Technology
• The 2008 Manifesto of the NDC promises to build two Science Parks at Aburi and Cape Coast. This has not seen the light of day since 2009. It is clearly missing in the 2012 Manifesto of the party. There is no emphasis on applied Science, Technology and Innovation as the key foundations for sustainable development of the country. Nations that have made major strides in improving the lives of their people have integrated science and technology into their development planning. Indeed, it is not adequate to indicate that the provision and distribution of four hundred thousand (400,000) laptop computers will address the key role of applied Science and Technology for development.
• The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) ought to be adequately resourced to train, research and implement research findings for commercial purposes. It is stated emphatically that ignoring applied science as a tool for national development is detrimental.
• The country is currently engulfed in filth in our cities, towns and villages. Non-biodegradable plastic waste is scattered all over. This is an indictment of the NDC Administration which promised to clear the cities of filth within the first 100 days in office in its 2008 Manifesto. The Government has not provided specific actionable steps to deal with this environmental challenge. Is it any wonder that cholera broke out in Accra in 2011, 2012 the first time in over 15 years.
I. HOUSING SECTOR
In 2005 the NDC government, in its manifesto, promised a comprehensive housing and shelter policy and strategy to focus on five critical areas viz:
• National Human Settlement Policy and Strategy
• Housing Shelter Strategy
• Urban Development
• Slum Upgrading and Prevention, and
• Rural Housing
After four years in office the NDC government has failed to deliver on any of those promise. This inertia and zero public housing delivery have resulted in the worsening of the housing deficit from an estimated one million in 2009 to one and half million currently.
The problem of housing is gradually moving towards a crisis situation and another NDC term of non-performance will bring the housing problem to the level of the energy and water crises we are currently facing under this same government. Since the shameful failure of the now infamous STX housing deal, the NDC government has not recovered sufficiently to offer Ghanaians fresh and better alternatives to the housing problem.
Till date the NDC government has failed to complete and commission the 5,200 units of housing begun under the Kuffuor administration, even though most of the units are near completion. The failure to complete these units started with our tax money constitute an insensitive waste of government resources.
A viable and implementable housing delivery system must have at least three ingredients that include a policy framework, systems and strategies to carry out the policy and stated and verifiable sources of financing the policy. The NDC has shown a lack of policy direction or absence of strategy and no indication of sources of funding to solve the housing deficit.
What really are the challenges in the housing sector, which beg for bolder and more pragmatic interventions. The following are some of the indicators of the real state of the housing sector.
• An estimated housing deficit of 1.5m units with a projected annual increase of 70,000 units
• It is estimated that 50% of Ghanaians live in substandard houses in our rural areas and in deprived inner city dwellings and other unsuitable structures
• Availability of land titles to private developers is a major constraint
• Private estate developers lack the incentives needed to partner government in delivering houses even though we were prepared to heap tons of incentives on STX, a foreign company.
• The reality is that there is no state participation in the delivery of rental units leading to high rents for the poor and vulnerable.
• The over concentration of private housing estates in Accra and Kumasi, with its attendant problems of spatially-skewed developments.
• Absence of support infrastructure like roads, water, drainage, etc in our rural areas and inner city slums.
• Five thousand two hundred housing units abandoned for parochial political reasons whilst people struggle to find nonexistent accommodation.
It is worrying to note that at a time when the nation is facing one of its worst water crisis, the NDC have failed to offer solution, leaving ordinary Ghanaians to grapple with water supply their own way possibly until some medium to long term solutions are implemented.
The current state of our water delivery system is summed up as follows:
• The Accra water supply is in shambles plagued by inefficiency and not enough investment in the last four years
• Over reliance on factory purified water by most residents with serious financial consequences for low income groups
• The threat of water related diseases like cholera in very poor communities who are the worst hit by the crisis
• The serious sanitation crisis already confronting our major cities is now compounded by the lack of running water in many communities
• Most of the rural and small town water projects under construction have stalled due to lack of funding.
• No serious attention is being paid to the ever increasing pollution and destruction of our river bodies and water sources.
Access to safe and affordable water for every Ghanaian, a right under our constitution, is definitely not a priority of the NDC governments considering the lack of sufficient investment in this vital sector.
In 2008 whilst criticizing the NPP for the power crisis of 2007 and early 2008 the NDC insisted that they “would ensure the supply of power on a reliable and sustainable basis”.
The NDC boasted that they would “ensure the delivery of energy services to all consumers in a secure, efficient, reliable, sustainable, safe and environmentally-friendly manner”. The 9 point agenda advertised by the NDC in their manifesto could not materialize and proved to be a mere electioneering gimmick.
The energy crisis we have now is the most badly handled in our history. This time, the crisis was not caused by the low levels of water in Akosombo which has been the usual cause of previous energy crisis. The energy crisis is caused by shortage of gas and financial difficulties of the VRA which makes it difficult to procure the right quantities of crude oil and diesel to bring all their plants into operation. These factors are within our control and we should not have allowed them to bring the level of energy crisis we have now.
We know that gas is cheaper than light crude but if your source of gas supply is not secured, what is important is to improve on the liquidity of VRA to procure the alternative light crude oil. The NPP government used to support the VRA to procure light crude oil (about $40m every month). This support was withdrawn by the NDC government. This, in addition to about $400m of government’s indebtedness to VRA, has crippled the company and made it difficult to procure these fuels for power generation.
The President has failed to solve this problem and is rather promising additional new generation capacity. The new generation capacity they are promising were started by the NPP government – namely – Takoradi 3 Thermal Plant and Bui hydro project, which together will add about 532 mw of generation capacity.
Before the NPP left government in 2008 three other generation projects were either completed or advanced – the Tema 1 Thermal Plant (126mw), Tema 2 thermal plant (50mw) and Kpone Thermal Plant (230mw which was 20% complete). Other private initiatives were supported by the NPP government – Asogli (200mw), Osonor (now called CENT 126mw) and CENpower (330mw) thermal projects.
But for these initiatives the crisis would have been worse. At this point, we need to ask the NDC what new investment they have initiated or made since they came to power in 2009. What is known to us is the 2mw solar power plant in Navorongo.
We challenge the NDC to tell Ghanaians what they have done so far since 2009 to address the energy sector challenges in the country.
Apart from power generation, the other cause of the energy crisis is the poor distribution network. Between 2001–2008, the NPP provided to ECG about $300m for critical investments in the distribution network. This was out of the $500m investments financing required by ECG at the time. Due to the sheer negligence of the NDC government, the investment requirement of the ECG has shot up to $600m since 2009.
Today, whenever we produce energy, about 30% is lost from the distribution network. These distribution loses were valued at $110m in 2011, representing a significant loss of revenue to the ECG.
It is not surprising therefore that investors have lost interest in signing new power purchase agreements with ECG, since they are not financially strong to pay for energy purchased. To date, all six Power Purchasing Agreements signed by ECG have not materialized.
We need to save the energy sector of this country, otherwise, the much talked about middle income status will continue to be a mirage.
Indeed when the NDC promised to increased electricity generation capacity to at least 5000 megawatts in the medium term, the truth is that they have only added two megawatts.
The other hydro projects which were receiving cabinet consideration including the Ankobra, Tano, Pra and Oti under the Kufuor government have all moved to the backburner. It is no wonder then that the nation has over the past one and-ahalf years been experiencing serious power outages which is resulting in the destruction of household appliances, buildings and markets. Industry has lost out in a very significant proportion. Above all, the “dumso, dumso” phenomenon has exacted a severe toll on human life.
On Thursday March 15, 2012, an announcement was made to the nation that the load shedding exercise was over because “all VRA plants have been restructured to run on both gas and crude oil”. The “dunso” continued after that date (ref. Daily Graphic, March 16, 2012). As second announcement was made in June by the Minister of Energy that the outages would end on by the close of June, 2012. It continued. President John Mahama added his voice on his campaign trail that power outage would be a thing of the past by mid December 2012. It continued. Today, VRA insists that the “dumso, dumso” would finally terminate in April, the President says we should hold on till ending June, 2013. What and who do we believe?
FUEL PRICE INCREASE
The recent price increase in petroleum products in the country gives a lie to the hypocrisy of the NDC. From pledging to ‘drastically’ reduce the prices of petroleum prices, we now continue to see a spiraling of those same prices as well as utility rates. The untold hardships that this increase has brought unto Ghanaians has raised hue and cry in every corner of the country, including even the NDC – sympathetic CJA leadership themselves.
At the beginning of 2009, the then Mills – Mahama government pointed in the direction of the highly disputed TOR Debt (which level or magnitude they themselves could not ascertain) as the major reason for the frequent shortages of petroleum products and so sought to use that to justify the need to increase petroleum prices. The one increase came after another even with the so-called ‘HEDGING OF PRICING’ of our expected future petroleum purchases to reduce these increases.
Then, after illegally manipulating the Petroleum Pricing formula and surreptitiously inserting in it, an Ex-Refinery Differential Levy which the NDC could not defend before the law court, the NPA was shamefully caught and then prosecuted before an Accra High Court and ordered to refund what it had illegally collected. The brash NDC has exhibited defiance of the legal system by refusing to refund the GH¢800 million ordered by the court.
Today, the NDC citing smuggling as one of the major reasons for the need to remove subsidies. The NDC further states that more funds are needed for development, particularly at the rural level like schools and clinics. But is that not why the NPP Administration under President Kufuor introduced the Social Mitigation Levy and delivered this social infrastructure?
What has happened to the nationwide stakeholder consultation and road shows which the NPP/Kufuor Administration used to introduce many major policy decisions such as the Petroleum Pricing Formula? Why was the removal of the so-called subsidy from the formula not subjected to such nationwide debates for the people to choose our priorities?
