NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY PRESS CONFERENCE
- Friends of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon to you all. We welcome you once again to our weekly press conference. We appreciate your diligence in responding to us anytime we call. We are indeed grateful.
- For the first time under the Fourth Republic, the 2020 general election comes as the only period where a former president is contesting an incumbent.
- When two candidates, each of whom has experienced the Presidency contest, their track record should be the basis for their electability. On the basis of track record, issues relating to good governance, impactful policy interventions and evidence of a clear vision to change the socio-economic fortunes of the citizenry should drive the electoral decisions of voters in the impending elections.
- In the past three press conferences, we have sought to establish that between President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Mahama, President Akufo-Addo best qualifies to lead Ghana at this time.
- Against this backdrop, this press conference seeks to achieve three (3) main objectives:
- To continue in the path of the previous three press conferences, and to prove to Ghanaians that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President Akufo-Addo are promise keepers and therefore deserve four more to do more for the Ghanaian people
- To prove to Ghanaians that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Mr. Mahama cannot be trusted to keep their promises, since they failed on nearly every promise they made in their 2012 manifesto. We shall show, that to the NDC, manifestos are a matter of empty ritual devoid of any sacredness. Their manifestos are observed, more in their breaches than in their observance. We shall show, that whatever they intend to do this evening, is mere ritual for them. Indeed, their 2016 manifesto is a rehash of their failed 2012 manifesto. They have nothing new to offer the Ghanaian people.
- To prove to Ghanaians that the NPP and President Akufo-Addo offer competent leadership that drives inclusive development
- Ladies and Gentlemen, making the issue of track record a focus of the 2020 Presidential campaign is the only means by which the electorate can scrutinise the tenures of President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Mahama and demand accountability from them.
- Ghanaians, the rightful custodians of the country’s rich resources, have every right to demand a proper accounting of how each of the two leaders managed the resources they were entrusted with during their terms in office. I therefore encourage each and every one of us here and those listening from afar to consciously compare the records of President Akufo-Addo and that of Mr. Mahama. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW), said that “actions are according to intentions, and every man or woman shall be judged according to what he or she intended.” So, we should judge President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Mahama on what they say their intention is, for seeking to be President. President Akufo-Addo says he intends to continue to offer a leadership of service in order to protect the gains that the country has made so far, and to transform the country for all Ghanaians. A noble intention by any standard. Mr. Mahama on the other hand says that he intends to come back as President in order to correct the mistakes that he made when Allah gave him the opportunity to be President which he messed up big time. Well, even while I was pondering on what to make of his intention, I saw a response someone gave him on social media last night. This person said, “Mr. Mahama, our votes are not correction fluids.” I shall say no more.
- Our sages have said that people with good intentions make promises but it is only those with good character who keep their promises. Politically, promises will continue to feature in electoral campaigns across the globe.
- It would be recalled that the 2016 general elections recorded a plethora of promises, mainly from then opposition candidate Akufo-Addo. Strikingly, Akufo-Addo’s promises were so bold and transformative that they were deemed unrealistic and non-achievable by persons including Mr. Mahama who wondered how such transformative campaign promises could be funded.
- Is it not surprising that as President, Mr. Mahama was clueless on how to fund those life-transforming policies even though he had no doubt about their transformative impacts? Ironically, even in opposition, Akufo-Addo had a clear pathway on how to fund his campaign promises.
At this juncture, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to show that Mr. Mahama is no keeper of campaign promises. I shall use his 2012 manifesto as proof. NDC’S INCOMPETENCE AT FULFILLING PROMISES
- Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, To begin with, let us ask Mr Mahama, what happened to the promise to address systematically, the bottlenecks in production and transmission of power, and bring to an end the problem of erratic power supply by the end of 2013? The answer to this question, Ladies and Gentlemen was the exacerbation of the problem which led to the infamous DUMSOR crisis.
