The True State Of The Nation 2007 -NDC

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, just last Thursday, February 08, 2007, President J.A. Kufour read his message on the State of the Nation to Parliament. In that speech, he challenged members to do a critical mid-term analysis with candour and sincerity on the state of the nation. This is exactly what we intend to do in this piece
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President in his State of the Nation Address presents a picture of hope, progress, and achievement instead of the actual picture of desperation and despair, doom and gloom of the future and the dark clouds of fear and insecurity hanging on the lives of the majority of citizens of this nation.
(2.) A DIVIDED NATION Ladies and Gentlemen:The unprecedented and peaceful handing over of power from one democratically elected government to another and the immeasurable and tumultuous goodwill Ghanaians gave to the NPP administration have long been recklessly squandered by the government at the alter of viciousness, vengeance and arrogance.The recent return of His Excellency, Kofi Annan, the victories of the Black Stars and the Golden Jubilee Anniversary present a unique opportunity for us to reconcile ourselves, unify the nation and set it on the path of accelerated development. It is painful to state that the 6-year rule of the NPP administration has left the country even more deeply divided, in a way not experienced since our independence.Ladies and Gentlemen:The true state of our nation is one that is bitterly polarized on political and ethnic lines, where political patronage reigns supreme and the politics of exclusion is a daily nightmare for people who do not tow the line of the ruling Government. The culture of fear has been introduced into the body politics of the country. As a result businessmen, contractors, intellectuals and others fear to express their views objectively or be seen associating with non-NPP politicians.
(3.) SELECTIVE JUSTICEIn his first press conference on 22nd March 2001, after the NDC had handed over the reins of administration to the NPP, Prof. J.E.A. Mills said “we had hoped that cooperation, consultation and consensus would characterize at least the first few months of the NPP Administration, so that they would have the benefit of the NDC’s long experience in government and also forge a united front in the face of external factors which have in the main been responsible for our economic difficulties in 2000.” Alas! This was not to be.
Since the NPP took over the administration of this country in 2001, there has been a pernicious attempt not only to demonize the largest opposition party, but the pursuit of an actual policy of selective justice in which the judicial process is used to incarcerate as many leading members of the NDC as possible, with the avowed aim of prosecuting the party into oblivion. It is no wonder that former Senior Minister J.H. Mensah let slip the actual intentions of the NPP, when he pronounced with elation in Legon, that “by the time the government finishes with the trial and imprisonment of former NDC Ministers and functionaries, the NDC will be no more.” Since 2001 a large number of NDC personalities have had their homes searched ‘Rambo style’ under the guise of looking for illegal weapons. Many have been hauled before investigative bodies, had their cars impounded, and subjected to numerous kinds of harassment. In the absence of a reality check, one would not believe that this was Ghana of the 21st Century, where one party had handed over power to another in a peaceful transition. It is reminiscent of the era of coup d’etats.Since then, the conviction of Mallam Issah of the PNC and other NDC personalities like Ibrahim Adam, Kwame Peprah, Dr. George Yankey, and only recently Dan Abodakpi have occurred in the face of even more blatant instances of corruption and obvious and serious cases of financial loss to the state under the very nose of President Kufuor. In all this President Kufour has abdicated his oath of office in which he swore “to do right to all manner of persons” and deviously insists that he will not respond to allegations against members of his government and will only take action if he is provided with evidence. Even when evidence has been provided he has still failed to act.
(4.) GOVERNANCELadies and Gentlemen:Fifteen years since the adoption of constitutional rule, institutions of governance are still very weak and subject to the bullying and manipulation of a powerful executive. Ghana needs a strong and independent legislature that is well resourced to carry out its constitutional mandate. Parliament as it exists today is weak and subject to the authority of the executive. It may be necessary to review the constitutional provisions that allow the majority of ministers to be appointed from Parliament in order to remove the ‘carrot’ that the executive uses to create a docile majority that are subject to its whims and caprices. There is the need to strengthen these institutions.
