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Monday, October 5, 2009

Nduom: Mills’ Change is too slow

Dr. Paa Pwesi Nduom voting at Elmina during election 2008. He says he is still waiting for the change he voted for.
Dr. Paa Pwesi Nduom voting at Elmina during election 2008. He says he is still waiting for the change he voted for.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom Monday truncated his 1-year wait he promised himself to begin a critique, if any, of the Mills administration and reminded the government that its campaign promise of Change is not coming rapidly enough.

The Convention People’s Party’s presidential candidate for Election 2008 told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that his concern really is to see that someone in the government will be listening and that something drastic will be done about the situation because life has become difficult.

Speaking on a variety of topics; public sector reforms, government appointments and dismissals, job creation, pre-mix fuel, the economy and what he described as the NDC/NPP political football game, he said the issues need immediate attention if the system is to work desirably.

“What I am doing today is to raise a number of concerns and to let Ghanaians know and to let the Mills Administration know that we all campaigned on the platform of change and I don’t see the change coming rapidly enough and I want to sound that alarm. I want people to know that indeed there is time for some of these changes to be effected.”

On reforming the Public Services, he said he had hoped that the Public Sector ministry would be transformed into a ministry of Public Service to be a permanent feature to take care of issues dealing with strengthening the administration, bringing efficiency, bringing on board ICT and also addressing concerns with a sense of urgency, particularly with wages and salaries (Single Spine Salary Structure). The ministry has now been subsumed under the presidency and that he thought, would incapacitate it in dealing with the challenges it must face.

He cautioned that nothing will work desirably if nothing is done about the present public sector structures and operations.

Dr. Nduom also described as “rather conservative,” the government’s policy of slowing down expenditure as a means of managing the economy and said elsewhere, while other administrations are equally concerned about managing their budget deficits, they are more concerned with measures to create jobs in their own countries and strengthening the capacity of domestic private sector.

“…when you walk around, you look around in this country, you find that the private sector and the Ghanaian sector… has been left really to its own devices and so life is difficult. I am a business person; I’m in the financial sector; I’m in hospitality and in some other areas and believe me, it is difficult but then I would have wished that someone in government was also paying attention and finding ways that those of us in the private sector would also gain some assistance.”

Dr. Nduom also want the president, J.E.A. Mills, to decree a “buy made-in-Ghana” policy to further enhance the capacity of local businesses and to ensure that even as the world reels from the challenges wrought by the global economic recess, government spending will be done productively.

“Let us use government’s purchasing power - whether we are slowing down things or not government is spending - let us channel that spending into the Ghanaian private sector so that the Ghanaian engineer, the Ghanaian consultant, that the Ghanaian electrician, the Ghanaian who produces rice, the Ghanaian who has textiles etc, that they will get whatever monies that we are spending so that they will get the boost…”

Dr. Nduom was also not happy with the governments’ persistent ‘interference’ in the distribution of pre-mix fuel. He said while the problem preceded the Mills government, he had expected the president, coming from the coast, to better understand the issues and deal with it more effectively. Rather the problem persists and already there are diversions of the product involving those appointed by government to serve on pre-mix committees.

Calling for a break for fishermen, he wondered why the interference does not extend to cocoa farmers, corn or rice farmers. “I don’t know what it is about fishermen that government people want to go and tell them what to do. And so here I’m saying, let’s learn some lessons from what has happened in the past. Let’s leave the fishermen to manage their own affairs and leave the distribution of pre-mix to them and to the private sector and let government people concentrate on ensuring that at the Tema Oil Refinery and in other places there is enough fuel that should go around. For me that is indeed what needs to be done and our fishermen do need a break.”

Story by Isaac Yeboah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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