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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 January 2003

Columnist: Koramoah, Kwame Adofo

The NPP Govt Petroleum Policy - An outrage

I read with horror, the announcement of the NPP government of an increase in petroleum products by nearly 100%, specifically from 10,500 to 20,000 cedis. This, I see as the action of an insensitive government to the plight of the poor people of Ghana who voted for them, hoping that their economic conditions will be ameliorated when they come to power.

As a Ghanaian, I see no justification for this increase. I have read the transcripts of the Honourable Minister for Energy. I have also read various reasons given by the many ministers of this government as the basis for its decision, but I see no sound basis upon which they support their demand for the poor people who are not paid realistic salaries to pay realistic prices for petroleum products. Today it is petrol, tomorrow it will be water, then electricity, then food etc? all under the dictation of the World Bank/ IMF. This is sad, a country where the majority of the people earn less than $2 a day.

The people of Ghana elected the NPP government. It did not elect the IMF and the World Bank. The people elected the government to ameliorate the arrogance, the harsh economic pills, which were been unleashed on them, by the NDC government under the dictation of the World Bank/IMF. The NPP (then in opposition) promised to do so. But when it came to power, the first thing it did was to increase petroleum prices by up to 60%, ostensibly to pay off the debt of TOR. The following questions immediately come to mind: why wasn?t the debt of TOR paid off when the people of Ghana were told that the increase at the time was necessary to pay off the debt of TOR? Should we infer that the people of Ghana were misled? What guarantees can this government give to the people that this increment will pay off the debt, and if so, when the so called debts would be paid off?

The sad situation is that while the people were made to tighten their belts, the President and the MP?s were loosening theirs. They gave themselves $25,000 loans and frequently extensive travels in luxury ?all at the expense of the poor people of Ghana. These are moneys being wasted.

When the NPP government came to power, the people expected it to run the country, not from Western Capitals of the US and its allies (the hypocrites who call themselves humanitarians yet impose harsh economic pills on poor needy people around the world). The people of Ghana voted for the NPP government in good faith, expecting policies that are home grown, independent from the dictation of the IMF/ World Bank and others whose sole covert objective is the ultimate obliteration of our people from the surface of the earth. But sadly, it appears that the NPP government has lost the plot. Today they are demanding the payment of realistic prices for petroleum products. Tomorrow it will be the water, then the electricity, then the food. They forget that the people just don?t have the means. They also forget the saying that ?when a man demands the payment of market price from a man who is dying of hunger, and by so doing caused his death, he is guilty of murder?.

If the people of Ghana were strangled to death as a result of these insane policies under the dictation of Western powers, the NPP government would be responsible. The true fact of the matter is that the people of Ghana cannot pay realistic prices, because they are not paid realistic wages. We have been under the IMF and his sister since 1983 (thanks to PNDC/NDC) and our livelihood has deteriorated even further. If the government is confused as to how it can raise moneys to run the economy properly, maybe it should consider non resident taxes for all Ghanaians in the Diaspora. That idea can raise millions of dollars a year and I believe our people in the Diaspora are men and women of good will who will support our people back home, just as the Jewish people around the world do to the state of Israel.

Ghana cannot be build by any outsider but by Ghanaians. In fact outsiders don?t give a hoot about us. It follows that the government?s continuous schoolboy attitude to the IMF/World Bank will not help us and any policies under their dictation are going to fail. In fact the policies will ultimately kill us. There is no way we can succeed if we continue to go the way we are going; and we must challenge the NPP government and express our collective outrage, as to its policies which are dictated by un-elected bunch of bureaucrats of the IMF/World Bank.

Kwame Adofo Koramoah
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia.

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