The Directive Principles of State Policy as provided for, in Chapter six of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana prescribes that: “The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realization of the policy objectives contained in this Chapter and, in particular, the realization of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education.”
In accordance with the provision, President John Mahama, presented what could be his last state of the nation address; a rather long message, which has been described by many Ghanaians, including some members of his own National Democratic Congress (NDC), as a far cry from what the state of the nation really is at 59.
The Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo Addo, in an attempt to state what he and his Party believe to be the true state of the nation, followed suit to pay the President in kind, when he delivered a press conference,long and reverberating enough to match the President’s addressin propaganda but of no effect since it lacked the situational analysis to identify gaps and provide smart solutions to address them, as envisioned by framers of the constitution.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is deeply disappointed in the way and manner the NDC and NPP have been at each other’s throat over the 2016 State of the Nation situation in the media and in parliament. In this election year which presents the people of Ghana a crossroads opportunity to change their choices for good governance, it is clear that the need to transform Ghana from its current state of under development to the developed nation status the people desire is completely lost on the NDC and NPP.
It should be obvious to any objective observer by now, that the NDC and NPP are engaged in gimmicks of accusations and counter accusations of bad governance and mediocrity to settle on who might come across as the lesser of two evils in the eyes of the electorate to facilitate their chances of winning election 2016 if the duopoly stays intact.
Why should we allow the duopoly to keep on inflicting such propaganda on the good people of Ghana in every election cycle for the purposes of attaining or holding on to state power that is not operated to serve the interest of the people? The PPP rejects the ragging propaganda war between the NDC and NPP; and calls on the electorate to keep the critical issues in view to avoid being stampeded again into making choices they would regret after the 2016 elections.
The duopoly has proven beyond reasonable doubt over and over again, its lack of capacity to deliver a capable state in which the directive principles of state policy objectives would be attained.
Basic Human Rights:
On democracy and human rights, the PPP finds it unacceptable the denial of the rights of the people at the district, metropolitan and municipal levels, to have a say in who governs them through popular election ofmayors and chief executives. On this important good governance and accountability issue, the NDC is clear on its desire to remain centralized and hold on to power. NDC disagrees with the election of all MMDCEs.
The NPP is not clear and truthful in what their position is, as they had in previous election manifestos promised to have popular elections at the local level, only to make a spectacular “U” turn on the promise when they had the mandate to govern for eight years. Election of MMDCEs is a key governance and human rights issue that deserves a place on the front burner of the nation’s transformational agenda. The PPP believes in giving power to the People for Development. To that end, the party will sponsor changing the Constitution to enable the election of all District Assembly Members and District/Municipal/Metropolitan Chief Executives to ensure local accountability and rapid development. This PPP promises to do in one term of office.
Having thought through this policy initiative on our reform agenda and mapped out strategies for its successful implementation, we find it unacceptable for Nana Addo in particular to make it a mere election promise that he knows he will not deliver on, given his firm position against election of MMDCEs in successive presidential debates and the NPPs record in government.
For a developing country’s economy,the positive transformational formula is to create the truly enabling environment for local businesses to thrive in serving the local market with goods and services competitively and export the surplus for foreign exchange to guarantee positive balance of payments – the key indicator of a healthy economy.Unfortunately, this need to bring the economy back home is missing in the NDC and NPP State of the Nation effusions, which questions their capability to appreciate the current state of the economy at 59 and what it will take to transform it.
The PPP has been specific and clear on this. We will prioritise and subsidise if necessary to provide cheap and abundant energy for industrialisation and rapid development, implement these solutions with a sense of urgency to meet domestic needs for industry and domestic use while making Ghana a net exporter of power again in the next four years.
To achieve this objective, we will provide tax incentives to enable development of alternative sources of fuel and power – wind, bio fuels and solar. We aim to ensure that the contribution from alternative sources of energy reaches a minimum of 10% of what we need in a decade. In addition to that, we will aggressively harness our natural resources (particularly oil and gas) to ensure maximum benefit and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
Right to Work:
The tried and tested formula for delivery of sustainable jobs is to use government’s purchasing power to ensure that we eat what we grow and use what we produce in Ghana. But that is not cheap talk as President Mahama does with his knee jerk buy made in Ghana products campaign. It requires a deliberate government effort to improve Ghana’s business climate to enable investment in job creation so that our people will stay at home to help develop the country and its economy.
How can local businesses be competitive when the cost of doing business is so high that imported products and services turn out to be cheaper than locally produced ones? Why should we buy made in Ghana products and services when they are more expensive and inferior in quality? Why has the government resorted to increments and imposition of taxes, rates and tariffs that are breaking the backs of businesses that survived the horrific power outages for three years? And why are the Ministries of Finance and Trade not able to appreciate the simple matter of fact that the only way of providing sustainable jobs is creating a truly enabling environment for small and medium enterprises to thrive?
The PPP will be relentless in providing support to Ghanaian industries, farmers and fishermen, using low interest loans, technical assistance, tax incentives and priority access to the Ghanaian market. To accelerate job creation nationally, an inter-region highway will be built with the same high quality throughout the country to open up the country for investment.
Right to Good Health:
On health, our vision is to provide better health care and cleaner environment. Ensure a cleaner environment free from preventable diseases like malaria, cholera and guinea worm. Provide affordable and accessible health care for all in every region, district and community. Ensure emergency care throughout the country to save lives. Overall our focus will be in the area of prevention where education is the key.
Right to Education:
As regards education, the PPP will provide quality education(including computer training) for every Ghanaian child. Standardise school facilities from kindergarten to Senior High School with libraries, toilets, classrooms, kitchen, housing for teachers, playground, etc.: and Ensure free and compulsory education in public schools from Kindergarten to Senior High School. This will include a comprehensive sports programme to instill discipline and promote better health.
The PPP administration will deploy the “Education Police” to enforce the compulsory aspect of our policy. An integral part of this initiative will be an objective to significantly increase vocational training so that all school leavers gain employable skills.
We will use the powers of state to attack crime, the drug trade and corruption aggressively using leadership by example, being modest in government, passing and implementing the Right to Information Bill and ensuring an independent prosecutor’s office exists separate from the Ministry of Justice.
In addition, the PPP will strengthen the Narcotics Control Board to make it the agency responsible for fighting the drug trade with all the human, financial and other resources needed for success. Finally, we will strengthen and empower the police service by providing them with the resources and training to fight crime effectively and efficiently.
In the PPP’s considered opinion, the state of the nation debate must not go away. But they must focus on the positive life changing and transformational policy visions we must consider as we celebrate Ghana at 59 and move towards election 2016 decisions. The NDC and NPP have no clue how to transform Ghana. It is therefore time for Ghanaians to stop and listen to the PPP and change the choices they have made for years in favour of PPP and for the new economically independent Ghana that has eluded us since 1957.
Happy 59th Independence Anniversary!
Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond