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Opinions of Sunday, 9 January 2011

Columnist: NDC

Achievements Of Professor Evans Atta Mills Led NDC Government

Better Ghana Agenda:
Achievements Of Professor Evans Atta Mills Led NDC Government In The First Two Years In Office

We of the NDC Atlanta, are very much pleased with the successes chalked by Prof. Mills led NDC administration and it is our firm believe that discerning Ghanaians are witnessing the massive infrastructural developments and achievements recorded by the NDC just in a short span of two years against the backdrop of mismanaged and shattered economy that we inherited.

It is our greatest conviction that Ghanaians will push off the political gimmick and jealousy by the opposition, and come to the realization that the NDC government has done a lot for our country within this short period of time in power and must have the confidence that the government will hard work and turn the lives of the citizenry around by the end of the first 4 year term.

The National Democratic Congress is not bragging about its achievements but just to put on record to disabuse the minds of the people who are constantly been bombarded with negative messages by the opposition that, although there is a long way for us to go, the government is on track in the right direction. This has necessitated the publication of the booklet containing the achievements of Prof. Mills led NDC government, and below are excerpts of this booklet.

1. Sustain reduction in inflation
Inflation rates have over the last 15 months reduced consistently, and the trend has continued into October 2010. From a high of 18.1% in December 2008, the rate of inflation as at October 2010 is 9.38%. This is indicative of the fact that the fiscal-monetary policy mix and corrective measures put in place to put the economy back on track are working.

2. Improved gross international reserves
Gross International Reserves in January 2009 was US$2bn covering 1.8 months of imports. Currently, it is US$3.5bn covering 3 months of import cover.

3. Currency Stabilization
The Ghana Cedi has stabilized over the months; an indication that the effects of both monetary and fiscal policies are yielding positive results. The stability of the cedi is the longest since the re-denomination exercise. The latest survey shows a more positive assessment of the general macroeconomic outlook and a rebound in both business and consumer confidence.

4. 2010 Macroeconomic Performance
Provisional figures indicate that as at September 2010, the economy expanded by 5.9% against GDP target of 6.5%.

5. Single Spine
Single Spine Salary implementation is vigorously underway. Please check this link for the latest information on the Single Spine Salary.

6. Revenue Agencies Integration
The revenue agencies have been integrated, which translate into greater efficiency in revenue collection. Today, we have a Ghana Revenue Authority, which brings together the operations of VAT, CEPS and IRS.

7. Domestic Financing
Domestic financing is on track. We have not borrowed more than is constitutionally required from the Central Bank. This constitutional requirement was flouted in the past.

8. Convergence Criteria
For the first time in 9 years, Ghana has met three out of the four primary convergence criteria of the West Africa Monetary Union.

9. TOR Debt
Despite the introduction of the TOR debt recovery levy by the previous government, TOR and its creditors almost collapsed due to the failure of the Kufour-led NPP administration to pay the debt. The funds that accrued under the levy were misapplied and misappropriated. The Mills-led NDC administration has however cleared over 50% of the debt with an amount of GHC4456 million.

10. Foreign Direct Investment
Foreign Direct Investments in Ghana in 2009 amounted to $551.30 million, according to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). The amount represents 88.92% of investments recorded by the centre in that year. (A GNA report citing the quarterly update report of the GIPC says the Centre recorded a total of 257 investment projects with a total estimated value of $619.99 million).

11. Increase in Capitation Grant
Government has increased the Capitation Grant by 50% from GHC3.00 to GH4.50 per child. GHC23.8 million was released as payment.

12. Free Uniforms
President Mills’ commitment to ensure no child is deprived of basic education led to the innovative intervention of supplying free school uniforms to pupils in deprived communities. This has so far achieved 75% penetration in the target communities. This initiative uses local fabrics and local textile industries in order to support the local textile industry.

13. Free Exercise Books
Government has also initiated the provision of free exercise books. So far more than 23 million pieces have been distributed. These supplies are not only helping to improve school enrolment and attendance, but the local production is contributing to revamping our local printing industry.

14. Expansion of School Feeding Programme
The school feeding programme has been improved and expanded. 230 more schools will be enrolled in January 2011. GHC 13 million was released for the programme in 2009 and in 2010 GHC50 million.

15. Full Tuition Fees for Teachers
Government paid the full tuition fees for all teachers pursuing further studies through distance learning.

16. Replacing Schools Under Trees
A sustained program involving the Ministry of Education, the GETFUND, and resources allocated by the various District Assemblies has began to ensure the elimination of schools under trees and provide all schools in the country with decent classroom infrastructure. So far out of the 4,320 schools under trees, almost 1,000 schools under trees have been eliminated across the country

17. Revamping Collapsed Science Resource Centers
Government has started a program to re-equip science resource centers in all districts of the country as part of the commitment in the NDC manifesto to enhance the teaching and learning of science. The centers, an innovation under the NDC administration of Jerry Rawlings, were neglected by the NPP and run down. A model state of the art Science & ICT Resource Centre has been constructed in Bolga in the Upper East Region to serve the three Northern Regions and students from neighboring countries. President Mills commissioned this in November 2010

18. Reduction in SHS Duration
Government fulfilled a campaign and manifesto promise to reduce the duration of SHS (formerly SSS) from 4 to 3 years. That extension itself had no strong technical basis and the NPP government failed to put in place infrastructure development plans that will ensure that the needed classrooms, dormitories, libraries, dining and assembly halls etc, are in place for the implementation. Government will thus focus on quality infrastructure and logistics and motivation of teachers other than mere expansion in duration.

