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NPP Press conference Addressed by Yaw Buaben Asamoa

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PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NPP ADDRESSED BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, YAW BUABEN ASAMOA

Friday, 17th September, 2021

PARTY REGISTRATION, MMDCEs SELECTION AND IMPACT OF GIADEC

Good afternoon friends of the Media, I bid you a warm welcome to this Friday afternoon interaction.

INTRODUCTION

Today, we will highlight ongoing private sector initiatives that are part of the long term NPP plan to transform the economy to one that adds value to our natural products. NPP has a plan. That plan is to invest in skills through appropriate education, focus on post-harvest security through 1D1F, expand light and heavy industry through the bauxite value chain and increase access to reliable energy and transportation. This plan will generate jobs and incomes over a wide range of activities in the private sector.

For example, the aim in the cocoa sector is to process over 50% of cocoa locally into finished and semi-finished products in order to get a healthy share of the multi-billion dollar market for cocoa products.

Essentially, the prices for raw materials stagnate or roughly remain static whilst that of finished products keep going up. We will be able to buy less and less of what we import if our economy does not process more. Ghana and Ivory Coast produce over 60% of cocoa beans but earnings account for less than 5% of the international market. In 1974, one could buy a Volkswagen Golf car for approximately four thousand Euro in today’s prices. Now, it costs over twenty thousand Euros. So one needs over five times more cocoa money to afford the same thing.

Ladies and gentlemen, to keep up with pricing, we need to add more value. The private sector is best placed to do that. We are therefore complimenting the NPP Government for the private sector initiatives that are set to make a real difference to how jobs and incomes are created in this country.

In the last two weeks, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre hosted an investment summit dubbed “Sparkup; 2021” aimed at further marketing Ghana as the preferred destination for FDI, H.E the President then hosted the “Presidential Business Summit”, bringing together titans of business to dialogue with the Government, after which the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) new partner was unveiled.

MASS REGISTRATION

Before I look at these a bit more however, ladies and gentlemen, let me address a couple of matters. First is the mass registration exercise of the NPP. Its purpose is to determine the size of our support within polling station areas. In other words, we want to know the number of people who are likely to vote for the NPP in any polling station area. This data will help Polling Station Executives, Coordinators and Constituency Executives with planning for elections, campaigning and logistics. Many Constituencies are doing very well so far.

The mass registration list is not only meant to be used for voting for Party Officers. National Council, using Article 18 of the NPP Constitution will issue guidelines for Polling Station, Coordinator, Constituency Officer, Regional Executive and National Executive Elections. So we are assuring all our polling station executives, Coordinators, and Constituency Executives to open up, work hard and try and capture as many persons who are likely to vote NPP as possible. The names should also go into the books that have been provided. Over 40,000 books have been dispatched and distributed to Polling Stations throughout the country.

All polling station executives should have a schedule that makes them available to support this process with the book in a transparent visible place for all desirous of putting their names down to do so.

The second thing is the eminent publication of the list of MMDCEs. Having patiently waited for the list, we expect the nominees to be accepted in good faith. Every nominee on the list as will be published is a nominee of H.E the President. Therefore, the expectation is that the Party grassroots will respect the choices and receive and support the approval of these nominees for the benefit of the Party. We recognise that not everybody in every Assembly will have their preferred choice. However, we also believe that as much as possible, every eligible candidate has had a fair bite of the selection process.

Ladies and gentlemen, now that the selection process is over, we urge all former contestants and stakeholders to adopt the nominees as their own, encourage smooth confirmation processes, and support approved MMDCEs to deliver the best to their areas. Once the list is published, competition in any form, ought to end.

We urge everybody to be calm and to act in ways that promote good relations at a working level in order to give the nominees the best possible opportunity to work in the interest of the grassroots of the nation. Having said that, we also advise the nominees to, as much as possible, open up and provide space for all shades of opinion in their work.

NDC ELECTION 2020 PROPAGANDA

Ladies and gentlemen, the third issue is external to the NPP. The NDC leadership, especially General Secretary Asiedu Nketiah and former President Mahama, keep making wild allegations about the conduct of the 2020 General Elections. Having lied to their people about winning, they went to the Supreme Court with no evidence of any grievance apart from a declaration that had already been corrected.