The general public’s opinion about the judiciary is not a flattering one. There are allegations of interference in the work of judges by the Chief Justice. Ghana needs a strong and independent judiciary that is not subject to the manipulation of the executive or the rich and powerful in society. The public pronouncement of the Chief Justice that judgments are written for some Judges and the blatant interference in the work of the Judiciary by the President in the Tsatsu Tsikata’s case are clear testimony of the NPP’s misconception of an independent Judiciary. The judiciary must be strengthened and resourced to carry out its constitutional duties.We must consider the possibility of an independent public prosecutor with security of tenure. Such a prosecutor must have constitutional authority to institute prosecutions without considerations of political affiliation. We therefore recommend the separation of the office of the Attorney- General from that of the Minister of Justice.The law setting up the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) must be reviewed to strengthen it in the fight against corruption and graft. The SFO must be affiliated with the office of the independent public prosecutor and must be able to initiate investigations in cases of abuse of office and corruption without recourse to the political office of the Minister for Justice.We must take the fight against corruption to a whole new level instead of the platitudes paid to it so far by the Kufuor administration. The Office of Accountability in the Office of the President must be shut down and the resources being expended on it channeled to the SFO and CHRAJ. There must be constitutional review of our assets declaration regime to make it more meaningful in the fight against corruption.There must be an inter-party consensus on the nature and number of ministries Ghana needs so that ministries do not appear and disappear at every cabinet reshuffle with the attendant disruptions and waste of public resources.
(5.) HUMAN RIGHTS AND SECURITYHuman Rights and security remain a great challenge to the NPP Government. Almost 5 years since the murder of the Ya Na of Dagbon and 40 of his elders, the NPP Government has still been unable to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly crime and bring them to justice. Even more recently in the case of the the murder in 2004 of Alhaji Issah Molbila, where the soldiers involved in the Alhaji’s torture leading to his death have been identified, the NPP is either unable or unwilling to proceed with their prosecution. Ghana which in the past was the most tranquil state in the West African sub-region, with a very low crime rate, has recently become a dangerous country to live in. Armed robberies involving rape and murder of the victims, highway robberies where buses are ambushed and the passengers mostly traders robbed of their entire capital have become a daily occurrence in Ghana.A prominent lawyer and citizen of Ghana, Alhaji Ibrahim Mahama, currently live in exile in Burkina Faso for fear of being attacked and murdered.Recently mysterious killings in the Suhum area have created fear about the possibility of a serial killer operating in the area. This has heightened fear among the citizenry in view of the mysterious deaths of women that occurred in the run up to the 2000 elections. The brutal gunning down recently of the late Samuel Ennin, the Chairman of the GJA Ashanti Region, is a typical example of the state of insecurity Ghanaians have to live with under the Kufuor administration.
(5.) ECONOMY Ladies and Gentlemen:A review of sectoral performances will create a better understanding of the stagnation and degeneration that have occurred in various facets of national life under the NPP administration.
The NPP Government continues to take pride in stabilizing the macro-economic environment. While it is largely true that there has been stabilization in this sector over the last several years, many factors account for this. A favourable international economic environment beginning 2001 has been a key factor in achieving this stabilization. Unlike the period leading up to the year 2000, when prices of our major export products were near collapse, with cocoa at an all time low of $700 per tonne and gold trading as low as $240 per ounce, cocoa from 2001 has traded at an average of $1600 per tonne, while gold has consistently kept pushing the $700 per ounce mark. Added to this has been the improved donor inflows and huge debt forgiveness granted Ghana and other developing countries.
Indeed one can say that with the amount of resources available to Ghana over the last six years, this country must be far ahead of where it presently is. It is a paradox of our development that with the kind of resources that have flowed into this country under the NPP Administration, Ghanaians feel even more financially emasculated than they did before the period up to 2000.Ladies and Gentlemen:The latest UN Human development report released last year gives a graphic picture of what is happening in Ghana. The report indicates a reduction in the quality of life and a growing gap between the rich and poor in Ghana. While the 20% richest have access to the best of social services such as education and health, the 20% poorest have experienced a significant slide in their quality of life, especially in respect to basic social services such as shelter, health, education and access to water. Guinea worm has gone on a rampage. Ghana has gone from being the best country in guinea worm eradication in 2000, to overtake war torn Sudan as the worst country in terms of the incidence of guinea worm. In a sad commentary ex- President Jimmy Carter described Ghana as not only being the worst afflicted in the guinea worm disease but also as being a major exporter to neighbouring countries. Maternal mortality and infant mortality have all shot up significantly over the last six years. In respect to infant malnutrition, the latest statistics indicate that almost one out of every three Ghanaian children is malnourished.Introduction of numerous taxes and levies have increased the cost of doing business in Ghana. This has been aggravated by steep hikes in the price of utility services. The cumulative cost of electricity supply has gone up by more than 300%, water by more than 100%, and petroleum products by about 500%. These have resulted in the obvious sluggish growth in the industrial and manufacturing sector. Combined with an erosion of the purchasing power of the citizenry, this situation has led to a folding up of many businesses and left most manufacturers and consumer outlets with high inventories.While the NPP in opposition was strongly opposed to petroleum price increases, and actually chided the NDC Government to look for other sources of generating revenue other than petroleum taxes, in government the NPP has superintended some of the steepest hikes in petroleum taxes and price ever in the history of Ghana. Where has all this revenue gone? What does the ordinary Ghanaian have to show for the huge revenues collected by Government over the last 6 years? We share the CJA’s opinion in their statement of April 26th, 2006 when they say that “ordinary Ghanaians must not be overtaxed to satisfy the opulent lifestyles of government functionaries. All Ghanaians have been watching with indignation the dramatic changes in the lifestyles of NPP Government officials who until recently were almost paupers.”Ladies and Gentlemen: Despite the President’s numerous and expensive foreign travel, ostensibly to seek investment, foreign direct investment (fdi) has fallen steeply and hovers around the $100 million per year mark, from a high of almost $400 million in the late 1990s.There has been a steep increase in external borrowing. In 2005 alone external borrowing amounted to almost $800 million, representing a 20% increase in external debt. Indeed it is paradoxical that while the NPP Government begs for debt forgiveness with one hand, it continues piling on additional debt at an even faster rate with the other.
(6.) EMPLOYMENTLadies and Gentlemen:The economic policies pursued by the NPP have adversely affected the poor and vulnerable. These policies have destroyed jobs rather than fulfill the promise to create jobs. The unemployment situation has worsened. The worst affected is the textile and garment industry. Textile factories which were the flagship of Ghana’s industrial sector have collapsed leading to massive retrenchment of labour. Cotton farming which was the bastion of agriculture in Northern Ghana, has also collapsed leading to a steady drift of the youth from that part of the country to seek menial labour in the cities in the south.The cost of high utilities and levies also led to a collapse of many firms in the timber industry. This led to massive lay-offs. The young and energetic youth left unemployed by this situation finding no other means to eke out a livelihood, have resorted to chain-saw operations, which is fast destroying the little forest cover left in Ghana.A significant portion of the population that were marginally above the poverty line, have become a new class of poor people. Diminishing real incomes have thrown a larger number of people into the street, leading to a phenomenal increase in the number of street hawkers.The registration of unemployed and under-employed was an ill-advised measure adopted by government which has led to increased frustration among the teeming number of unemployed. Almost 4 years on, many of them are left clutching the little registration slips they were given with absolutely no job prospects in sight. The Youth Employment Programme for which government illegally raided the coffers of the GETFUND, NHIS and District Assembly Common Fund, is not providing much relief. On the ground the programme is being implemented on party lines. There are numerous reported cases of coordinators demanding a registration fee from the already impoverished youth. In other cases, the youth are led to believe that they must join the NPP in order to enhance their chances of earning a job placement.
(7.) ENERGYLadies and Gentlemen:We now turn to the most significant crisis facing our nation at this juncture in her history. Following the energy crisis of 1998, the NDC put in place a well considered plan for increasing Ghana’s energy generating capacity to meet the rapidly rising demand. Construction of Aboadze Phase I & 2 with a combined capacity of 550 MW which had commenced in 1996, was brought on stream in 1999. The Osagyefo barge with capacity of 125 MW was constructed with assistance from the Japanese Government to be moored at Efasu to tap the viable offshore gas field operated by GNPC. The NDC Government also repaired and brought into operation the 30 megawatt thermal plant located at Tema. Additionally to increase generating capacity of Akosombo, the NDC Government in 1999 commenced retrofitting of the old turbines installed since the Nkrumah era. This represented a 108 MW increase in the hydro capacity from 912 MW to 1020MW.To supplement thermal generation using gas, the then CEO of GNPC, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, who is currently being tried for causing financial loss to the state, championed the West African Gas Pipeline Project and went ahead to sign the MOU after extensive advocacy work that got Togo, Nigeria and Benin on board the project to make it viable. The Parliamentary Committee of Mines and Energy at the time, was also resourced to visit the legislatures of Togo and Benin, to persuade their counterparts there to buy into the project and prepare for legislative input. This is the project for which President Kufuor constantly tries to steal credit.The NDC envisioned that this project will bring considerable amounts of cheap Nigerian gas to Ghana and reduce the cost of thermal generation by almost 30%. NDC also introduced the policy of Independent Power Producers (IPP) within the framework of the power sector reform. This allowed the participation of the private sector in power generation to supplement that provided by VRA. Plans were also far advanced in respect of additional hydro generation, through execution of the Bui Dam project. The reckless cancellation of the contract of Messrs Brown and Root, threatened to endanger the project until the salvation by the Chinese Government almost 5 years late in 2006. The NDC policy to promote the use of LPG and renewable energy sources has been shelved since 2001. No serious initiatives have occurred on this front under the NPP Administration.
