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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

Six Years of President Kufuor: Has Anything Change?

IT has been almost six years since the government of the New Patriotic Party led by His Excellency, President John Agyekum Kufuor took office as the second president of the Fourth Republic. Time has so far dissolved that race to succeed him as almost began in earnest.

It is important that we stop to take inventory of the government and look at the balance sheet as it pertains now.

When President Kufuor was been inaugurated he made a promised to all Ghanaians there was going to be a ‘golden age of business” and assured Ghanaians about ‘zero tolerance for corruption.” These were the two cardinal promises which any future historian would associate the regime with.

GOLDEN AGE OF BUSINESS Ghanaians were comforted when the president at the time of his first inaugural address said that there would be “golden age of business”. Less than fours years after this proclamation was made Ghanaian companies started folding up from the pressures of cheap imports from United Arab Emirates(Dubai), China and Taiwan. Every Ghanaian is importing from China. Today it is easier for a financial institution to grant a business entity five hundred million cedis to import rice, toilet rolls, cotton buds, and tooth pick from China than to grant a local manufacturer two hundred and fifty million cedis to buy equipment and machinery to expand production here in Ghana. Textiles and garment, poultry industries have suffered under the iron feet of cheap imported goods from Asia. The punitive taxes put in place to deter people from bringing poultry products into the country have been slashed causing the local poultry farmers to suffocate. Day by day I hear poultry farmers saying that they do not believe in the principle of going concern in business. Most Ghanaians companies are folding up in an era of golden age of business.

ZERO TOLERANCE OF CORRUPTION Ghanaians were promised zero tolerance for corruption. The regime started well on anti-corruption drive in the country. However, the battle against corruption became a kind of retrogressive fight- prosecuting only members of the previous NDC regime. The prosecution and trial of Mallam Yussif Issah was an exceptional case. Today corruption perception index (CPI) for Ghana is fast swelling in such a way that Ghana scored a woeful 3.3 points out of a possible haul of 10 for a corrupt-free country, thereby ranking the 70th country on the scale of transparency. Last year’s score of 3.3 represents a drop from the 3.5 recorded in 2005. Ghana's best CPI score was 3.9, achieved in 2002. The issue of corruption is still seen to be a perception as know one can measure exactly the numerical value of corruption.

GIANT FEATS: SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF Perhaps it would be unfair to judge the government based on these two premises. The regime has done well for Ghanaians which If I do not acknowledge it then I have been unfair to the government. From economic stability to deepening the institutions of democratic governance, positive gains are replete during the past six years of the NPP government. Favoured by the rising price of cocoa and gold in world market and battered against by the surging price of crude oil, the net effect still is favourable and even better than the international shocks that sent the National Democratic Congress from office in 2000. The cedi has relatively been stabilized against the major trading currencies. This has even necessitated for the redenomination of the Ghanaian cedi which when implemented would avoid the tendencies of carry cash in cocoa sacks. Interest and inflation rates are almost record low in decades. Though most of these micro economic gains cannot be translated into the macro economic gains, it is hoped that the economy is poised for giant take off.

The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) which spells out in unequivocal terms the main pillars of the regime-accelerated economic growth, good governance and human resource development is achieving results for the regime. The capitation grant and school feeding program have increased enrollment especially at the primary level though quality of the teaching and learning is still debatable. More teachers have enrolled at the distance education program been organized by the University of Cape Coast and that of Winneba.

Road construction is going all over the country with emphasis rehabilitation of major highways and tarring of streets and minor roads in the towns and cities.

The introduction of Metro Mass Transit and the National Health Insurance Scheme would forever be associated with the NPP government. The National Youth Employment Scheme is also a plus to the government.

IS EVERYBODY SATISFIED? Still there is a discontent among some sections of Ghanaians about the economy and the way the nation is being run. Off course no government can get 100% approval rate. Others still maintain that they have not seen any improvement in their lot since the government of President Kufuor came. This even includes some faithful members of NPP. What would expect NDC members also to say?

The overall balance of NPP government is not all that excellent neither it is a failure. One a scale of one to hundred the regime would get a little around 63%. Perhaps it is the dream of President to score 100% before he packs his bag and baggage and leave the office, If this is so then he must work hard to redeem all the campaign promises and make sure that permanent jobs are created and public sector wage reforms is completed.

The government is still lucky. It ought to use the remaining two years to leave a lasting legacy which even angels above, demons bellow, Pharisee and Sadducees around would all join hand to say “ well done, good and faithful servant, you deserve 100%.”

Appiah Kusi Adomako is an international freelance writer and the president of the Ghana Chapter of Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation. He can be contacted through: Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, P.O. BOX. KS 13640. Kumasi.
Tel: 027-740-2467

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