When the NPP petitioned the Supreme Court in 2012-2013, we specified in detail over twenty two different electoral infractions including over voting, ghost polling stations and unsigned pink sheets. Every allegation we made was backed by a pink sheet. Without any evidence whatsoever, no pink sheets or collated figures of their own, these leading members of the NDC continue to make wild, speculative allegations.

Unfortunately for them, the integrity of the 2020 electoral process was accepted by the international community, corroborated by local independent observers and called for the NPP by prominent local media. Nine months after the elections, the matter is closed as Ghanaians have shifted their attention to pressing matters of governance.

In the event, it is obvious that these allegations are being made ahead of the internal primaries of the NDC. In seeking the chairmanship of his party, the NDC General Secretary is choosing to denigrate the conduct of the 2020 Elections to curry favour with his grassroots. Yet, he was the star NDC witness who confessed in the Supreme Court that they had not won the election and went further to do the calculations that showed that the NDC had indeed lost miserably. Noted though is that he is expert at manipulating grassroots opinion, so his opponents better watch out.

On the other hand, the premature presidential campaign embarked on by former President Mahama has led to his potential opponents coming out of the woodwork to define the kind of leader they will be seeking in 2024. Opponents of early aspirant Mahama believe the NDC will benefit more from a ‘thinking’ leadership, which will make them ‘credible’. Clearly then, not everyone in the NDC is for needless attacks on the Electoral Commission. Such a strategy may not necessarily be intelligent, according to those who do not support the de-facto candidate. The people who do not support Mahama’s repeated attempts to lead the NDC understand that such attacks may not be in line with a thinking approach to the issues that will drive the 2024 elections.

NPP PLAN FOR JOBS

Ladies and gentlemen, those issues include incomes and jobs. Jobs put money in pockets. Jobs for the many youth and skilled people the country is developing. Value addition through industrialisation creates jobs. Aggressive industrialisation will also boost infrastructure, especially railways, ports and energy generation and expand our GDP. We will export more, earn more foreign exchange and borrow less. That is the goal of the NPP.

An integrated aluminium industry has been a dream of the Gold Coast before Ghana. Bauxite mining since the 1940s could have earned Ghana a lot of value. Indeed, it is in expectation of that value that in the early 1960s, Ghana in partnership with international partners developed the Akosombo Dam and established VALCO. Unfortunately, a refinery was not built. So Ghana did not achieve full value. Rather, raw bauxite continued to be exported cheap and the expensive refined product imported by VALCO for smelting.

Ladies and gentlemen, last Wednesday, His Excellency President Akufo-Addo took a giant step for Ghana when he witnessed the signing ceremony of a project led by GIADEC which is to build a mine and most significantly, a refinery in Ghana. The refinery, the first of two planned, will finally integrate aluminium production in Ghana, creating thousands of jobs, especially in the downstream fabrication sector. Aluminium is the second most used metal in the world. No wonder President Akufo-Addo describes the Integrated Aluminium Industry as core to the industrialisation of Ghana.

GIADEC intends to inject six billion dollars of investment into the aluminium processing sector alone. Its partner industry, Iron and Steel, will also inject massive amounts of capital. The Ghana Integrated Iron & Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) has announced already assessed reserves of 6 billion metric tonnes of iron ore.

CONCLUSION

Ladies and gentlemen, that is a completely new opportunity for Ghana. It is in the expectation of the difference such huge projects can make to the economy and living standards of Ghanaians that we hope will differentiate NPP from other parties. The NPP has a consistent approach, increasing national wealth through investments in human capital, value for money infrastructure and private sector led value addition to our natural products.

We believe this vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, is that which will finally enable Ghana break through the ranks of industrialised nations from Africa and into the world. With NPP, the future is purposeful and hopeful.

Thank you for your attention.

