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General News of Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Source: CPP

CPP Young Progressives set out programmes

CPP Young Progressives set out programmes for rural development.

Ben Attah Hayford, one of the CPP Young Progressives and an Nduom election strategist, has debunked Nana Akuffo Addo’s assertion that “NPP has worked effectively to improve the lives of the poor”.

Speaking to Reporters without Borders reporter Peter Jeffrey from CPP campaign headquarters in Accra, Mr Attah Hayford said despite NPP government interventions in tackling poverty, the gap between the bottom 80 per cent and the top 20 per cent has widened.

Attah Hayford said as part of CPP’s poverty alleviation programme, they will increase social spending in education, health care, water, sanitation, housing, renewable energy and others. Attah Hayford said “pushing back the frontiers of poverty in our country won’t be easy, but we are determined to improve the conditions of the poor within the first 4 years of CPP administration”. Attah Hayford said shifting social spending to the poor, especially the poorest 80 per cent, and improving their lives will have an impact on reducing inequality in the country.

Mr Ben Attah Hayford said the high level of income inequality in the country is unacceptable. He blames the policies of past administrations and said, “The challenge to reduce inequality in the country, especially in the 3 Northern Regions, is to form a partnership of the public and private sectors and the government, through employment, public works programme, skills training and other economic activities. Attah Hayford said in addition to the above programmes to reduce poverty, access to services such as primary health care, education, clean drinking water, sanitation and decent housing will form an important part of the Poverty Alleviation Programme and reduction of income inequality. Ben said all these programmes are clearly detailed in the CPP 7 Year Development Plan.

Rural infrastructure (rural road connectivity to the urban high way, rural housing and rural electrification) would form important part of CPP Poverty Alleviation Programme. According the Attah Hayford 7 million household are without shelter. Hayford said in the 3 northern regions the figure is 60 per cent. He said, “Considering the magnitude of the problem, Mr Kwaku Nkansah,, CPP prospective parliamentary candidate for Offinso North and a member of CPP Young Progressives, said a National Housing Committee, comprising of various professionals and from the housing industry and home builders association, would be tasked to look at “Housing for All” with emphasis on extending affordable housing to the poor and deprived.

Mr James Bomfeh, CPP Youth Organiser and another member of the party’s Young Progressives said, “CPP is committed to the goal of ensuring the poor have access to housing through private public partnership”. Bomfeh said “To achieve these objectives the National Housing Committee will review the CPP 7 Year Development Plan comprehensive action plan for rural and urban housing. Bomfeh said households under the poverty line would be provided with assistance for construction/up gradation of their houses. He said the aim of the 7 Year Development Plan is to achieve the object of sustainable development at the village level. He stated that rural co-operative Banks would be encouraged to improve the out reach of housing finance in rural areas. Bomfeh said a major challenge for the housing sector will be to meet the increasing demand for housing. He said the emphasis must be on rural development. On rural development James Bomfeh said CPP will look at sustainable financial framework for maintaining rural infrastructure. He argues that there must be a coherent financial management based on collaboration among government, local assemblies and the private sector. He said local assemblies must take ownership of rural roads and charge road users. He said this highly effective and efficient. He said CPP will encourage local assemblies, small scale farmers, industrialists and various Motor Union Associations to assume more responsibility for the lowest level of rural network. Bomfeh said cost-sharing arrangements verify demand, expand the revenue base and give communities strong incentives to organise themselves and take ownership of their development. On rural electrification, Ben Attah Hayford said villages which still remain to be electrified would be given grants through Local Assemblies to use solar energy instead of connecting to the national grid. Hayford said alternative energy will form a central plank of CPP rural electrification policy.

Kwaku Nkansah explained that by increasing social spending the income of the poor, especially in the rural areas would be boosted and reduces poverty. Kwaku said equitable distribution of resources not only improves the lives of the poor but has an important impact on reducing inequality in the country. Nkansah said the income disparity between the rural areas and the urban centres is stark. And said, “Nana Akuffo Addo’s claim that NPP have cut the inequalities between the rich and poor in just 7 years is ludicrous”. He said its election campaigning and will challenge Nana to name districts or regions where inequalities has been reduced! Kwaku said, “I want to know the truth and this is not the truth. Nana’s assertion would not stand up to scrutiny. Not in my constituency of Offinso North, not in the rest of country and definitely not in the 3 northern regions”.

Kwaku Nkansah argues that under the CPP 7 Year Development Plan, in economic terms, household equality and social protection will be greatly improved. He said under the CPP administration decision making will be centralised to ensure greater economic inclusion of the majority.

On the issue of income inequality, Kwaku asserts that it raises the issue of dignity of a job and if workers are receiving a living wage, can afford to feed their children and can afford a roof over their head. He said, “One cannot look at income inequality and poverty without looking at the important programmes like skills development, micro credit and drastic land reforms. Kwaku said these are critical for job creation and small scale business development.