- In its 2012 manifesto, the NDC promised to construct 200 new Community Day Senior High Schools across the country. However, you would agree with me that only 46 out of the 200 planned Community Day Senior High Schools were completed as of 2016 when they were leaving office.
- The NDC also promised to establish a new public University in the Eastern Region but only organised a sod cutting ceremony few weeks to the 2016 general elections, an obvious attempt to hoodwink voters. As we speak the NPP under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has completed this university.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, the NDC promised to expand the NHIS benefit package to cover family planning, mental health, prostate cancer and the physically challenged. Can any Ghanaian attest to the fulfilment of this promise?
- The NDC further promised to establish Job and Enterprise Centres (JEC) in all regions to help unemployed youth. Characteristic of the NDC, Ladies and gentlemen, this never happened.
- They also promised that through the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), they would co-invest in leading agro-industrial establishments and increase the number of shea-nut factories from 1 (in Buipe) to 3 (one each in the Upper East and Upper West regions). It will surprise you to know that it was in 2019, under the NPP’s enviable One District, One Factory programme that a shea butter factory was operationalised in Sheaga in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
NPP PROMISES KEPT
- Friends of the Media, it is worth noting that of all the educational sector promises that were made by the NPP in its 2016 manifesto, we can confidently state that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has successfully delivered on such promises. Inspired by the mantra that brains not resources develop a nation, the Akufo-Addo-led administration has prioritized education by committing huge financial resources to the sector.
- The party’s flagship campaign promise of providing Free Senior High School (FSHS) education to Ghanaian children of school going age is today a reality. An estimated 1.2 million Ghanaian children, from both rich and poor homes, regardless of ethnicity and religious affiliation have benefitted from the Free Senior High School initiative. In addition, 804 facilities have been built across various Senior High Schools in response to the 69% increment in enrolment occasioned by the Free Senior High School policy. Most importantly, Ghanaians must be reminded that the NDC strongly insisted that the Free Senior High School policy was not possible; that it could only be implemented in 20 years and wondered how the NPP was going to fund it.
- Yet, it took the Akufo-Addo-led administration only 10 months to implement it. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the difference between the NDC and NPP. What the NDC considered impossible has been implemented by the NPP with ease. The free SHS that the NDC needed 20 years to realise, was accomplished by the NPP in just 10 months.
- The Akufo-Addo-led administration has also kept its manifesto promise by restoring teacher trainee allowance which was cancelled by the insensitive Mahama government. The restored allowance has since 2017, benefitted over 48,000 teacher trainees. Further, the Akufo-Addo-led administration has recruited over 70,000 young men and women to provide teaching and non-teaching services across various educational institutions since 2017.
- Commendably, the NPP-led government has also undertaken some interventions in the educational sector which were not initially part of its manifesto promises. Key amongst these is government’s decision to pay salary arrears of teachers recruited under the Mahama administration who were paid just 3 months of their 3-year salary arrears. While Mahama was paying himself and his appointees monthly, these teachers, the bedrock of the country’s education, taught for three years on empty stomachs.
- This underscores the insensitivity of the Mahama administration to the welfare of teachers and the gross mismanagement of the country’s educational sector when Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, his running mate, was Minister for Education. Clearly, the NPP has a superior record of achievements in the educational sector as interventions by the Akufo-Addo-led administration have been life transforming for millions of Ghanaians.
- Friends of the media, the popular mantra “a healthy nation is a wealthy nation” is one that underscores the relevance of a vibrant health sector to national development. As a party that places a significant premium on health improvement, the vision of the NPP has always been to ensure that the right to health of all Ghanaians, regardless of social status or political leanings, is guaranteed through a vibrant health sector that delivers quality, affordable and easily accessible healthcare. This was reflected in the promises made in the party’s 2016 manifesto.
- Upon assumption of office in 2017, the NPP has worked assiduously to fulfil these promises, resulting in significant improvements in the health sector as evidenced in the increase in its growth rate from 4% in 2016 to 14.1% and 22.6% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, let me at this point highlight some key feats of the NPP in the health sector.