General News

Unemployment rate started rising under Mahama – Duffuor

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Unemployment rate started rising under Mahama – Duffuor

Former Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor has said he was able to assist the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills to reduce unemployment rate from the time Prof Mills became President in 2009 to 2012.
But, he said, the rate started increasing from 2013 to 2015, the period that Former President John Dramani Mahama was in office.
Delivering a public lecture in Accra on Monday November 29, he said “High and rising inflation increases the cost of living at a fast pace, thereby eroding people’s real incomes and savings. By fueling wage pressures and raising the cost of other production inputs, it also increases the cost of doing business. Furthermore, rising inflation forces up interest and lending rates, since savers—whose surplus funds are lent to borrowers—naturally demand a higher reward for deferring consumption to the future. Higher lending rates then lead to the cancellation of otherwise viable investments, with negative effects on economic growth and employment generation.
“Historically, Ghana has experienced these effects of inflation in their most destructive forms, as the country’s post-independence economic history is marked by many episodes of runaway inflation, including prolonged periods of hyperinflation in the 1970s and 80s.
“Because Ghana relies heavily on imports to meet its consumption needs, a rapidly depreciating exchange rate is a major source of inflation. In addition, given the country’s rapid build-up of foreign debt, which accounts for about half of total public debt, a sharply weakening exchange rate significantly increases the size of the foreign debt and the cost of servicing it in domestic currency terms. In fact, research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that exchange rate depreciation is a significant driver of Ghana’s public debt dynamics, as it accounted for almost 30% of the growth of public debt between 2006 and 2019.
“These problems call for the effective management of inflation and the exchange rate to ensure their stability to protect living standards and support rapid economic growth and development. To achieve this requires, from the macroeconomic perspective, disciplined fiscal and monetary policies.
“Mr. Chairman, this has been done before. In 2009–2012 under the Mills NDC administration, our success in lowering the fiscal deficit from 14.5% of GDP in 2008 to 4% of GDP by 2011, as well as our success in slowing the rate of monetary growth, facilitated a fall in inflation from 18.1% in December 2008 to single digits for 31 consecutive months starting from June 2010 to December 2012. This remains to date the longest period of single-digit inflation in Ghana since independence. The exchange rate also achieved a measure of stability during the period, as it depreciated by 10.1% per annum on average in 2009–2012, which is one of the lowest rates of average depreciation during the Fourth Republic. The World Bank indicated in their 2011 report that in 2011, Ghana was the fastest growing economy in the World with GDP of 14.5% and a decline in interest rates to the lowest level in four decades.
“In his 1999 speech at ‘President Ball and Fundraising dinner’ at the Tema Rotary Club, Dr. J.L.S Abbey lauded the 1998 Macro-Economic Performance of Ghana, saying ‘Last year, most of the financial targets of Government were met: monetary growth over the period was less than 18 percent: the exchange rate depreciated by less than 5% and the rate of inflation declined. These targets were achieved by the strong enforcement of laws relating to banking and use of foreign currency, by prudent use of repurchase agreements in monetary management, and by placing a limit on excessive budgetary spending by government’. We have done this before. Mr. Chairman, I have personally been part of doing this before, so I know it can be done and that it must be done.
“As concerns mount about rising inflation in recent months, the government should take a second look at its fiscal and monetary policies, especially the former, and ensure that they are sustainable and conducive to the effective control of inflation and the maintenance of a stable exchange rate.
“Besides firm fiscal and monetary policies, good real sector policies that lead to strong economic growth play a critical role in ensuring price and exchange rate stability. The stellar performance of real GDP growth in 2009–2012 was therefore a significant factor that led to the stable macroeconomic environment during the period. From 2009–2012, overall real GDP grew at an average rate of 9%, which is the highest rate under any administration in Ghana’s history. Even the non-oil real GDP growth rate, which stood at an average of 7.4% during the period, is the highest under any administration in the country’s history. Effective real sector policies should therefore be pursued to achieve high economic growth and employment creation, as it happened between 2009–2012, and thereby helped to maintain a stable macroeconomic environment.
“Again, through effective real sector policies, unemployment was tamed under the Mills NDC Administration and I was the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.  The total unemployment rate which stood at 10.4% in the year 2000 witnessed a declining trend to 5.3% by the end of 2010 and further declined to 2.2% by the end of 2013. However, after 2013, total unemployment rate saw another upward swing, increasing sharply to 6.8% by the end of 2015.
“It is therefore clear that the stellar performance of real GDP growth in 2009–2012 was a significant factor that led to lower unemployment level and which further led to job creation during 2009–2012 period.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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Business

Post budget workshop helps MPs to interrogate budget statement

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Post budget workshop helps MPs to interrogate budget statement

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has stated that post budget workshop was to help members interrogate critical issues during the consideration of the budget estimates and conduct effective oversight role.

