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Diasporia News of Thursday, 18 March 2010

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NDC UK & Ireland - Diabolic NPP Agenda Exposed

– (part 1)

Ladies and gentlemen, 14 months ago, on 7 January 2009 the NDC government, led by President John Evans Atta Mills was elected by the very good people of Ghana on its manifesto pledge dubbed “A Better Ghana Agenda 2008” focusing on four main thematic areas for accelerated national development.

The new pro active transforming policy commitment of the National Democratic Congress seeks for a transparent and accountable governance, building on a stranger economy for real jobs, investing in people and expanding infrastructure for economic growth.

But no sooner had the NDC government set about to deal with the economic challenges facing the country that the new administration began to unravel, to our astonishment a murky world of corruption, gross economic mismanagement, nepotism, personal greed and malfeasance on a gigantic scale that characterised NPP 8 years in government.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is astonishing to note that:

• For 8years Ghanaians were denied the basic and fundamental necessities of life such as education, electricity, healthcare, decent housing and access to good drinking water. • And for 8 years Ghanaians were sidelined and reduced to innocent bystanders, whilst the NPP and their partners in the Diaspora plundered the wealth of our country, looted the national coffers to fill their pockets, built mansions in the affluent parts of the country, drove the best cars and sent their children overseas for better education.

The Vodaphone Review Report, the Ghana at 50 Report, the Auditor’s General Report at the Ministry of Information and the recent Investigation into the operations at the Tema Shipyard all revealed the corruption practices, malfeasance, non transparency and non accountability and above all nepotism that characterised NPP 8 years in government.

Ladies and Gentlemen, during December 2008 elections, Ghanaians openly rejected the NPP at the polls and sent them into opposition.

Whilst we expect the NPP as an opposition party to offer constructive criticisms and to provide alternatives to government policies, instead the NPP and their surrogates in the Diaspora use Ghanaian tax payers’ money as slush funds to pay certain media outlets and the use of the internet to function, cater and feed their diabolic deficiencies to the Ghanaian communities both in the country and in the Diaspora in order to tarnish the reputation of the NDC government and to make the government look bad in the eyes of the people.

Today, The NPP has become a political party of extremists. They believe society can function without a government as they disagree with both efficiency and morality. The use of violence has been become the hallmark of NPP politics and a tool for intimidating government institutions, the judiciary and the security agencies.

Ladies and gentlemen, while the NDC government remained focused, unfazed and refused to buckle under the barrage of NPP predictable criticisms, they have now resorted to the use of FOREIGN AGENTS, one of whom is identified as John Hardy, a British legal practitioner, invited to Ghana to peddle falsehood and to ridicule a democratically elected Government of Ghana.

Have the NPP and their surrogates in the Diaspora become a party of economic and political saboteurs? Why have they become so desperately bent on endangering the foundation of the very democratic governance, which our forebears fought so hard to win?

NPP diabolic and extremist’s plans to destabilise the country show that as a political party they have no interest in helping those very Ghanaians at the lower end of the social ladder, who they now violently seek to impose their will upon.

Whilst the NDC UK & Ireland Chapter are prepared to debate the issues as they stand we, however, note with deep concern the NPP use of foreign agents to peddled falsehood about our country in order to tarnish the hard won reputation of a democratically elected government.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this stage, it is important and unfair to discuss the latest events without referring to the extraordinary murky episode of NPP 8 years in Government and how the NDC Government has come to deal with these gloomy challenges.

The Economic Legacy: It is important to note that the NDC government in January 2009 inherited a distressed economy characterised by huge financial deficits. The fiscal deficit alone stood at GHC 2.6 billion at the end of 2008 when NPP left office compared to GHC 260 million when NDC left office in 2000.

The fiscal deficit under NPP government widened from 9% of GDP in 2007 to 24.2 % of GDP in 2008. The earlier estimate of 14.5% was revised upwards to 24.2% after expenditure arrears and commitments totalling $1.16 million were uncovered. The deficit was largely driven by a lack of prudence in public spending and misplaced priorities on the part of NPP government.

The NDC government has managed to pay a sizeable amount of these arrears but the government is still uncovering debts, which the Ministries, Departments and other government Agencies (MDAs) have not disclosed to government

Although the NPP claimed the economy registered an estimated growth of 7.3% in 2008, we know for a fact that this was largely caused by the massive injection of funds, including the $750million sovereign Eurobond in 2007, sale of majority stake in Ghana telecom for which the Government of Ghana was short charged, and $1.2billion draw-down of the country’s foreign currency reserves to prop up the new Ghana Cedi.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Economic growth is not the same as economic development. As the NPP claimed the Ghanaian economy grew by 7.3% in 2008, economic development was so little that Ghanaians lived through a period of economic hardship where teachers, new nurses, doctors and railway workers were not paid salaries for over two years. Majority of the population lived in abject poverty. NPP so called period of economic growth did not benefit the citizenry in any way or improve their living conditions.

What has the NDC government done to alleviate the sufferings of these professionals who toil day and night to shore up our economic systems? The government has paid all salaries and arrears due to teachers, nurses and doctors and railway workers, including bonuses due to the railway workers. Minimum wage now stands at GHC3.11 having been previously increased by 30% from GHC2.45 to GHC 2.665. The government has increased civil and public sector wages by 17%. The NDC government released $2million for the payment of tuition and other expenses for students on government scholarships abroad

Inflation The expansionary fiscal stance of the NPP Government caused inflation to rise significantly, reaching 18.1% at end-2008. Although the strong public spending was the major factor behind the inflationary pressures, rapid increases in private sector demand, fuelled by strong credit expansion was also a contributory factor.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, we are proud to announce that as a result of the good and prudent economic management policies adopted by the NDC government inflation has fallen from a peak of 20.7% in June 2009, 15.7% in December 2009 and to 14.25% as at January 2010. It is estimated that if this downward trend continues inflation will fall to a single digit figure of 7% by December this year. Is this not a significant achievement on the part of the NDC government under President John Evans Atta Mills?

