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11 March 2014

Chairman Jake on The State Of The Nation. Trivialising And Distracting Attention.

It becomes more and more obvious that our government, which seems to thrive on P.R., propaganda and false promises is not only incapable of dealing with the very real challenges that confront our country and its citizens but also, having no idea about how to even proceed, has fallen back on its usual practices of deceit and denial.

For the record the New Patriotic Party is not against free or progressively free quality education from pre-school to at least the end of senior high school.

We do not lay claim to sole ownership of such a vision and policy. We applaud the vision, it is right in tune with our core philosophy that national development begins with the development of the individual citizen.

We lay claim to being at least the first Party in the 4th Republic to have worked out the mathematics and determined how to set about the serious implementation of the policy and committed ourselves to its execution.

The concerns that we are expressing about President Mahama and his N.D.C government attempting, once again, to steal our clothes, is that this is not the first N.P.P. policy they have sought to purloin and, as in the case of the many others, (development of the North (SADA), Youth empowerment (GYEDA), N.H.I.S etc,) they have so corrupted and distorted the implementation that we are very concerned about their lack of understanding and the mess that will result from their also mishandling Free Education.

This concern is further fueled by our very real suspicion that the announcement was thrown into the statement to divert attention from the lack of any merit in what the nation was told in Parliament by the President.

If it was indeed a genuine policy of the government the minister for education would have had to have been fully au fait with all aspects of implementation including where the money was going to come from. To class as “trivia” the public exposure of the minister’s ignorance of how her ministry was going to pay for the implementation  shows the real “trivia”, which is the trivial level to which governance in Ghana has sunk; an implementing sector minister has no idea of how her ministry is going to deliver such a fundamental policy.

Having said all this we must not allow ourselves to be diverted from the real crux of the matter. Ghana is on the brink of a real crisis in our economy and how it is being mismanaged. We need thoughtful and committed leadership. Leadership that is prepared to lead; that has ideas about how to bring us together; leadership that we will all agree to support and follow as we seek to restore macro economic stability.

Instead of mature and inspiring leadership we got a performance of a giggling teenager intent on getting us to  “like me”. At this time Mr President we don’t need to “like” you for your boyish charm we need to trust you, we need to have faith in your ability to deliver. A good start to generating trust and faith would have been for you to show you fully understand the predicament we are in. The future does not look bright and your saying that it does will not make it bright.

You and your ministers constantly moan about the 70% of revenue you have to use for Government remuneration.  Your Minister of Finance and Economic Planning has called for a freeze on wage rises. Organized labour is insistent on a 20% increase in wages. Are you sure that your performance in Parliament got us all in the right frame of mind to accept the many sacrifices needed to balance the books?

In spite of all your giggles and reassurances our Cedi continues to lose value. The steps you took to slow this process ended up destroying confidence in the economy, leading to more capital flight and then increased pressure on the Cedi. Will we be able to giggle our way back to a more stable currency?

You demonstrate your commitment to an industrial revolution by offering to show us your “made in Ghana” shoes. Bravo. But how much more inspiring if you had laid out the incentives your government was providing for example reduction in number of taxes, a commitment to tax actual profit and not projected profit, breaks on raw materials etc. etc. that would give the “local boy” the chance to become a new “Bata”.

Mr President, Ghana is synonymous with gold and cocoa. You moaned about US$1.3 billion being lost by low prices and low production. The news about the levels of layoffs by our two major mines should be causing you sleepless nights. However you sleep so soundly that you made no mention of any interventions to cushion the impact on the thousands who are to lose their jobs, nor any mention of what you are doing to maintain some confidence in the mining sector for the medium to long term.

For cocoa no mention of any decision to reverse your inept, corrupt and politically driven looting that has resulted in the loss of 200,000 tonnes of exports and more and more cocoa farms being uprooted for galamsey. Moaning and giggling will not produce one extra pod of cocoa.

You hail accomplishments in law and order only to have the United Nations produce a damning report on Ghana’s new leadership in narcotics production and distribution. Hardly in accord with your version of the state of the Nation.

Mr President constructive criticism is not limited to applauding and cheer leading. Your best friend can be the one who tells you the real truth but only if you recognize it and learn from it.

But above all, first stop the giggling. Serious times call for seriousness

 By Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, National Chairman, New Partiotic Party.



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