Today, there is muted discussion in the corridors of power relating to privatization of TOR. At a time when we have discovered oil in commercial quantities, the NDC government suspended the NPP administration’s planned TOR expansion project and then later halted the entire operation of TOR, reversing the lifting of crude oil back to Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), a practice that crippled TOR in a previous NDC government and is now surely doing the same.
The shortage of LPG arising from TOR’s lack of refining crude may appear to be a side issue, but the bigger matter lies in the four-year well calculated NDC scheme to grant finished products lifting permits to the NDC Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Bulk Distribution Cos. (BDC). The nation must know which high profile personalities have made such huge super profits from the lifting of finished petroleum products that they are now able to buy a strategic national asset like TOR so that they only can now refine Ghana’s crude oil.
In conclusion, we cannot but have to say that the NDC again has exhibited not only bad faith and incompetence in the management of the petroleum sector and the associated price adjustment, but also been scheming to sell a vital national asset such as TOR to its business associates.
The NPP shall stand in the interest of the people to see to it that clarity and transparency prevails in TORs Corporate Management.
THE PEOPLE MUST KNOW THE FORMULA
Ghanaians need to be given the opportunity to understand clearly the various elements, levies and margins that make up the petroleum price build up. It is only at this point that the current price increase may sound meaningful to Ghanaians. Since the increase in the petroleum price affects every facet of our economic activity, it is very necessary that prudent and objective policies are put in place to promote rapid economic growth for the country.
Unfortunately, the NDC seem to be clearly toeing a different direction with the sole aim of demobilizing the refinery which should rather be the pivot for the take-off of the down-stream expansion of the petroleum industry. The deregulation of the down-stream sector especially for the importation of finished products by Bulk Distribution Companies (BDC) who have no facilities or storage depots is one of the worst decisions taken to cripple TOR. This must stop.
TOR should be encouraged to continue its expansion programme started in 2000, (i.e. increase storage capacity, increase internal power generation, fire protection / prevention upgrade, revamp of API Separator for treatment of effluent water etc). All these programmes were intended to position TOR to build an additional refinery with a capacity of 120 Barrel per Stream Dry (BPSD). How can TOR pay for all these investments/expansion projects if it is not recapitalized?
Today the NDC is distributing BPC licenses to their business associates to dominate the petroleum import business and thereby deepen the woes of TOR. We are reliably informed that the government will be rewarding its business associates with 10 more BDC licenses this year and we are interested in following the process based on our knowledge of the legal requirements for such licenses.
PRICE BUILD – UP
Below is a full outline the petroleum price build-up as of 1st January, 2013. A critical examination of it shows that there are no less than ten different levies/ charges heaped on the prices of all the petroleum products.
A critical view shows that the Ghanaian pays fully for every product as at now. The TOR debt Recovery levy, the Road fund, Exploration, cross subsidy levy, Primary Distribution Margin, Fuel Marking Margin, Distribution Compensation Margin, etc, are all revenues coming into the government without any tangible explanation of actual use of these monies for the understanding of the people of Ghana. Where is the drastic reduction of fuel prices promised by the NDC to the people of Ghana which was even made before the discovery oil was announced by President J. A. Kufuor?
PETROLEUM PRODUCTS PRICE BUILD-UP, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2013
PRICES IN GHANA PESEWAS
(MINES/INDUSTRIAL) GAS OIL MGO LOCAL RFO LPG PREMIX UNIFIED
Ex Refinery Price 124.4000 62.1874 169.2649 134.6387 135.0542 77.9643 120.9823 35.5608 129.5700
Excise Duty 2.7800 1.0375 1.0375 1.8000 0.2945 3.2094 0.7245 2.7800
Tor Debt Recovery Levy 8.0000 8.0000 3.0000 4.0000 5.0000 8.0000
Road Fund 6.0000 6.0000 6.0000
Energy Fund 0.0500 0.0500 0.0500 0.0500 0.0500 0.0500
Exploration 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000 0.1000
Cross-Subsidy Levy 5.0000 -4.8449 -4.8449 -2.6987 -6.5587 -1.3937 -18.4042 -0.3608 5.0000
Primary Distribution Margin 2.5000 2.5000 2.5000 2.5000
BOST Margin 3.0000 3.0000 3.0000 3.0000
Fuel Marking Margin 1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 1.0000 1.0000
Ex-Depot 152.8300 65.0390 172.1075 154.3900 133.2200 83.9300 108.3027 36.3000
UPPF 5.3000 6.3000 6.3000 5.3000 5.3000 6.3000 5.3000
Marketers Margin 7.1000 7.1000 7.1000 7.1000 7.1000 5.3418 6.8000
Dealers (Retailers /Operators) Margin 5.5700 5.5700 5.5700 5.5700 5.5700 4.1801 5.5700
LPG Filling Plant/Premium/MGO local Admin. Costs 0.3000 4.7753 0.3000
Distribution Compensation Margin 7.0000 1.0000
Indicative Maximum Price (Ex-Pump Price) 170.8000 91.0000 191.0775 172.3660 151.4900 129.9000 54.2700
All Prices in Ghana Pesewas per Litre except LPG in Gp/Kg EXPORT PRICES OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS – EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2013
Us Cents per Litre
ATK MARINE GAS OIL / RIG GAS OIL (MINES)
Ex–refinery price 117.5800 108.4700 108.4700
Export duty 2.0000 2.0000
Total 119.5800 110.4700 108.4700
Besides the ex-refinery price in US Cents, all other components of the Price Build-Up for Gas Oil (i.e. Taxes/levies and margins excluding the UPPF margin) shall be applicable in Ghana Pesewas.