He said it was also designed to provide members with insight into the budget to enable them debate and make meaningful contributions on the floor of the House.

He said as representative of the people they owed it a duty to thoroughly scrutinize the budget to determine the extent to which it addressed the country’s developmental challenges particular issues relating to poverty eradication, gender, children and vulnerable issues, employment, social issues, infrastructural challenges and the security of the nation.

He made the observation at a Post Budget Workshop for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government at Ho in the Volta Region.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has however served notice to government that the Minority Caucus in Parliament would not support the introduction of the proposed electronic levy policy in the 2022 budget statement.

He said the proposed levy served as a disincentive for the growth of the digital economy, investment and the development of the private sector of the country.

“Mr Speaker, our concern is whether the e-levy itself is not and will not be a disincentive to the growth of the digital economy in our country. We are convinced that the e-levy may as well even be a disincentive to investment and a disincentive to private sector development in our country.

“Mr Speaker, we in the minority may not and will not support the government with the introduction of that particular e-levy. We are unable to build a national consensus on that particular matter.”

The workshop is aimed at equipping members with skills to enable them scrutinize the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government and to pass the 2021 Appropriation Act.

The platform also created opportunity for knowledge and experience sharing by members and to understand the policy-underpinnings of government on finances and economic planning for the year 2022.

Mr Iddrisu added that the Minister of Finance in his effort to redeem the economy sought to introduce some measures including; the controversial e-levy or digital levy.

He said the proposed e-levy would be dangerous to the Ghanaian economy as many people would move back to the cash system and defeat the drive towards the paperless system, which he said was their motivating factor not to support the introduction of the levy.

“To paraphrase the Vice President why tax the ordinary poor people…since when have the poor been above ordinary for momo and banking to be taxed and even the projection of 1.75 percent e-levy may as well workout to be 3.75 percent” he added.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in his comment highlighted some of the positive fiscal and macro-economic indicators, which he said pointed to good economic trajectory.

He said 2022 Budget Statement was geared towards post COVID-19 recovery agenda, revitalization and transformation of the economy while ensuring fiscal and debt sustainability to promote macro-economic stability for the recovery process and growth of the economy.

The proposed e-levy is scheduled to start on January 1, 2022, if approved by Parliament.

In 2020, the total value of transactions was estimated to be over GH¢500 million with mobile money subscribers and users growing by 16 percent in 2019.

According to a Bank of Ghana report, Ghana saw an increase of over 120 percent in the value of digital transactions between February 2020 and February 2021 compared to 44 percent for the period February 2019 to February 2020 due to the convenience they offer.

GNA

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Politics

Debate on 2022 Budget Statement begins Tuesday, November 23

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Debate on 2022 Budget Statement begins Tuesday, November 23

Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has informed Parliament that the debate on the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government would commence next Tuesday, November 23.

He said the Business Committee looked forward to a well-researched and informed debate, and proposed that discussion for each day be structured along specific sectors.

“That is to ensure coherence, comprehension and logical flow of the debate,” the Majority Leader said, as he presented, in Parliament, the Business Statement for the Fifth Week Ending Friday, November 26, 2021.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Business Committee recommended Tuesday, November 23, for the Finance, Environment, Gender, Foreign Affairs, Youth and Sports and Employment committees to take their turn.

Wednesday, November 24, is for the Health, Trade and Industry, Communication, Local Government, Lands and Forestry, Works and Housing, and Energy and Mining committees.

Thursday, November 25, would have the Education, Agriculture, Roads and Transport, Defence and Interior, Judiciary, Parliament, Independent Governance Institutions and Government Machinery committees taking their turn.

The leadership; the Majority and Minority sides, would conclude the debate on Friday, November 26.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said on each day of the debate, two members from each side of the political divide would be expected to contribute to the discussion.

He urged the House to stick to the 1000 hours normal time to start proceedings, having regard to the business scheduled for the week under consideration.

The Business Committee recommended extended sitting for each day to enable the House to conclude on Friday, as scheduled.

 

GNA

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