0
General News Wed, 18 Apr 2001

Govt.'s 100 days positive and remarkable - Diplomat

Deputy British High Commissioner, Craig Murray has described the government's 100 days in office as "positive" and "remarkable", especially its adoption of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and the increases in petroleum prices, which, he said, are the right steps in straightening the economy.

Murray who was a strong critic of the former government said the Minister for Youth and Sports' saga was unfortunate but added "the bright side of it is that it shows the ministerial responsibility of the government".

Regarding the government's directives to some public officers to proceed on leave pending the outcome of investigations into their stewardship, Murray said the move was in the right direction in ensuring transparency in the public sector. "Transparency is always what combats corruption," he stated.

The diplomat described the Volta Region as a "political paradox considering that the region is comparatively underdeveloped in spite of its massive support for the former government", citing poor infrastructure, including roads, as drawbacks to its commercial development.

The British High Commissioner made these observations when he paid a courtesy call on the Volta Regional Minister, Kwasi Owusu-Yeboah, at Ho.

Murray said donors shied away from the Volta Region under the previous government to avoid being labelled as favouring the region because of its affiliation to the government. Murray called for more attention from the present government to the Volta Region, which he described as a "political paradox", to bring it at par with others in the country.

He said the region is "comparatively underdeveloped in spite of its massive support for the former government", citing poor infrastructure, including roads, as drawbacks to its commercial development.

Mr. Owusu-Yeboah announced that he was consulting with the various ministries to consider establishing a "Volta Regional Desk" to speed up development in the area.

He said the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is considering making some districts in the region more manageable and accessible.

The regional minister appealed to the British diplomat to assist the Region to undertake a study of its investment potentials for packaging and marketing to investors.

In another development, Craig Murray called on the government to speed up the privatisation of some state enterprises to raise more revenue to pay the country's domestic debts and reduce interest rates.

Mr. Murray said this would help reduce government's over-reliance on taxes to fulfil its internal commitments. He suggested that "for a start, government organisations like the Ghana Commercial Bank and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority could be privatised to make substantial gains for the country".

He is the second Diplomat to commend the government after Peter Schweizer, Switzerland Ambassador who commended it for sending "the right signals in both political and economic direction and expressed the hope that there would be maximum co-operation between the two countries.

Source: NCS