19. Savings on the Reduction of Appointments
True to the promise of the NDC to reduce the number of Ministerial appointees and run a lean government, the number of Ministers has significantly been reduced from 87 of the erstwhile government to 73 in the Mills-led government. It is projected that approximately GHC8 million is saved annually by this bold decision to run a lean government. The hundreds of Special Assistants, Presidential Staffers and Spokespersons are also a thing of the past.

20. SADA
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) law has been passed and work has started to open up the three Northern regions, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions to enhance agriculture production and industrialization.

21. Producer Price of Cocoa
The producer price of cocoa has been increased twice in 2010 and is currently at GHC200 per bag of GHC 3,200 per tonne of 16 bags, which is the highest in the sub-region and highest ever paid the cocoa farmers in Ghana’s entire history.

• Eleven (11) lifts for Korle bu
• Two (2) lifts for Efia Nkwanta
• Commissioned Tamale Teaching Hospital & Wa Regional Hospital
• Completed five polyclinics in the Northern Region
• Successful containment of cerebrospinal spinal meningitis (CSM) and H1N1 flu
• Delivered six buses to health training schools in BA, UER and UWR
• Laid nine (9) major health bills in Cabinet including the NHIS Bill for one-time premium payment
• Sod-cutting for the construction of additional 500 bed facility at the 37 Military Hospital to enhance status as National Emergency Health Centre
• Installation of MRI at 37 Military Hospital for effective health delivery

National Ambulance Service
• Currently, the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has 24 fully functioning ambulance stations distributed across the country. Government is planning to scale up and expand service to cover all district capitals
• Training of 400 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is on going
• The National Ambulance Service bill will soon be laid before parliament for consideration
• The Work of the NAS has been recognized by Word Health Organization (WHO) and therefore, has been captured in its success story book entitled: “strengthening care for the injured: success stories and lessons learnt around the world”.

One-Time Premium Payment
• The government has stated its commitment to slicing up universal health care for residents of the country through a policy that allows for One-Time Premium Payment for membership of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), thus allowing a reduction in the lifetime premium of members.
• A nationwide survey to determine the willingness of the citizenry to pay the One-Time Premium was conducted in 2009
• Also, the roadmap towards the implementation of the One-Time Premium was developed awaiting passage of the new NHIS law to pave way for the Presidential launch
• With or without the implementation of one time premium payment, the NHIS will need additional resources to sustain it

Completed Projects
• DNA Laboratory at KBTH
• Refurbishment of the Tower section of the Medical Block in KBTH
• Expansion of the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre at KBTH
• A new Reproductive Health Centre at KBTH

The following abandoned projects in Accra-Tema Metropolis were reactivated in 2009 for completion
• Usher Polyclinic Theatre completed
• Maternity Block at Achimota Hospital
• Upgrading of Maamobi, Kaneshie and Mamprobi Polyclinics
• Contract has been awarded for the construction of maternity and children’s block at Tema General Hospital

Preparatory works including value for money audits, tendering, negotiations and required approvals have been completed for the implementation of the following proposed turnkey and bilateral-sponsored projects in 2010
• Construction has started for the major rehabilitation and upgrading of Tamale Teaching Hospital
• Statutory approval being sought for re-equipment of 13 laundry facilities in selected nationwide hospitals
• Funds secured for the expansion of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at KATH and KBTH
• Construction of Blood Transfusion Centers
• Projects launched for 8 numbers Ghana Hospital project with funding from Eurogetde-Invest S.A. for the development of 2 Regional Hospitals and staff housing at Wa and Kumasi
• Designs ready for the Phase 2 of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital redevelopment
• Five (5) new Health Centers nationwide and 3 District Hospitals with Abu Dhabi OPEC funding respectively.

National Health Insurance
• Registered 15,555,816 members as at 30th June 2010, representing 66.4% of the population
• Started formal accreditations in 2009. As of now, 2,685 healthcare facilities have been formally accredited
• The new Clinical Audit Division has been able to recover over 14 million GHS as a result of the over 5-month processing in the past. This is partly due to the new Claims Processing Centre that has been established
• There is evidence that confidence in the scheme is growing. Utilization grew by about 75%, from 10 million to almost 17.5 million between 2008 and 2009
• The above puts financial pressure on the NHIS
• As part of initiatives to improve maternal care, the National Health Insurance Council has revised the free maternal care policy to include coverage for the test to prove pregnancy, if confirmed
• There is increased collaboration among stakeholders

We believe that every step counts toward a thousand kilometer journey, and therefore every achievement counts toward achieving THE BETTER GHANA AGENDA of our government. We implore Ghanaians to embrace this mantra so that together we will move Ghana to a new pedestal. Lets all talk about policies and things that will move our country forward and eschew the insults and all the negativities.