THE RECENT FUEL PRICE INCREASE
Reasons for the recent fuel increase by NDC is attributed world market price of crude oil which currently stands between $111 to $116 per barrel as at January, 2013. The exchange rate of the dollar to the cedi was c 1.1 to $1.0 in 2009. Today it is almost c 1.98 to $1.0 a depreciation of nearly 90%. So, one would ask wherein stands the talk of the stability of the cedi by the NDC? The actual increases in fuel price from c 1.70 per liter or c 7.65 per gallon to c2.04 per liter or c 9.22 per gallon for super and in the case of diesel from c1.72 per liter or c 9.31 per gallon shows between 20.5% to 50% in the various range of products.
It is clear that the roll-over effect in all aspects of the economy is going to astronomically affect the living conditions particularly the poor.
Government has said that the previous administration subsidized fuel and left huge debt. We are told that since this government assumed office there has been subsidies. How much has been the quantum of subsides since Jan 2009 and in particular since Nov 2011 when we had the last increment?
A look at the petroleum price build up shows that consumers are paying the full price of petroleum products. The only subsidy in the buildup is “cross subsidy” which is funded by consumers. In this regard we challenge the government to come clean on the subsidy matter. How did they arrive at the subsidy when we are paying the import parity price of petroleum? Is the subsidy against the import parity price or the exchange rate effect which are the major factors affecting the price build up.
What we suspect is that the subsidy is an accumulation of costs by the importing companies which cannot find their way into the price build up and which the government wants to justify to make payment to its business associates. In Nigeria this trend led to a high powered investigation which revealed a mafia behind this practice and this is what is happening in Ghana now.
We therefore call for a open investigation into the import issue.
We think that the need to expand TOR and recapitalize it is not only appropriate but urgent. The abandoning of the NPP’s programme has led to Ghana’s inability to refine our own crude oil (a sweet and light crude). Our refinery would have also served as a tolling refinery for Nigeria’s crude and in the near future crude oil from Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leon when we start oil production. We cannot continue to deny work to the workers while at the same time paying to keep the refinery in shape. Even though we have rendered same redundant.
K. EMPLOYMENT SITUATION
The right to work, the employment or unemployment situation in the country is another important matter which must engage all patriotic Ghanaians. The NDC came on a platform to use state machinery and resources to create jobs for the people, particularly the youth: the NDC’s strategic objective as declared in their 2008 manifesto (was) to provide every Ghanaian with a job from which they can earn their livelihoods (see page 60 of 2008 manifesto).
It is worth noting that when the propagandists of their Ministry of misInformation had stated mid-term into the Mills administration that the Government had created 1.5 million jobs their own budget of 2011and 2012 indicated a job creation of 120,000. The reality in respect of this far fewer number is even that they had, through the aggression of their foot soldiers, removed many employees especially those in school feeding, operators at toilets, lorry parks, toll booths and markets whom they considered as sympathetic to the NPP and substituted persons with loyalty to NDC. The unemployment situation is far worse in 2012 & 2013 than it was in 2008. It is no wonder two substantive ministers in the Mills administration indicated in parliament that they did not make the statement of 1.5 million job creation and that we should direct the question at the person who made that categorical statement.
The right to work according to Article 24(1) is a fundamental human right and whilst we acknowledge that as a nation we are very far away from affording this right to every Ghanaian, it is nonetheless hugely important to always direct attention and effort to address this critical issue.
In pursuit of the resurrection of Nkrumah’s ‘Work and Happiness’ slogan the NDC in 2008 promised to initiate and launch an Employment Policy that would seek to reduce unemployment to the barest minimum. Unemployment has skyrocketed in particular since there were no net new employment in conformity with the conditionalities of the IMF and World Bank. The NDC promised to:
• Launch a major housing and public works scheme involving urban roads, drainage construction and environmental sanitation. The much hyped “major housing project, STX was a major flop. The nation is yet to be told how much has gone into it, in the face of conflicting accounts by various ministers who have occupied that ministry. The President himself led the nation into STX imbroglio. Perhaps he may set up a sole-commissioner to unravel the mystery.
• Design programmes to provide unemployed graduates with entrepreneurial skills and develop a new framework for cooperative development. Not only was there no such programme, for the first time in the nation’s history we now have an Association of Unemployed Graduates.
• Develop and implement the Rural and Urban Entrepreneur and Artisan Project (RUEAP), which would seek to empower and realize the full potential of artisans. No such project has been witnessed in any urban setting even though the urbanities are the domiciles of artisans.