Ladies and Gentlemen:Despite these laudable initiatives bequeathed to the NPP Government in respect of energy generation, the Kufuor administration went to sleep and could not see or hear the warning signs. Not even a strong warning by the Chief Executive of VRA that with VALCO coming on stream, the Authority could buckle under the pressure if urgent steps were not taken to enable it recover its losses and augment its generating capacity. The NPP Government only woke up in shock when they were hit by the power crisis of 2006. The President in his address mentioned belated measures to resolve the problem. While we are skeptical about how fast these measures will alleviate the supply bottle-necks, particularly so as the President cared little about the accuracy of his figures, we are willing to strongly support these measures in order that they come to fruition as early as possible, to put the energy supply that is so crucial to national development back on an even keel.
(8.) HEALTHAccess to basic health care still remains a challenge for the majority of Ghanaians. Detention of patients after hospitalization has become a common occurrence. As stated earlier, this has led to significant increases in maternal and infant mortality. Erosion of purchasing power and general poverty has also seen an increase in infant malnutrition.NDC had started the pilot schemes for the introduction of a National Health Insurance Scheme before it left power in 2000. At the 2000 election, there was a consensus as indicated in the manifestos of all the political parties that contested the elections, that a national health insurance scheme was the best way to improve general access to health care. With its victory in that election, the lot fell on the NPP to implement the scheme. A very reckless and over hasty implementation that saw a one-sided passage of the bill through parliament and lack of due diligence in implementation has led to a huge mess in the NHIS. As we speak now, almost 3 million people registered under the scheme, one year on, have not received their cards to enable them access healthcare.We also have a situation where hospitals and pharmacies are reluctant to provide care under the scheme because repayment of claims under the scheme is reported to be very slow.There are many cases where holders of insurance cards from one district are refused treatment in another district when they travel. They are asked to either pay cash or go back to their district to access treatment.Children are disadvantaged under the scheme. Under the cash and carry system, children under five, pregnant women and persons over 70 years were entitled to free healthcare. Under the current scheme, children are entitled to treatment only if their parents have subscribed to the NHIS. This would adversely affect our infant mortality statistics.More sinister is the blatant breach of Act 650 by the agencies that are supposed to transfer funds into the National Health Insurance Fund. SSNIT is in arrears of several billions of cedis in respect of the transfer of the 2.5% workers contribution to the NHIF. Payments that should go directly to the NHIF from the collecting agencies are rather paid to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Controller and Accountant Generals Department, who then decide when to transfer these monies to the NHIF contrary to clause 91 of the law. These monies have therefore suffered the hazards of going through the consolidated fund.Ladies and Gentlemen: As at 31st December 2005, the total amount of money accrued from NHIL and SSNIT contributions stood at ¢1.861 trillion, out of which only ¢984.48 billion had been paid to the NHIF. As at December 2006, an outstanding balance of ¢1.45 trillion remained to be paid to the NHIF. This is based on the projected figure for 2006 of ¢1.51 trillion. Information available however indicates that collections were well above this figure.