- First, the NPP has revived the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was at the brink of collapse by settling the over GH¢1.2 billion debt accrued under the erstwhile Mahama administration. This has resulted in an extended health coverage for over 12 million Ghanaians, most of whom would have been denied access to health care due to the NDC’s mismanagement of the scheme.
- Second, contrary to the views of critics that Nana Addo’s promise to restore allowances of nursing trainees was a mere political rhetoric, the allowances of over 58,000 trainees, which were hitherto scrapped under the erstwhile Mahama administration, were reinstated with each beneficiary trainee receiving a GH¢400 monthly allowance. This has gone a long way to ease the financial burden of beneficiaries.
- Third, in line with President Akufo-Addo’s promise of promoting healthcare delivery through an improvement in emergency healthcare, 307 ambulances were dispatched to various constituencies in the country. Prior to this intervention, only 55 public ambulances served the health needs of the estimated 30million people in the country, translating into a ratio of 1 ambulance to an estimated 545,454 people. By increasing the total number of ambulances by 307, this ratio was significantly reduced to 1 ambulance to 82,872 people. This remains a landmark achievement of the governing NPP in the health sector. t would be recalled that under the erstwhile Mahama administration, the freeze on public sector employment, resulting from the mismanagement of the economy led to significant deficiencies in healthcare delivery. The NPP addressed this problem, by improving human resource in the health sector.
- To this end, the Ministry of Health approved the recruitment of health professionals, resulting in the recruitment of 54,892 health professionals between the period of 2017 and 2019. The breakdown of which is as follows: 24,261 health workers were recruited between January 2017 and August 2018, and another 30,631 between September 2018 and July 2019. The resulting improvement in the number of health personnel in the country significantly improved the ratio of doctors and nurses to the total population.
- The industrialisation drive of the NPP is underpinned by its centre-right ideology and the belief in the private sector as the engine for economic growth. As has been the case, the ruling NPP government, since 2017, has pursued strategies aimed at creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
- Against this backdrop, the Akufo-Addo-led administration has been religiously committed to initiatives such as:
- The One-District-One-Factory flagship programme, which seeks to provide support for the private sector in establishing factories in all districts across the country
- The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan, a strategy for training and resourcing entrepreneurs and start-ups and
- The Ghana Commodity Exchange, a scheme that provides a regulated market that connects buyers and sellers
- Ladies and Gentlemen, the NPP government has also revamped the West African Mills Co. Ltd and AngloGold Ashanti in the Western and Ashanti regions respectively. It is imperative to note that these companies that employed thousands of Ghanaians collapsed under the watch of the erstwhile NDC administration. How can a government superintend over the collapse of such huge companies that contributed immensely to job creation in the country? In view of the overarching aim of connecting the entire country with at least 4,000 kilometres of railway lines to ease the movement of raw materials to industrial hubs and link Ghana to other neighbouring countries in the West African Sub-region, government has invested over $1 billion in the railway sector which is estimated to be worth $20 billion in the next decade.
- The railway value chain would also provide several employment opportunities. This is part of measures instituted to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area and expedite the achievement of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
- Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you witnessed the unprecedented levels of unemployment in the country during the erstwhile NDC administration, a situation that led to the formation of the Unemployed Graduates Association. However, the NPP in less than 4 years has built a resilient economy that has significantly reduced unemployment.
- Between 2017 and 2019 for instance, over 2 million full-time jobs were created in the public and private sectors. The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) and Planting for Food and Jobs alone accounted for two million, fifty-five thousand and ten (2,055,010) public and private sector jobs.
- The NPP government, realizing the havoc created by the Mahama-led NDC that had supervised a leaking revenue system, instituted prudent measures to widen the tax net to shore up the country’s revenue base which included but not limited to increasing tax compliance, reducing government expenditure and increasing in-flows from oil and gas resources.