In the meantime, afforestation and the scheme for bamboo and cane farming begun by the NPP administration have either collapsed or suffered stunted growth.
L. DECENTRALISATION AND LOCAL GOVERNANCE
In the year 2012, the NDC Government acting against good counsel and laid down procedure forcibly brought into being forty six (46) new Districts, some of which DAs are “hanging” up to date. Even though provisions were made in the 2012 budget and the 2012 DACF Formula to avail One million Ghana Cedis (GH¢1,000,000) as seed money to each of the new District Assemblies, no payment has been effected up to date. The question is where is the money? The truth of the matter is that the Government rushed through the creation of the Districts to compel the Electoral Commission to create Constituencies for the 2012 elections.
The reality is that very little is happening in the districts because of delayed transfers of monies into the DACF account to enable the Administrator to pay the District Assemblies as per the approved formula.
Every District Assembly in the country is bleeding as a result and contractors and other service providers continue to chase them for payment which is not forthcoming. The vicious cycle into which the NDC has plunged the DACF and other statutory funds cannot be allowed to continue.
The Kufuor-led administration increased the DACF from 5% to 7.5% and also instituted the District Development Facility (DDF) and the Functional Organizational Assessment Tool (FOAT) which the District Assemblies have tremendously benefited from because it brought on board another stream of financial inflow into the District Assemblies. Over the past years that the NDC has been in government, it has only paid lip- service to improving the finances of the District Assemblies.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP): This is one of the many laudable initiatives of the NPP Government. At the time the NPP exited government, the programme had been implemented for barely two years and almost seven hundred thousand (700,000) pupils were beneficiaries under the programme.
After four (4) years in government, the government of the NDC could only add three hundred thousand pupils (300,000) to Kufuor’s 700,000. Even though the NDC had promised to expand the programme to cover all public and private schools in the country, all that it could do was to engage itself in a re-targeting exercise which literally meant seize food from one pupil and give it to another child as if to say that those who were so denied were not Ghanaian children.
The nation is engulfed in filth. Were we not promised that the nation would be rid of filth within 100 days in 2009? What is the situation now in spite of monumental injection of funds into waste management through deductions made from the DACF and other budgetary allocations for that purpose over the past four years?
There is filth here, filth there and filth everywhere. No wonder the country recorded cases of cholera in the years 2011 and 2012. The NDC government has woefully failed the country as far as the sanitation situation in the country is concerned.
M. HUMAN RIGHTS
• To begin with one would want to know the state of human rights:
- 4 years ago by this time a calamitous event had taken place at Agbogbloshie. NDC supporters and sympathizers had gone on rampage and murdered persons suspected to be NPP supporters in cold-blood; others had serious machete wounds. The perpetrators are still walking the corridors of Agbogbloshie market. Even though the police asked for and were supplied names of the alleged offenders, not a single arrest has been effected, four years on.
- There were some communal violence in Gushiegu and some communities up north in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential and general elections. The violence apparently arose from victors in the 2008 elections attacking losers and the latter offering self-defence. Not surprisingly, the police effected the arrest of suspects. Four years after, the nine people who are behind bars and whose cases have not been heard are all NPP Members and supporters whose only crime is that when they were attacked they defended themselves. Those who attacked them who are all known NDC members and supporters were released less than one week after they were arrested.
- In the electioneering campaigns of the bye election of Chereponi following after the transition of Hon. Doris Seidu, a castle operative shot at 5 NPP supporters. The five persons owe their continued existence to Prof. Frimpong Boateng who had to operate on them at the Yendi Government Hospital to remove the bullets from their system. The person who engaged in that barbaric act has for three years now never been arrested. The video recording of that dastardly act is still available.
- In the conduct of the complementary elections in Akwatia NPP members were attacked and brutalized. Many MPs, unprovoked, had their vehicles vandalized and that group include Hon. Isaac Osei, Elizabeth Agyemang, my humble self and several others. Till this date not a single arrest has been made even though these incidents happened in the presence of many security operatives, policemen, soldiers and all.
- At the Atiwa by-elections a vehicle drove through a crowd, many of whom were innocent by-standers on that fateful day. The woman who caused that havoc, destroying human lives has not been apprehended because she is the national women’s organizer of the NDC.
- Two persons were in a radio studio in Kumasi: one of them and NDC operative, the other an NPP activist. The discourse on radio degenerated. The two panelists both ridiculed and insulted the leaders of the NDC and NPP in the person of former President J.E.A. Mills and Nana Akuffo Addo. The police effected the arrest of the NPP activist who had ridiculed President Mills and left the NDC activist who had insulted Nana Akufo Addo.
- Last Tuesday, February 19, 2013 a group calling itself Coalition of Ghanaian Voters’ embarked on a march to protest what they claimed, among other things, is the disrespectful attitude of the Minority in Parliament. On January 8, 2013 the police blocked a planned demonstration by the Young Patriots. The same police would not allow the Let my Vote Count Alliance to even hold an indoor activity.
