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General News of Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Source: GNA

Jake to maintain law

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... on wilfully causing financial law to the state
Accra, Oct. 24, GNA - Contrary to the call by general secretaries of the four leading political parties for the law on wilfully causing financial loss to the state to be repealed, Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, one of the 19 presidential aspirants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Wednesday said he would retain it when given the chance to be president in 2009.

"Until we are able to find a better way to check official corruption in this country, we must keep and work with that law. Moreover, we need to understand that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," he said.

Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey made the statement at the launch of his Economic Manifesto entitled; "Beyond Positive Change - Cooking a Bigger Pot of Soup for Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

He said corruption was both need and greed driven, adding that his economic plan would, among other things, deal with need driven corruption by providing high paying jobs for the youth, and the law would then deal with greed driven corruption.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that the greatest challenge that faced Ghana was youth unemployment saying that this year alone, 310,000 young persons would be passing out of various schools to look for jobs that were not available.

He said the NPP presidential race was not a popularity franchise but about the contest of ideas on how to fix the real economic challenges of the country, especially, that of how to find high paying jobs for the teaming young persons passing out of school.

"My fear is that if we do not address this youth unemployment challenge, we would be heading for disaster in the next few years because the devil would always find a job for the idle hands of our youth."

He said his economic strategy for resolving the youth employment challenge included building the economy on the pillars of tourism, information and communication technology, agro processing and the establishment of Ghana as a service centre for the sub-region.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey contended that those four key areas constituted the highest job generating sectors, saying that tourism, for instance, promised to generate almost 200,000 jobs every year when properly developed and the other areas promised even higher job generation. He said the plan was to take Ghana from subsidizing utility tariffs to suit the generally low income group in the country to the point of paying better incomes that would enable people to afford tariffs pegged at commercial rates.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that some of the sectors that informed the five to six per cent GDP growth rate were not necessarily job generating sectors, saying that accounted for why the country recorded favourable macro-economic indicators and yet the people complained that they did not feel the growth in their pockets.

"I will fix the economy and create jobs to ensure that the macro-economic growth would have real social impact on the living standards of the people," he said.

Touching on brain drain, he said it was unfortunate that while the country's tourism drive was making strides, professionals kept migrating to the west to seek greener pasture.

He noted that instead of trying to prevent people from going abroad to work, a Jake-led government would rather institute a system that would enable those professionals to find jobs commensurate with their profession and rank abroad to ensure that they gained better experience and returned home to help develop the country.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey also stated his vision for the energy sector saying that he would focus on generating enough energy to serve some of the landlocked countries in the sub-region instead of just focusing on Ghana alone.

"The rationale for that strategy is that even if we are not able to have enough for all the countries we target, we would at least have more than enough for ourselves. It is better to raise the bar higher than to set easily achievable targets," he said.

He said he was privileged to have worked in President Kufuor's government, adding that the Kufuor Administration had set the tone for the next phase of Ghana's development and he was the right person to deliver real social benefits.

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