Feature Article of Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Columnist: Hayford, Ebenezer
: massive social interventions will continue.
AFAG (Alliance for Accountable Governance) a tentacle of the NPP took to the street to protest against increases in fuel price and the so called hardship.
It is important here to educate the organizers of the protest march, that no Government makes money/has money. From the richest Government in the USA, to the poorest Government in the Pacific, all depend on the taxes of the people and the equitable distribution of the taxes to administer their respective countries.
To rectify anomalies, and to cushion the least privileged in society, social interventions are put in place as supporting arm of the Government. That is exactly what Prof Mills Government is doing with perfection.
Those who have not been sleeping since the takeover by the Mills Government, would recall, that the first few interventions by Prof Mills, was to raise the wages of the lowest income groups; and to revise the taxation scheme upwards, such that the lowest income groups are free from taxation. To put more money into the pockets of the masses, the capitation grant was increased by 50%.This was supported by the distribution of free exercise books and the supply of free school uniforms to school children. In 2008, after 8 years, Kufuor was feeding 6,000 school children. Prof Mills after three years is feeding 1.8 million children. 43,000 books have been distributed to children, 500% more than what Kufuor was supplying after 8 years. Similarly 1.6 million school uniforms have been supplied to school children; 300% more than what Kufuor supplied after 8 years. Today, the school feeding program has been massively expanded to include thousands of school children. Over thousand schools under trees have been replaced with thousands of six classroom blocks. Infrastructural development in hundreds of SHS has taken place in all the Regions across Ghana.
Hundreds of Communities have been connected to the National grid from North to South. Farmers are receiving subsidized fertilizers for their farms. As if this is not enough, the price of cocoa to farmers has been increased, leading to increases in production. To increase efficiency at local level, 6.000 Longda motorbikes valued at GHc 10.8 million have been supplied to 6,000 Assemblymen.
Ten first class hospitals have been built in all the ten Regions. Besides, 50 polyclinics have also been spread across the country. Only last week, four MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image) machines have been purchased for four hospitals to bring quality health care to the level enjoyed by developed countries. In addition to this is the fact that maternal health care is totally free.
The introduction of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), which was cleverly avoided by Kufuor because there was no money in the coffers, has successfully been carried out by the Mills administration. The SSSS was indeed carried out to eliminate income inequalities. Through this process, no salary was reduced. Instead, almost all salaries were increased with substantial back-pays to many employees. This certainly brought great relief to workers.
The prudent economic policies adopted by Prof Mills has been praised by several international agencies and persons including Mr Williams J. Burns, the US Deputy Secretary of State who confirmed that Ghana is the standard bearer in Africa in the area of democracy and economic management. The stabilization of the economy and subsequent accelerated growth, has led to the stabilization of the cedi and to the single digit inflation for over eighteen months. This has led to International confidence in the economy. GIPC (Ghana Investment Promotion Centre) registered 514 investment projects in the country last year at an estimated value of GHc 11.52 billion. By this, the center exceeded its 2011 target by GHc 1.5 billion over 700% more than the performance of Kufuor in his eight years service to the Nation. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was GHc 10.23 billion representing an increase of514.14%. The National reserves valued at $ 2 billion in 2008, by the time Kufuor was leaving office, has now increased to 4.98 billion representing 4 months import cover. These are visible data that pushed us into the middle income group of Nations. We are proud of Ghana and of Prof Mills.
AFAG can not and should not throw dust into the eyes of the good people of Ghana. Akufo Addo has already been judged by the good people of Ghana. His concept of “All die be die” and the “Do or die” attitude signifying war drums ahead of 2012 has already been condemned to failure. We want a leader we can trust. Prof Mills promised us a BETTER Ghana and he has confidently delivered on his promise.
Dr. Ebenezer Hayford
University of Ghana, Legon