*And blames NDC, NPP for state of economy

Hundreds of people lined up along the streets of Bole in the Northern Region last Monday to welcome the Nduom national campaign team to the region.

Not even the late arrival of Dr. Nduom and his team at 3:00 P.M., rather than the scheduled 12:00 Noon could cause the eager crowd to disperse.

Conspicuous among the crowd were the over 200 Nduom Volunteers, a special group set up to support the Nduom 2012 bid, persons who have taken it upon themselves to use innovative ways to canvass votes for the party.

The Nduom Volunteers came along with a large number of the fresh Progressive People’s Party (PPP) members they have registered in the course of their campaigning over the last several weeks.

Some tired market women who had just returned from the market also stormed the scene together with several opinion leaders.

Visibly present were vibrant youth who had just turned 18-years, eager to be catapulted into the PPP fray.

Remarkably, some passengers en route to Sawla, a neighbouring town, got off their vehicles to join the PPP rendezvous.

Dr. Nduom’s meeting with the town folk, originally scheduled to take just 30 minutes, eventually run for over an hour and half, since the residents made it their business to virtually hold the entourage hostage at the gathering.

Addressing the vociferous crowd at the lorry station, the PPP National Secretary, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, told the people the party had plans to better their lot.

Dr. Nduom told the teeming crowd that the PPP is a different party that will not follow in the footsteps of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He assured them that a PPP national administration would improve the infrastructure in the community and stressed his primary concern to build relevant educational infrastructure in the area.  He therefore urged all present to vote for the PPP during the 2012 elections.

The campaign team then moved to Wa, the Upper West Region capital.

Whiles there, Dr. Nduom paid a visit to the Wa Polytechnic campus where he addressed members of the Progressive Youth Movement (PYM,) the youth wing of the party.

Though Dr. Nduom got there around 8:00 P.M., the auditorium was filled to capacity with both PYM members and some members of the general student body.

Dr. Nduom charged the students to work assiduously to help the PPP win the upcoming elections.  That, he remarked, would enable them get the jobs they want and help erase the problem of unemployed graduates.

On Tuesday, Dr. Nduom continued to the Wa Lorry Park where he preached the PPP peace message to the people present.

The team then proceeded to Nadowli and Lawra where Dr. Nduom introduced the party’s parliamentary candidates for the various constituencies.

Dr. Nduom urged the residents to change their way of voting and give the PPP candidates a chance to represent them in parliament.

Meanwhile the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has waded into the raging economic debate expressing disappointment over the manner both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration are engaged in a blame game over the difficulties a bad economy has sprung on Ghanaians. 

“We wish to place on record with the media and the public in general that one way to stop this dangerous game is to expand the political space to allow other political parties to participate in public discussions about important national matters, such as the economy and job creation.”

These concerns were contained in a press release signed and issued in Accra yesterday, by the party’s National Secretary, Kofi Asamoah-Siaw.

According to the national secretary, the “PPP is the best alternative to the status quo as we have prepared ourselves very well to offer good implementable ideas and solutions.”

On the matter of the depreciating value of the cedi, the party recalled that it did, on countless occasions at the beginning of the year, sound the alarm bells, but fell on deaf ears.

The party noted that, after it had complained about the alarming rate of depreciation of the cedi against the dollar, pound and euro and its consequences for the economy, the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour, publicly asserted that “the recent depreciation in the value of the cedi is only a temporary setback in the country’s economic development.”

“Since this statement by Dr Duffuor, the cedi has lost about 8.42% of its value to the dollar,” Kofi Asamoah-Siaw observed.

That situation, according to the PPP, has weakened the basic fundamentals of Ghana economy and has sharply affected investor and business confidence in the country.

“Traders, corporate Ghana and Ghanaians are lamenting the effects of the depreciating cedi against other trading currencies as their purchasing power has been drastically reduced. Indeed, business people have lost money,” the statement noted.

The Progressive People’s Party expressed worry that the trend within the global economy portends a scary situation for Ghana, as analysts are now predicting the value of the cedi might fall by 15% rather than the 10% they predicted earlier if national administration and the Bank of Ghana are not proactive with fiscal policy management.
The PPP added that 2012 is an election year, and the related routine uncertainties could hit the economy in ways that will contribute to further push the value of the cedi down.

“We also recall that during the [height of] global economic crises when the NPP was in [national administration,] the cedi depreciated against the dollar by 25%,” the party secretary added.

“So there is a fundamental structural problem facing the Ghanaian economy which we must address away from partisan, unproductive blame game.

“The GDP growth may be high, but as long as agro-industry, manufacturing, tourism and other areas that can provide jobs remain unsupported, Ghanaian labour will remain unemployed and severely under-employed,” the party lamented.

Against that backdrop, the PPP said: “We must find the courage and determination to add value to the raw materials produced in this country. The PPP has the will to do what is needed to make that happen.”

According to the PPP, “The threats to resort to violence exhibited by the NDC and NPP must be checked. No political party must be allowed to implement a win-at-all-cost campaign.”

According to the party, political propaganda cannot wish away the fact that at least 40% of Ghanaians are unemployed.  Over the past ten years more than 1.5 million children have failed the Basic Education Certificate Examination, and it will not be too far-fetched to estimate that the unemployment rate in Ghana will exceed 50%, the release stated.

“The PPP wishes to sound a very loud alarm bell to all Ghanaians to be wide awake and pay attention to what is happening to the economy and not be taken in by all the propaganda and noise on the political front,” Kofi Asamoah-Siaw said.

“Consistent with the PPP’s good economic management principles, we will bring fiscal discipline into the system and at the same time support our indigenous businesses to ensure that we keep money in our own banking system to be used to support our private sector, when we get the mandate to govern the country after the 2012 elections,” the national secretary proposed.

The party promised to bring the economy back home by using government’s purchasing power to ensure that local contractors, consultants and industries gain a market at home.

“We will reduce pressure on the Ghana cedi, while creating jobs for our men and women.  We will implement with a sense of urgency, the national identification system and promote vigorously the new pension law to bring the long-term money the private sector needs and inject needed discipline into the system,” said Kofi Asamoah-Siaw.

Ghana clearly needs the progressive, pragmatic approach of the PPP to restore the value of the cedi and human values, he asserted.

STORY: SELORM ATUTORNU

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