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Opinions of Thursday, 29 November 2007

Columnist: Asiedu, Frank

Atta Mills Bites Wrongly

The Finance Minister Hon Kwadwo Baah Wiredu on the 15th of November, 2007 presented one of the most brilliant budgets of the NPP government on behalf of President Kufuor. What shocked Ghanaians was the fact that the opposition NDC even before the budget was read and without knowing what it entailed had already written on papers in the Chamber of Parliament tagging it as “killer budget” and “Ye wuooo Agbe Woeee.”

Prof. Mills and his NDC usually criticise President Kufuor’s administration for what according to them is a complete failure of this government. In the next breath, Prof. Mills and the NDC will claim credit for whatever they see as positive achievements. So what are they taking credit for since they claim the NPP government has done nothing? Prof. Mills who thinks he is the shadow President in an act of desperation always try to present alternative document to initiatives from NPP government that dims their chances of coming to power again.

Prof. Mills should get his facts correct, the NDC never paid any Ghanaian worker ¢ 42,000 as minimum wage. The actual amount that was paid under NDC as minimum wage was ¢29,000. They only increased it from ¢29,000 to ¢42,000 in November, 2000 and Ghanaians booted them out of power in December the same year.

Let us even agree without admitting that the figures that were given by Prof. Mills in his so called alternative budget was correct and that single room rent in 2000 was ¢15,000 and today is ¢200,000. Minimum wage today is also ¢19,000 (more than US$ 2). What it means is that the minimum pay a worker got under NDC for 2weeks work was ¢40,600. The same worker under President Kufuor’s NPP government working for 2weeks now receives ¢266,000. Inflation rate has a lot to do with the value of money; it was 40% under Prof. Mills’ NDC but now is 10.2% under NPP which confirms the fiscal prudence of the NPP government.

The worker under Prof. Mills NDC could only pay 1month rent (¢15000), buy 1 loaf of bread (¢1000), 4 tins of milk ie. ¢7,200 (milk in 2000 was ¢1,800) with ¢17,400 remaining as his/her balance. The same worker under NPP with 2weeks salary can pay for 1month rent (¢200,000), buy 1 loaf of bread (¢10,000), 4 tins of milk (¢24,000) with a balance of ¢32,000. The worker under Prof. Mills’ NDC can again buy 1 tin of Milo (¢15,400) with only ¢2000 left to take home in 2000. But the worker under NPP government now can also buy 1 tin of Milo (¢26,000) with a balance of ¢6,000 in his pocket. Prof Mills should tell as which government, NDC or NPP that cares for the Ghanaian worker?

The $750 million Eurobond on the capital market was not just given to Ghana on a silver platter but it was based on qualification due to prudent economic management and better governance policies of the NPP government. What is clear is that, Ghana under the leadership of Prof. Mills and his 24 hour consultant can never qualify for financial facility from the capital markets. Let’s take it even further, Ghana under NPP government and South Africa are the only two countries to have qualified to enter the capital markets to trade in sovereign bonds. Prof. Mills’ AFRC/P(NDC) in 20years could not achieve this feat only for the NPP to do it in just 7years. So what are the NDC and Prof. Mills talking about?

Oh! Prof. Mills, you sadden my heart when you talk like this. Whether the idea for the Northern Development Fund came from mars, Afghanistan or Iraq is not important. Is it good or bad? The people of Ghana and especially those from the north believe that it is good. Seven (7) years since NPP came to power and so what? At least, President Kufuor’s NPP government has demonstrated that it has the interest of the 3 Northern Regions at heart; GHc 25 million which is more than US$ 25 million seed fund will make a lot of difference in the Northern Regions. Ghanaians want to hear from Prof. Mills what fund did his P(NDC) put in place during the 20years that they were in power towards the development of the 3 Northern Regions. The NDC should not use the Northern Electrification Project as having done something for the north because that achievement belongs to Dr. Hila Limann.

If not for anything at all, Prof. Mills and the NDC should congratulate NPP government for bringing a lot of legislation in its penchant desire to curb corruption or to protect state fund from nation looters like the NDC. We all know of how the NDC left trillions of cedis and almost collapsed Commercial Bank before leaving office. Recently, we also witnessed how public servants misappropriated state money during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sittings, which were never televised in public under the NDC government.

What Fiscal Responsibility Bill simply means is to prevent public servants from spending government’s money recklessly. The bill when passed into law will seek to prevent what happened at the PAC sittings and people like the NDC from leaving trillions of debt for the country. Is it not a positive legislation? Is it not Ghana that stands to benefit as against state looters like the NDC? I want the good people of Ghana to see the PAC sittings in public as an effort by the NPP administration to expose technocrats and Civil Servants who misappropriate state funds. This is not the behaviour of a government that condones corruption. Prof. Mills, for now, we can forgive you but please come again.



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