- Further, the NPP introduced the Tax Identification Number in 2019, the Excise Tax Stamp policy in 2017, First Port rule in 2019, the e-Procurement platform to digitize public sector procurement and reduce opportunities for corruption. In trying to strengthen the weak financial sector supervised by the erstwhile NDC administration, the NPP introduced the Financial Sector Reform which rescued the banking sector and saved the funds of 4.6 million depositors, investments of 81,700 people and 10,000 jobs.
- The NPP-led government, realizing the hardship on Ghanaians, abolished import duties on raw materials and machinery for production within the context of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff Protocol. Benchmark values for imported vehicles and goods were reduced by 30% and 50% respectively.
- Also, the NPP government has introduced tax credits and incentives for businesses that hire young graduates from tertiary institutions under the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan.
- Another fulfilled campaign promise that has received widespread commendation is the digitisation of the economy. These include the introduction of the National Identification Card, Mobile Money Interoperability Platform, Digital Addressing system, Universal QR Code Payments System, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) App and paperless system in key institutions such as the Births and Deaths Registry, Ports and Harbours, Ghana Revenue Authority among others, to support our modernization and transformation agenda.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, for 8 years, not even one of these transformative initiatives was envision by the NDC.
- The agricultural sector, which employs over 60% of the workforce in Ghana was adversely affected by the incompetence and lack of policy direction of the erstwhile Mahama-led administration as evidenced by its low growth rate of 1.3% in 2012 and 2.9% in 2016. However, under the competent leadership of President Akufo-Addo, the sector recorded a significant growth rate of 4.6% in 2019.
- Prior to the 2016 elections, then Candidate Akufo-Addo promised an improved agricultural sector underpinned by modernization, improved production, efficiency, food security, and profitability. Under the NPP-led government, Ghanaians have witnessed the efficient implementation of innovative policies such as the Planting for Food and Jobs which has resulted in increased farmer participation from 202,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2019.
- Further, the policy has also led to an increase in the national production of maize from 1.7 million metric tonnes in 2016 to 2.9 million metric tonnes in 2019, a 71% growth. Local rice production has also increased from 688,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 925,000 metric tonnes in 2019.
- Now, the evidence is clear that under the Akufo-Addo led government, Ghana is not only self-sufficient in maize production, but also exports about 19 other food items to ECOWAS countries.
- Another policy initiative of the Akufo-Addo government which has significantly contributed to the growth of the agricultural sector is the “One Village, One Dam” initiative which has ensured all-year-round agricultural production in Northern Ghana. Under this initiative, the NPP-led government has completed 375 small-earth dams with 64 others nearing completion. This is in addition to the rehabilitation of large-scale dams such as the Tono and Kpone dams. Farmers in these communities can now grow their crops regardless of the season.
- Contrary to the assertion of Mr. Mahama, that Ghanaians have short memories, I am confident that our brothers and sisters in the North will remember that it is the NPP government that is constructing the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, the single largest infrastructural investment in Northern Ghana since independence. Upon completion, this project will contribute about 24,000 hectares of irrigable land to the current national total of 13,000 hectares.
- The Akufo-Addo administration has affirmed its commitment to cocoa farmers who have been the backbone of the Ghanaian economy for several years. It is instructive to note that from 2017 to 2019 as the global market experienced major dips in Free On Board (FOB) prices, Ghana was the only cocoa-producing country that did not reduce its producer price for farmers to reflect global trends. The evidence below boldly supports this claim.
- In 2016, the NDC government issued a producer price of GH¢475 for Ghanaian farmers when the FOB price was $2,950. In the following year, the FOB price dropped to $2,080 when the NPP assumed office. Notwithstanding the $870 shortfall in the FOB price, the NPP government maintained producer price at GH¢475. The FOB price increased marginally in the 2018/2019 year to $2,200, with a deficit of $600 compared to that of 2016. In our quest to safeguard the welfare of farmers, the 2016 producer price of GH¢475 was maintained yet again.