- In many parts of our country foreigners have descended and are engaging in illegal mining activities. These foreigners have the effrontery to shoot at citizens who dare to ask questions about their activities which are leading to land degradation, pollution of water bodies and general environmental pollution. The security agents protect such foreigners but deal harshly with Ghanaian victims.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, this is the state of human rights.
N. CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Against the background of NDC’s promise contained in their 2008 manifesto to “Create a society in which corruption is punished and probity, integrity and dedicated service are applauded and appreciated”. The fight against corruption has stunted for a while and has almost ground to a halt today. Indeed Ghana dropped one step further in the 2012 corruption perception index (CPI).
The real state of Ghana is that, fraudulent appropriation of state money is the order of the day and yet the state, under the current leadership, appears impotent in dealing with the perpetrators.
Even though the Constitution of Ghana has lots of provisions empowering laws on criminal prosecution, the state continues to succumb to the whims and caprices of criminals. This brings to mind the lackadaisical manner perpetrators of the gargantuan crime ie. Judgment debt, are being prosecuted.
The prosecution of flagship cases of corruption in Ghana has made very little progress. What is worrying is that it is the state which appears not to be ready and willing to conclude the prosecution and to bring such cases to speedy closure.
Further, as we speak no action has been taken against public officials or political appointees like the then Attorney General, Mrs. Betty-Mould-Iddrisu, who either fraudulently or negligently made these huge but unwarranted payments out of the state coffers possible.
The appointment of a sole-commissioner to look into payment of judgment debts since 1993 is nothing more than an ill-conceived, after-thought and cover up to divert attention from the gargantuan fraud against the state.
It is a sad commentary on the government’s commitment to recover the fraudulent judgment debt that it has taken a private citizen, Mr. Martin Amidu, also a former Attorney General to seek the court’s intervention to retrieve these monies.
Worse still is the fact that the President has chosen to appoint as Attorney General, a senior partner in the firm that represents Austro-Invest, which along with Mr. Woyome has benefited hugely from the controversial payments of the state coffers.
Is that the reason for the apparent slow-down in the prosecution of the case against Woyome?
The State of the Nation with regards to the Judiciary of Ghana is as follows:
(a) The Courts lack adequate materials to aid judges in the dispensation of justice.
(b) As of now the Commercial and Fast Track divisions of the High Court lack basic I. C. materials to assist in speedy disposal of cases. Incidentally these divisions of the High Court give confidence to the investor so when their functions are impeded by avoidable causes; the investor loses confidence in the nation’s conflict resolution mechanism. The investor will not, therefore, invest in such environment.
(c) Judges have to contend with a state unwilling to prosecute criminals but surprisingly and speedily the state is very enthusiastic in apprehending perceived opposition “offenders” only to leave them to the mercy of state and Gestapo-like security institutions. Thus leaving the Judiciary in limbo in dealing with real criminals.
(d) Again, as of now, it is not known how many Judges must compose the Supreme Court as the state keeps on appointing judges to the Supreme Court
(e) The budget of the Judiciary remains inadequate leading to a situation where basic allowances, of Judicial Service Staff including judges, are not paid on time.
(f) Record keeping in the courts has not benefited from modern technology.
(g) Court houses in the districts are nothing to write home about, indeed some of the court buildings are in real state of disrepair
(h) The state of the judiciary in the nation of Ghana today is that of the demotivated staff whose workplace environment is unattractive, whose moral is low and whose basic tools of work are lacking
(i) A nation which does not give proper and adequate attention to its judiciary, the third arm of government, with power to interpret the laws of Ghana with the view to maintaining law and order, protecting fundamental rights and liberties of the citizenry, is not focused to maintain DEMOCRACY & RULE OF LAW.
P. WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN GHANA TODAY
Gender mainstreaming is the public policy concept of assessing the different implications for women and men of any planned policy action, including legislation and programmes, in all areas and levels. Mainstreaming essentially offers a pluralistic approach that values the diversity among both women and men.
The situation in which we find ourselves today which should have attracted the attention of the President, not only to pronounce it but to have set out emergency programmes, to enhance the safety of women and children is as follows:
Firstly, there have been several reports of spousal killings and defilements which have been published almost every day of the week with gory pictures of how women or children have been killed, maimed or brutalised by fellow men in the country.
We are in the era of rampant abuse and killing of spouses which are spread on front pages of our dailies and women are almost always the victims. Immediate attention like specific programmes on public education, fast-tracking of such cases in the courts, public denunciation of such acts by the presidency to put fear in the actors and perpetrators of such dastardly acts. We should safeguard the dignity of women and create the enabling environment for the advancement of women and children.
In 2008 the NDC proclaimed that it will field at least 40% representation of women in their government. The figure was about 22%. Today, out of the 31 ministers nominated, only 25% are women. The nation has been told of government’s intention to set up a database of the poorest households in our society. This was established before the LEAP programme commenced. State funds must not be wasted on duplication.
