General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Source: Daily Graphic
President John Dramani Mahama says he is ready to declare and publish his assets if the Constitution requires him to do so.
Answering questions at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) evening encounter last Thursday, President Mahama said if the ongoing revision of the asset declaration regime was concluded and it required a President to declare and publish his assets, he would comply.
President Mahama, who is the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), outlined his vision for the 2012 general election.
His address centered on the four thematic areas of the NDC manifesto—investing in people, accelerated economic development, infrastructure development and transparent and good governance. The President affirmed his commitment to ensure free, fair and transparent election.
He asked Ghanaians to have confidence in the ability of the country to go through the election successfully, since the country had gone through five successful elections.
President Mahama reiterated his pledge to respect the verdict of Ghanaians in the election. He promised to be the President of all Ghanaians if given the mandate in the election, and stressed that he would continue to protect and promote Ghana’s image as a beacon of democracy.
The President stressed the need for the Public Procurement Law to be reviewed to ensure the procurement of more local materials. He discounted the suggestion that many of the local materials were not as good as the imported ones, and indicated that if local materials were procured, it would generate work for Ghanaians.
However, he said, if local companies continued to buy more of the goods outside, it amounted to shifting all the jobs outside.
Therefore, he said, the law should be reviewed to ensure the procurement of some percentage of materials on the local market, saying that “it makes sense to keep jobs home.” The President directed that henceforth building permits should not be given to public buildings that did not have facilities for persons with disability.
He warned that any official who flouted the directive would be dealt with rigorously. On the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), President Mahama said it was important that the relevant institutions, such as the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, be allowed to negotiate the salaries and other allowances.
He said if he acted on the petitions sent to him from the various organisations, it would encourage other organisations to also come forward to demand similar adjustments. “As long as the negotiations are ongoing, we must allow the process to go on,” the President said.
However, he said, if it became critical for him to intervene, he would do so. President Mahama said the SSSS had increased the government’s wage bill from about GH¢2 billion to about GH¢5 billion.
He, therefore, asked public sector workers to reciprocate the gesture by increasing their productivity, saying that “To whom much is given, much is expected.” He announced that teachers bungalows would be constructed across the country to accommodate 20,000 teaching families and other houses would put up for 5,000 health workers.
The President thanked all Ghanaians for showing him love, respect and support, following the demise of President John Evans Atta Mills. That, he said, had reinforced his belief that human beings were all equal, regardless of their ethnic, religious, economic or political backgrounds.