AKUFO-ADDO-LED ADMINISTRATION BETTER THAN THE MAHAMA-LED ADMINISTRATION
- Ladies and Gentlemen, at this point, we shall prove to the good people of Ghana that, the Nana-Akufo Addo-led NPP government has managed the country better than the Mahama-led NDC administration. We shall also prove that since the 4th Republic, successive NPP governments have, on average, managed the country better than successive NDC governments. These are facts supported by evidence from the World Development Indicators produced by the World Bank.
- I shall therefore proceed to highlight a few of such indicators to buttress my point. But before I begin, it is important to emphasize that the data used herein are credible and are available on the Websites of the World Bank. Our opponents are free to fact-check each claim made, however, I doubt they will, given their aversion to reading.
- On key indicators of economic growth and development such as GDP growth rate, GDP per capita, inflation, exports, reduction of children out of school among others, the Akufo-Addo administration has outperformed the Mahama administration. For example:
- The annual0% GDP growth rate under the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo has been stronger than John Mahama’s 4.0%
- The average 7% annual GDP Per Capita growth rate under Nana Akufo-Addo has been stronger than John Mahama’s 1.6%
- The average 9% annual growth rate of Exports under President Nana Akufo-Addo has been higher than John Mahama’s 1.1%
- President Nana Akufo-Addo has ably reduced inflation from 5% recorded under the Mahama administration in 2016 to meet the Central Bank’s Inflation target range of 6-10% in 2018 and 2019
- The average 7% annual Manufacturing Value Added growth has been higher under President Nana Akufo-Addo than John Mahama’s 2.1%
- The average 4% annual growth rate of Trained Teachers in Lower Secondary Education has been higher under Nana Akufo-Addo than Mr. Mahama’s 0.9%
- For the first time in the history of Ghana, children out of school, measured as a percentage of Primary School Age reduced to 8% under the Presidency of Nana Akufo-Addo. This is lower than the 2018 average of 1.67% for OECD Member Countries
- Ladies and Gentlemen, the data also reveals that on average, successive governments of the NPP have performed better in improving the living conditions of Ghanaians than successive governments under the NDC. For example:
- The NPP has successfully reduced unemployment at an average rate of 0% annually. It has performed far better than successive NDC administrations, during which unemployment increased at an average rate of 7.3% annually
- Female unemployment worsened under the NDC, increasing at an annual rate of 6.0%. It improved under the NPP, decreasing at an annual rate of 6.1%.
- Prevalence of undernourishment has reduced at an average annual rate of 10.3% under the NPP compared to 0.6% under the NDC
- The average 4% annual growth rate of Secondary School Enrollment under the NPP has been higher than the NDC’s 2.8%
- Ladies and gentlemen, through this press conference, we have demonstrated to you that:
- Whereas the NPP has significantly transformed the lives of Ghanaians through the implementation of impactful policies, the NDC has proven to be incompetent at introducing life-changing policies let alone implement them successfully
- Whereas President Nana Akufo-Addo has, in less than 4 years, proven to be a promise keeper through competent and decisive leadership, John Mahama has demonstrated that he lacks the credibility required to fulfill promises he makes to Ghanaians
- On the basis of the above, I want Mr. Mahama to tell Ghanaians what he wants to do in the next 4 years that he could not do in his 8 years as Vice President and President?
- Fellow Ghanaians, the choice in December should be a leader who has a clear vision for the country, demonstrable integrity, courage, decisiveness, and the passion to position Ghana Beyond Aid while enhancing the dignity of the Ghanaian. That choice can be none but the promise-keeper, President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
- Thank you for your attention and may God bless our Homeland Ghana.
4 More 4 Nana, 4 More To Do More.
Long live NPP!!!
Long live Ghana