Q. YOUTH AND SPORTS
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has for the past four years thrived on failed promises, deceit, reckless expenditure and unachievable projects and programmes in the Youth and Sports sector.
The NDC era has been characterized by the use of state resources to fund cohorts on fanciful trips to sport tournaments. In recklessly dissipating the funds, the Ministry has witnessed a high turnover of Ministers with the associated scandals. These include the trip to la Cote d’Ivoire within the first few days of its administration in 2009, the 2010 World Cup fraud and the Maputo All Africa Games scandal in 2011. The gargantuan judgment debt payments which the government is desperately seeking to retrieve is the mother-of-all scandals
The failed era of the NDC in the Youth and Sports sector is further manifested in the 2009 to 2012 budget statements of the Mills-Mahama administration. This has culminated in the unbudgeted expenditure of over three hundred million (GHC300 million) Ghana cedis in 2012 alone and corrupt practices, including the large presence of ghost names in the Ghana Youth Entrepreneur Development and Employment Authority (GYEEDA) – NYEP and LESDEP. The corrupt practices have led to the skewed enrichment of Party faithfuls to the detriment of the majority poor and vulnerable Youth, which is yet to see the one million and five hundred thousand jobs touted by the NDC.
The sector became a conduit for expending millions of the tax payers money without achieving meaningful results. In the end the sector has witnessed a decline in output and productivity. The Youth and Sports sector cannot count on the NDC to provide hope, vision and progress, given the consistently poor record of the government.
R. ELECTORAL COMMISSION
In the 2008 NDC manifesto, Ghanaians were promised that there shall be legislation to "establish an Election Fund from which polling agents of political parties and of candidates shall benefit for training and on Election Day, among other things".
The failure to achieve this specific pledge, and the consequent 2012 Presidential Election petition now in the Supreme Court, speaks more of the governing style of the NDC. Promise heaven for votes and deliver hell during governance.
The palpable silence of the President in his 'state of the future' address on this issue can be explained by the apparent benefit that the NDC had by the presence of untrained polling agents during the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The major changes made for the 2012 elections-Biometric Voters Register and Biometric Verification before voting-were implemented with some success in the face of vehement protests by the NDC and the Chairman of the Electoral Commission himself. The nation should be grateful to the insistence and perseverance of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament. Wherein lies the truth in the oft repeated NDC statement that every improvement in our electoral process has been theirs?
Without doubt, we have as a nation improved our electoral landscape since 1992. In the conduct of the 2012 elections there were successes and there were failures. Since aspects of the conduct of the elections are before the courts it is only fitting and proper that we do not at this stage either condemn or commend Dr. Afari-Gyan and his outfit.
The challenges facing the security agencies in our country are serious drawbacks to the effective performance of their duties and obligations. The Ghana POLICE SERVICE has drawn up the Strategic National Police Plan to span over 5 years, ie 2010 to 2014. As a result of lack of resources, the full implementation of the laudable Plan which should have witnessed tremendous improvement in the level of performance in our internal security is in limbo. It reflects the poor levels of commitment and lack of professionalism.
It is therefore not surprising that crime wave is on the ascendancy, infrastructural development is appalling, renovation of Police Buildings lag behind with a number of uncompleted offices and residential accommodation sited at various District Police quarters unattended to. The Police barracks are crying for new edifices to be constructed. Motivation for personnel is very low and it has intolerable tolling effect on efficient policing. As a result of lack of resources the training programs for the various units could not be carried out as expected.
Notably, the training of personnel of the Criminal Investigation Department is nothing to write home about. It is shameful that only 100 personnel were trained last year. The promised establishment of a Unit comprising 250 to 500 well trained, well-equipped and well-dressed Police personnel to enhance Community Policing still remains on the drawing board. The Tent City Policing started in earnest but its advancement has halted. The recruitment and promotion in the Service are no longer based on merit and competence but rather on partisan lineage in particular to NDC card bearing members.
One of the most important challenges in the Service is interference and patronage by the Government which stultifies and frustrates the need to prosecute suspects who belong to the National Democratic Congress.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the perpetrators of the Agbogbloshie (Accra) killings, arson and fatal personal injuries to innocent victims, the National Security operative who wielded a short gun during the Chereponi by-election campaign trail as well as persons who were pictorially identified when they were being trained on weapon handling in Bawku are still walking the streets and lanes of their communities with impunity. Sadly enough Hon Kennedy Agyepong who cautioned on preventive electoral violence is on fast track prosecution.
Regarding the Ghana IMMIGRATION SERVICE, some of the myriad challenges facing the service are personnel management and welfare; logistics and infrastructural deficit and budgetary constraints. The inability of the Government in the past 4 years to resource the Service properly has resulted in the Services impotence to implement its four years Development Plan. The Service has been charged with the control and management of our National Borders.
The Government has been paying very little or no attention to the training and equipment of the personnel of the Service to efficiently and competently carry out its obligations to the extent that our Borders are so porous. The entry and exit points are very weak. Smuggling of small arms and ammunitions are rife and rampant. Ghana is gaining international notoriety for the haulage of large quantities of cocaine, cannabis and other narcotic drugs a gateway to International Drug Trafficking and recently gold.
