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Opinions of Monday, 16 July 2007

Columnist: Amaning, Kwarteng

Should Nduom consider becoming a prez candidate?


This is an initial attempt to provide some reasons why Ghanaians should be interested in Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, MP and the Minister for Public Sector Reform becoming the President of the Republic of Ghana in January, 2009. There are many aspirants, or presidential hopefuls who have their sights on occupying the presidential seat now held by President John Agyekum Kufuor. Dr. Nduom has not been heard in public asking to be considered as a candidate. He has however successfully demonstrated his continuous commitment to serve his country. There is a school of thought that perhaps Ghanaians should draft someone they themselves have reviewed and found appropriate to be the one to succeed President Kufuor. There is the view that after President Kufuor, Ghana’s growth and development must be managed by someone with the necessary political sensitivities but one who also has the necessary qualifications to manage the country to meet the world class expectations of Ghanaians.

Ghanaians have made a lot of sacrifices under President Kufuor to get a stable macroeconomic environment. The sacrifices have brought credibility to Ghana in international circles. It has moved Ghana unto the threshold of breaking out of poverty. Ghana could become the one nation in Africa to fulfill the promise of prosperity for the majority of its people by using its abundant natural resources to her advantage. This will require someone who has the ability to forge a non partisan team with the sole purpose of producing great results for the country and the majority of its people. It needs someone who appreciates partisan politics but one who puts the national interest above narrow ideology.

Is Dr. Nduom the one?

Some of the facts that have defined Dr. Nduom and politics in Ghana include the following:

Started his political career in Ghana as an elected member of the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) District Assembly in 1998 representing the Akotobinsin electoral area in Elmina. He made education his priority area and organized free vacation classes and sponsored the secondary and university education for selected brilliant but needy students.

Became a Member of Parliament for the KEEA Constituency after the 2004 elections on the ticket of the CPP with over 68 percent of the votes cast. He has made job creation and education his primary goals – his advocacy has led to financing of the dredging of the Elmina Benya Lagoon (over 12 million euros) which will form the basis for the construction of a fishing harbour to create jobs. He started work on the construction of four modern public libraries to assist children to read and study – one in each of the four traditional areas in the constituency, to be completed by the end of 2008.

Has demonstrated the ability to work on a non partisan basis to meet national objectives – without regard to who takes credit. He has worked successfully as a CPP member in an NPP administration in sensitive and important portfolios.

Came into government with a positive reputation from the international private sector – partner in the USA Deloitte & Touche who came back to Ghana to start a successful management consulting practice in West Africa. He rose to become the Chairman of the Africa Region Board of Deloitte & Touche. He invested in a number of enterprises in Ghana including a hotel group, a brokerage firm and an IT services firm that together employed at least 300 people at the beginning of 2001 when he joined the first Kufuor administration. Sacrificed significant personal financial gain to serve his country as Minister of State.

Led the team that prepared the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, made it a popular document and ensured its implementation through the national budget. This included the Model Senior Secondary School concept and significant social spending initiatives. The GPRS formed the basis for HIPC qualification.

Championed an initiative to reduce the domestic debt and created a national bond market. As a result, 20% of HIPC proceeds are used to reduce the domestic debt and the bond market has taken off with index linked bonds issued by the Bank of Ghana.

Initiated the National Identification System Project against great odds and political opposition. A National Identification Authority has been created and the project has reached the implementation stage.

Initiated the Long Term Savings Tied to Retirement Project. Formed the Committee to perform the Feasibility Study as Minister of Economic Planning & Regional Cooperation. A new law has been passed to provide the tax incentives to make this important product possible in the Ghanaian financial market.

As the Chairman, he led the National Development Planning Commission to prepare the long term vision and strategy for Ghana, popularizing the goal of reaching a minimum of $1000 per capita income.

Ensured the moving of the West Africa Gas Pipeline project to the construction stage. The first gas is expected to flow to Ghana in 2007.

Implemented the solar energy project for rural community JSS Schools.

Championed the goal of Ghana becoming a net exporter of fuel and power. Projects envisioned are being pursued and the goal is on course to be achieved in five years.

Led the team to design, negotiate and sign a Compact worth $547 million (grant) from the USA government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation to be used to modernize agriculture and transform the rural economy to become prosperous. Earned the responsibility as the Chairman of the Millennium Development Authority to oversee the implementation of the Compact.

Leading the drive to make the public sector relevant again by strengthening it to make it a strong partner for the Ghanaian private sector.

Fought to make comprehensive pay reform in the public sector a priority on government’s agenda.

He has worked to earn the trust and confidence of President Kufuor, who at great risk with his own party has put Dr. Nduom in important positions and given him responsibilities that his own party people have desired. First, he served as the Minister of Economic Planning & Regional Cooperation. Second, served as the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission. Third, he served at the sensitive Energy Ministry as the Minister to stabilize the challenging energy situation and manage the power sector reform program and the petroleum deregulation process. Fourth, he is serving as the Minister in the new Ministry of Public Sector Reform. In June 2006, he was asked to serve as the Chairman of the Millennium Development Authority.

Formed a political movement to build a grassroots foundation for reinvention of the CPP.

Dr. Nduom is acknowledged by many to be a results-oriented leader who gets things done. He has been known as “Mr. Fix-It” in Kufuor’s government. He has demonstrated the ability to work for success when given difficult areas or problems to resolve. This has included the public sector reform program, problems between Ghana and the USA government over Valco (and Kaiser Aluminium) and the MCA project.

The international community has great confidence in Dr. Nduom. To the members of the G8 countries in particular, he has been described as the “go to guy” in government when they need straight explanation of what is happening in Ghana. They are happy when he is involved. They trust him to “get things done”.

The question is, should Dr. Nduom be encouraged to run for the Presidency?

Kwarteng Amaning
Virginia, USA

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.