Balance of payments and foreign reserves As the NPP continued their extravagancy, the regular demand for luxurious foreign imports weakened the balance of payments and the cedi exchange rate. The result was that by December 2008 the balance of payments had recorded a huge deficit of USD941 million. Non-oil imports alone rose by 33% in dollar terms in 2008, causing a significant increase in the current account deficit to nearly 20% of GDP

With insufficient financing, the official foreign reserves were heavily drawn down. Ladies and gentlemen, between July 2007 and December 2008 the NPP government sold over $1.2 billion of currency reserves in the foreign exchange markets just to support the new Ghana Cedi, yet the currency continued to depreciating sharply. The new Ghana Cedi depreciated over 31% against all major currencies during this period. The country’s gross foreign reserves under NPP dropped to USD1, 896 million equivalent to 1.8 months of import cover for goods and services.

What an extraordinary murky world of economic management?

Due to the NDC government prudent economic management, the Cedi the downward trend o the Cedi which characterised the NPP period has halted. And the Cedi has continued to appreciate relative to the dollar. Today, the Ghanaian Cedi has become the preferred currency in the West African sub Region as confidence has been restored in the economy.

Foreign Debt The overall total outstanding national debt at the end-December 2008 reached USD8.1 billion, despite nearly $4 billion HIPIC debt write offs. The government has had to carry a huge judgement debt. How did this judgement debt came about? It was the result of the failure of the NPP Government to honour contractual obligations and the flagrant disregard to pay even when judgement had been given by both local and foreign courts. Presently the outstanding judgement debt stands at some US$ 380 million.

Ladies and gentlemen, due to prudent macro economic management the NDC government has managed to stabilise the depreciation of the Cedi, which has now become a preferred currency in the West African sub Region. The government has built up enough of foreign reserves equivalent to 3 months import cover for goods and services.

NPP false pretences as advocates for Press Freedom

The NPP boasts about press freedom when they were in power, almost makes one to think that journalists operated with their free conscience during their time. But how free was the media during the NPP 8 years rule?

The 2009 Auditor’s General Report at the Ministry of Information exposed their diabolic plans of how they used tax payers’ money and power to influence the media when they were in government. The Auditor’s Report revealed how GHCedis 15 billion were diverted from the Tema Oil Recovery Levy Fund to influence 70 media practitioners. These media practitioners formed the membership of the so called Editor’s Forum created by the NPP administration to effectively disseminate NPP propaganda and policies to fool the people of Ghana.

The NPP cites the repeal of the criminal libel law as proof of their commitment to press freedom in the country when they were in power. But they have soon forgotten how the body guards of Dr Richard Anane pursued and threatened to brutalize journalists such as Raymond Archer, David Tamakloe and Rowland Acquah Stephens, who had to run to police stations to save their lives. How about when Joe Baidoo Ansah, then Minister of Trade, who stormed a live TV program and verbally abused CPP’s Nii Moi Thompson?

How free was the media under NPP when TV Africa crew were detained and traumatised at ex-president’s private residence? Or when the editor of Insight newspaper, was beaten up at the instruction of the then NPP Chairman Haruna Esseku at the NPP headquarters?

The truth, however, is that President John Evans Atta Mills has committed his NDC Government not to interfere with the rights of media houses to fair reporting as guaranteed under the 1992 The President’s regular meeting with the press “Meet the Press” shows that the NDC Government’s is committed to starting a new chapter with the media by having more regular interactions with the press.

NPP false pretences as advocates of Freedom of Speech

The NPP boasts so much about freedom of Speech but it would be recalled that soon after they came to power 2001, Hon Enoch Teye Mensah was arrested and stripped near naked and detained for 50 hours under instruction from the castle for allegedly heard whispering to somebody about inciting people to riot after the stadium disaster. Poor Kwabena Kusi, a mechanic in Kumasi, was arrested for criticizing the frequent travels of President Kufuor? What the NPP and their cronies have forgotten is that the Freedom of Expression, which they enjoy today was made possible when the good people of Ghana voted to adopt the 1992 Constitution, which they boycotted.

NPP continues to use slush funds “tax payers’ money” to fund their diabolic plans to destabilise the NDC government. They continue to swamp the airwaves through serial callers, the print media and the internet through dishonest paid writers. No amount of press conferences funded by slush funds would unfaze President Mills’ administration. The NDC government would continue to remain focus on its Better Ghana Agenda in order to improving the living conditions of Ghanaians.

Under President Mills’ government, freedom of speech is not a rare commodity as the NPP seeks to make Ghanaian believe. The previous NDC government made it possible for various radio stations to flourish in all the regions of the country. The present NDC government respects the rights of licensed radio operators to broadcast unhindered. What more would you expect from a social democratic government that cares for its people and guarantee the citizenry access to information on the airwaves?

Stay tuned…… Diabolic NPP Agenda Exposed……. to be continued in Part 2

Alex Seshie-Vanderpuije Public Relations Officer, NDC UK & Ireland Chapter