(9.) EDUCATIONThe PNDC Government introduced the Educational Reform programme which sought to move our educational system from the Grammar school model inherited from our colonial masters to a new model that was more responsive to the needs of our country. This reform programme changed the basic structure of our education to the current Primary, JSS and SSS model that we now have. Certainly after many years of practicing this new model, there is a need for a review to streamline the system and address challenges that confront it. In attempting a review of the educational system, the NPP Government should have borrowed a leaf from the NDC Government when it held the National Education Forum (NED) that conceived the idea of the GETFUND. This forum allowed all stakeholders in the educational system to brainstorm on the way forward in respect of Ghana’s education. Unlike in the case of the NED, the current educational review the NPP intends to implement later this year has not been subjected to intensive public debate and consensus building.Quality education is increasingly becoming a preserve of the rich. With a widening gap in quality and cost between the urban private schools and rural public schools, the children of the rich have access to quality education and the jobs that flow therefrom, while the children of the rural poor are consigned to a status of semi literacy and a general lack of opportunity for self improvement.High school fees ranging from a minimum of about ¢3 million to a maximum ranging in 1000s of US Dollars, have made the urban private and international schools a no-go area for the children of the ordinary Ghanaian. While liberalization of the tertiary sector and the advent of private universities have led to increased opportunity for university education, the fees charged are so high that majority of students from financially challenged homes cannot take advantage of the new opportunity. Some professional courses like law and medicine for which fees are charged between ¢15 million and ¢40 million respectively, have once again become a preserve of the upper class.Morale in the teaching field is at an all-time low. High handed measures adopted to break the NAGRAT strike including withholding their salaries, has completely demoralized the teachers. This certainly will affect the quality of teaching and learning at the classroom level.Problems with the Computerized Selection Placement System (CSSPS) have resulted in chaotic situations where in some cases, students who opted for day schools have been posted to boarding schools outside their communities, girls have been posted to boys-only schools and vice versa, Christian students have been posted to Muslim schools and vice versa. So confused was the situation that in the first year of operation, the headmasters and headmistresses that the system was designed to exclude from the admission process had to be called in a panic and camped for upward of a week, to apply the human touch to what the computerization had so badly messed up.The polytechnics are even now more confused than ever about their status. Regular strikes by Polytechnic Teachers (POTAG) have severely disrupted academic work. Thousands of graduates from polytechnics with degrees varying from mechanical engineering to catering cannot find placement in the job market, because employers are still confused about the worth of their qualification.We suggest the holding of a national forum to discuss the educational review before it is implemented latter this year. The capitation grant should be paid in one big bulk at the start of the academic year in order to allow the schools authorities manage and plan better. There should be a review of CSSPS in order to let it achieve the purpose for which it was introduced. Part of the GETFUND should be set aside for subsidizing the high fees charged at the tertiary level in the form of bursaries or scholarships. The GETFUND should be decentralized to allow institutions and schools apply bulk sums to their priority needs.
(10.) AGRICULTUREThe complete collapse of the cotton, sheanut and rice industries have caused many households to sink below the poverty line in northern Ghana. This has led to a steady exodus of the youth of the three northern regions to the south in search of greener pastures. This has accentuated the situation of poverty and hunger in the area.There have been some good private initiatives in establishment of mango plantations in northern Ghana. However, as long as mango is a replacement for rice and cotton and not an addition to already existing food and cash crops, the agricultural economy of northern Ghana will hardly pick up to the point of reducing poverty as envisaged under the MCA compact.The Aveyime rice project continues to suffer neglect on the altar of political expediency. This is a project that was being implemented to boost the production of quality rice for the local market and export. Many years on and after incarcerating some officials of the NDC government, the project remains a political tool. A lot of the agricultural equipment on the site has deteriorated beyond repair.Government has failed to attract foreign capital investment in the cotton industry. It has also failed to fulfill its promise of a PSL on cotton. The industry remains an unresolved problem to the detriment of thousands of small scale farmers in northern Ghana.In the midst of all this Ghana still continues to suffer significant food deficits. Large quantities of maize are still imported to supplement low local production. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has not published trade statistics over the last several years. This is obviously because of the deteriorating deficit Ghana suffers in respect of key products. Present value of rice imports are estimated to have ballooned above the $500 million mark from about $100 million in 2000. Ghana also currently imports more than $50 million worth of poultry products and over $30 million worth of tomato products per annuum. The NPP promise to increase tomato production and processing has remained a pipe dream.
(11.) PSIThe President’s candour about the state of his PSIs must be appreciated, considering that there have been very few occasions in his 6 year tenure that he has been as frank and honest as he was when he addressed the issue of the PSIs in his recent state of the nation address. The President was however not completely truthful with the people of Ghana. The actual position is that the PSIs have failed. The flagship factory in the PSI on cassava starch into which almost $7 million was invested has been closed for almost a year now. The farmers of Bawjiase area have resorted to selling their cassava for ‘agbelima’ (dough) and gari. The 5 additional factories promised by Hon Kwamena Bartels have been surreptitiously shelved. The PSI on textiles and garments is floundering. The local producers in the garment village have had some of their shipments returned for not meeting the stringent requirements of the US market. The PSI on palm oil is not making much headway we are told because of a lack of adequate capitalization.