FIRE & PRISON SERVICES
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ghana National FIRE & PRISON SERVICES cannot be excepted from these challenges. The Service faces technical and logistical needs as well as inadequate personnel accommodation vehicles and poor working conditions. The least said about the Ghana Prisons Service the better, the Service is battling with prison overcrowding, lack of sanitation, poor and deteriorating infrastructure and other deplorable conditions including inadequate personnel accommodation.
The Bureau of National Investigation has overstepped their legislative barriers and it is time for us as a nation to have more comprehensive legislation on the modus operandi of the BNI. As we address you now, we do not have a policy document on National Security. It is important that this issue is tackled together with a comprehensive National Defence Policy.
Now with regard to the Ghana ARMED FORCES, how do we find the state of our Forces? For the past four years they have been issued with only one single uniform each whether at home or on peace keeping operations outside. For the same period the ranks from Sergeant upwards have not been give any replacement boots. The personnel accommodation problem is deplorable and deteriorating.
The National Democratic Congress led government has not been able to add to the residential accommodation project initiated by the New Patriotic Party government. The road networks and the water supply system in the Barracks are very poor and deplorable. The health delivery at the 37 Military Hospital and the Medical Reception Centers in the Garrisons are sinking. The equipments are becoming obsolete and unserviceable.
With regard to the much taunted Peacekeeping Operations, the feeding is poor as those on Operations are at times fed on “Gari” continuously for one week and when they are being served with rice, they are served with “tujimi”. The personnel on operations deserve better. It is regrettable to note that at times, the personnel on operation cannot access their UN Operation allowance until and after four months into the six months operation period. Remittances for families at home are unnecessarily delayed to the detriment of family responsibility. As a result of lack of adequate funding overseas training programme for the personnel of the Forces can no longer be patronized as expected. The participation continues to be dwindling. It must be noted that the payments to the various Food Suppliers have been outstanding for more than six months.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, it is clear from the foregoing that morale in the Security Services is so low to the extent that it has affected and impacted negatively on their commitment and professionalism. The Mahama led government should stop preaching their welfare programme from the roof-tops and walk their talk. Our Security Services must be well resourced and catered for to assure our human security.
T. FOREIGN POLICY
Ghana’s foreign policy goals should be to maintain national security, promote good trading relations with other countries and ensure the maintenance of regional peace and security. Our foreign policy should reinforce domestic policy which aims at strengthening Ghanaian businesses and creating an environment in which the private sector thrives and contribute to the creation of wealth for our country.
There are those who argue that Ghana should focus on a foreign policy of “positive neutrality”, but all of us know that following the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, we now live in what is virtually a unipolar world. Thus positive neutrality has not only become archaic and irrelevant but a concept which cannot be the focus of our foreign policy. It is true that China has emerged as a rising global power but the Cold War of the middle decades of the 20th Century is practically over and new relationships are being established among countries of the world.
Under President Kufuor, ‘economic diplomacy’ was used as an instrument of foreign policy and the benefits which accrued to Ghana as a result are many and varied. Our foreign policy reinforced our economic, policies on trade and investments and as a result Ghana became the gateway to West Africa. And the Socio-political dividends which flowed enabled Ghana to Chair the AU, ECOWAS (for two terms), and the Security Council. Besides, Ghana was a fixture at G8 meetings. The foreign policy achievements contributed to secure the MCA and brought and brought trade and investment into the country.
Today, nobody seeks the views of Ghanaian leaders on even sub-regional matters for, afterall, this is a country which today cannot even deliver basic public services like electricity and water to its citizens. The infrastructure deficits we face with respect to these services have not only negatively impacted on domestic investments but have also affected the inflows of foreign investment.
During the tenure of H.E. Prof. Mills, Ghana’s policy in the region was quite clear, it was a hands off, no interventions in the regional matter encapsulated in the words ‘Dzi wo fie asem’, yet today Ghana is sending troops to Mali in a combat role. Where there is no consistency of policy, regional leaders will not accept the leadership of an unsure administration. What we need today are the skills and assiduity with which President Kufuor applied himself to ensure sub-regional peace, international respect and inward investment.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are the hard, bare facts of our situation as a country. There is creeping despondency and mistrust accentuated by unbridled corruption, making multi-millionaires of people who have not sown.
Indeed, this country belongs to all of us and when things are manifestly going wrong we must all live up to our civic responsibilities to expose the rot so that together we can find cure to the malaise afflicting the country. Over 99% of our citizens believe in God but God expects pragmatism from us not blind faith. That is why the apostle Paul exhorts: “faith without works is dead”. We should not be deluded into believing in phantasm.
As a country we must have faith in God for his mercies in the grant of enormous resources but we must work hard, diligently and communally in order for the benefits to be enjoyed by all but not only a few.
Thank you all very much and may God continue to strengthen us all to resist oppressors’ rule.
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