The Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said he will engage organised labour on the purported privatisation of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) if given the nod at the December polls.
He said it had become obvious that the government had failed to consider the views of organised labour in the privatisation of the ECG and that had led to agitation in organised labour groups.
“Our first duty in January will be to sit down with the various stakeholders and look at the options you have placed on the table,” he said.
“We need to engage you again and engage with the American partners to find a way forward,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
The NPP flag bearer made the promise when he interacted with members of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Accra yesterday. The meeting provided a platform for him to explain his vision and programmes for the country, should he be voted president, to organised labour.
On the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC), under which the ECG is to be placed on a concessionary deal, he said the aspect of the agreement that said it was not subject to the laws of Ghana was unacceptable.
That, he said, would mean ceding the sovereignty of the nation, adding that “any business that surpasses the laws of Ghana would amount to ceding our sovereignty, and that cannot be.”
Arrears owed contractors
At a separate meeting, also in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo told the Association of Road Contractors (ASROC) that all arrears owed them by the state would be paid in full within six months of his administration.
He also promised that 20 per cent of all contracts awarded to foreign contractors would be sub-contracted to local contractors and added that he would also ensure that all government of Ghana-funded projects would be given exclusively to local contractors.
Nana Akufo-Addo said if it became necessary to bring in a foreign company, it would be by way of partnership between the foreign entity and a local contractor.
He talked about the development of a comprehensive railway network, saying that one of the greatest errors that the country had allowed to occur was allowing the country’s rail system to be dormant.
Nana Akufo-Addo expressed concern over sole-sourcing, describing it as a wrong practice that, rather than being an exception, had become a norm under the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“I wrote the Procurement Law and I know what is in there. Under my administration, we will go back to do the right thing,” he said.
He said the country was faced with challenges that required a different mindset to tackle, as well as an engagement with organised labour.
The current tax regime for businesses, he said, was counter-productive and was leading to the collapse of otherwise enterprising businesses.
Nana Akufo-Addo promised that under his presidency, taxes on the importation of raw materials would be removed.
Reinvigorating private businesses
He said the position of the NPP was that it was pertinent to give incentives to businesses to thrive for them to be taxed at the end of their production cycle rather than taxing them when they imported raw materials or machinery to run their businesses.
“Prosperity can only come from the rapid growth of our economy. We need to address our greatest challenge of joblessness. We recognise that job creation is a cross-cutting issue in our national economy. It is the enterprise of private businesses that will spur us on,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
SHS not political football
Answering a question at the TUC meeting on whether his government would maintain the three-year senior high school (SHS) programme or adopt the four-year system that was implemented by the Kufuor administration, Nana Akufo-Addo said the education of Ghanaian children ought not to be “a political football.”
On the way forward, he said there would be the need for a stakeholder forum, stressing that the issue of the education of the future leaders of the country ought to be taken outside NPP and NDC politicking.
On whether metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) should be elected, Nana Akufo-Addo said the party was of the view that they ought to be elected and he was, therefore, prepared to facilitate the necessary legal regime to make that possible when voted into power.