(12.) AVIATIONLadies and Gentlemen:The ill-advised liquidation of Ghana Airways has adversely affected the aviation industry in Ghana. Lucrative routes developed and formerly being flown by Ghana Airways have been taken over by foreign carriers. The Ghana International Airlines created purposely for NPP bigwigs is making heavy weather in trying to create space for itself in the highly competitive aviation industry. Using leased planes, and with a management that does not appear adept at nurturing the fledgling airline to grow, the airline is still heavily reliant on government intervention. It had to be bailed out last year with a hefty $20 million loan from SSNIT. The dramatic lock out of the former management and the rumpus with NPP party officials has resulted in expensive litigation and an exposé of rot and graft that almost grounded the new airline.Alas! This was to be expected following the very non-transparent manner in which the airline was set up. What was the need to liquidate Ghana Airways? Government could have in a more transparent manner invited strategic investors with a proven track record to buy into the ailing airline off course with management control, especially when it knew that it was going to ring fence and take over the airline’s debt eventually. Workers were cruelly laid off and left to their fate. Some have died and others have had their marriages broken. A lot of pilots trained at great expense by Ghana Airways are today flying other airlines all over the world. There are currently about 6 Ghana Airways Pilots flying for Ethiopian and they have transferred the trade mark Ghana Airways soft-touch landing to that airline for which Ethiopians are taking the credit.
(12.) COMMUNICATIONThe communication sector which the NDC with considerable foresight, had liberalized and allowed private sector participation has performed phenomenally. The explosion in mobile communications and broadband access that was forecast is happening. The sector held the potential to have performed even better, but for the ill-advised decision to chase away the Malaysian investors in Ghana Telecom and hand over a lucrative contract based on cronyism with absolute lack of transparency to Norwegian Telecom Management Partners? Or is it Telenor? This ill-fated decision by former Communications Minister, who has subsequently been rewarded with the posts of Parliamentary Affairs Minister and lately Transportation Minister, has resulted in colossal loss to the country and Ghana Telecom.
Saddled with massive short term debts, political interference and award of large dubious contracts to cronies, the Norwegian managers just continued to fleece the company of huge consultancy contracts and heavy pay packets running into billions of cedis until gratefully but most belatedly, the President intervened and halted the orgy. Ghana Telecom is in need of urgent re-structuring and a review of management. The current exercise to re-privatize Ghana Telecom and Westel must be carried out transparently and the new investors allowed a free hand to compete with Areeba which appears to have had such a big head start while the two had gone to sleep.
(13.) GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONIt is an irony of our history that the NPP Government, successor of the NLM and UP traditions that strongly opposed the granting of independence by sending a delegation to remonstrate with the Queen to delay granting independence to Ghana, should be the government presiding over the celebration of our independence on the occasion of this unique 50th anniversary. It is no wonder that President Kufuor in his recent state of the nation address, failed to acknowledge the role of the founding father of the nation Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, when commenting on the 50th Anniversary.The Golden Jubilee celebration has been shoddily handled. Planning has been poor and consultation has been non-existent. This has created poor public awareness and participation in the programmes marking the Golden jubilee.Malaysia which also celebrates its Golden jubilee this year, set up its anniversary planning committee more than a year before the event. Unlike in Ghana the events have been better planned and publicized over an extensive period, evoking a strong national response and participation amongst the Malaysian people.Not the case in Ghana. A failed Chief Executive of VRA has been recycled as head of the anniversary secretariat. Contracts are flying like confetti to cronies and other party apparatchiks and hangers-on. When Ghanaians complain about the huge sums being expended on the anniversary celebration, the President arrogantly brushes them aside, telling suffering Ghanaians that they “know the cost of everything, but know the value of nothing.” Now we know that as for President Kufuor he knows the value of everything but not the cost of anything. He and his people know the value of constructing the Presidential Palace, implementing the re-denomination of the currency and the National Identification Program but obviously do not know or care about the cost to the Ghanaian people. We are at least grateful that the President and his hangers on realize the value of our independence contrary to the attitude of their predecessors.It is unconscionable that in a day and age when guinea worm has run riot, and more women are dying in childbirth, with increased mortality among children under 5, government has no qualms in spending over ¢200 billon cedis in celebrations including the importation of a huge fleet of flashy cars.
(14.) CONCLUSIONLadies and Gentlemen: In accordance with President Kufour’s exhortation to discuss the State of the Nation address with candour and frankness, we have given you this presentation as the true state of affairs in our dear nation, Ghana. It is our hope that it will add to the public discourse on the numerous challenges that face our nation and help us as a people to take the corrective actions necessary to bring our country back on track.Thank you. God bless Ghana.

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