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General News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

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Dr. Nduom Addresses TUC

...............and declares that the CPP is “Edwuma Wura”.

Full Text of Dr. Nduom's Message to Ghanaian Workers.

One of the most urgent issues we face is how to create meaningful jobs that pay living wages and salaries in Ghana. Jobs can be created by both the private and public sectors of the economy. It is only when the two sectors get the needed encouragement and investment that will make this happen. I will provide the encouragement needed as the next President of the Republic of Ghana.

During the life of the Fourth Republic, government’s preoccupation has been on how to achieve macroeconomic stability including a low level of inflation. This it is argued will lead to the situation where employers will be encouraged to invest more in job creation activities and lead to higher levels of growth. Along with this has been the belief that the private sector is the engine of growth and that the best the state can do is to create the enabling environment and leave market forces to determine what happens.

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) believes that the State matters and that the State has an important role to play in the economy. Nations under construction cannot leave what happens in the economy to market forces alone.

There is the need for a mixed strategy of private sector pull and state push. That is why I will implement a consistent and aggressive government policy to support Ghanaian industries throughout the country to provide sustainable jobs and living wages and salaries to our people. The support will come in the form of low-interest government loans and guarantees, technical support to ensure ability to achieve sustained growth, tax incentives and market advantages. I want to make sure that our domestic companies grow big to compete with foreign imports and are strengthened to compete in international markets. But we cannot only concentrate on one side of the equation. Capital must move with labour. Throughout the world this does not happen automatically. There is the need for laws to regulate the relationship between labour and enterprises. There is also the need for the state to soften the ground so that there a good process and to provide a vision to guide the relationship. This is what the new CPP promises to do.

Just as a CPP administration led by me will not leave those from the private sector who invest in Ghana to fend for themselves, we will also not leave labour alone to fend for itself. The interest of labour and the CPP do coincide. We understand the language of equity between the investor and labour.

We understand the need for living wages and salaries on the one hand and profits on the other. We understand the need to match productivity with reward. We understand the need for social responsibility on all sides. For example, I do not agree with the labour law that says an employer does not have to give reasons for terminating the employment of labour. Best practice in business and management requires that reasons are given by both management and labour when a decision to terminate employment is made. Welfare is an important matter in society. In Ghana the matter of the welfare of its citizens particularly the workers and the vulnerable in society has been left with various government ministries. We have also had ministries responsible for Social Welfare, Manpower, Youth & Employment etc. Whatever name they have been called, we have seen deterioration in organization design, quality of personnel assigned, programs implemented and resources allocated. I will strengthen this ministry to deal effectively with the poor, children and the vulnerable because these are matters of concern to the working poor and society in general. But there is also the need to have a strong focus on quantifying how many of our people are employed or unemployed. We need to know how many of our people are coming out of the various educational institutions. We need to measure how many jobs are available and what the requirements are. We can no longer speak in general terms about our most important asset – our human resources. A CPP administration led by me will utilize science and technology in how it plans, monitors and implements programs to seek the maximum employment of Ghanaians.

I wish to repeat what I have promised to the Ghanaian private sector: “We manufacture fruit drinks, chocolate, electrical supplies, cloth, computer software, soap etc. We produce rice, cotton, salt etc. We have the potential to produce many other products that are basic and essential for our people and industries. Yet we have opened our doors very wide to imports that suppress our potential for job creation. A government led by me will use Positive Action to strengthen our Ghanaian industries for the benefit of the many young men and women looking for jobs that will pay them living wages and salaries. No country has really developed and prospered significantly on the backs of exporting raw materials to feed factories abroad. Domestic industries that can compete at home and export products are what we need to break out of poverty because they provide sustainable jobs and living wages and salaries.

The purchasing power of the State can and will be used to ensure that we maximize the potential of local industries in all areas – agriculture, technology, consumer goods etc.” The Ghanaian human resource is well recognized and valued throughout the world. But we need to give it an advantage in Ghana itself so that our talented men and women can decide to stay at home and help develop the country. This by necessity requires that we treat our workers, our consultants, our experts with the same respect and give them the same wages, salaries and fees we pay to others. Being Ghanaian should not mean lower pay.

A CPP administration led by me will correct this imbalance in our society so that we can keep the best we have for Ghana. Finally, I wish to confirm that the CPP is “Edwuma Wura”. No other political party can lay claim to this title. The CPP when it was in power from 1957 to 1966 knew that the people of Ghana needed jobs. It believed in a mixed economy where the state, the private sector and joint ventures between the two were encouraged to create enterprises to utilize our domestic raw materials. Over 60 state-owned enterprises were created. I am convinced that what was done followed the pattern of development that has helped countries like Korea and Malaysia to become economic giants today.

If these assets had been managed prudently after 1966 and not just abandoned, Ghana would be today an economic giant. Times have changed but the principles remain. A CPP government will work overtime to ensure that the state and the private sector play appropriate roles to create meaningful jobs for Ghanaians.

I have the will and the commitment to use every available positive means to create more jobs that will give living wages and salaries to Ghanaian labour as the next President of the Republic of Ghana.

PAPA KWESI NDUOM, MP Convention People’s Party (CPP) February 27, 2008

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