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General News Wed, 31 Dec 2003

Judge Me On My Record - JAK

President John Kuffour has appealed to Ghanaians to cast their votes wisely in twelve months time and to pass an electoral verdict on him based mainly on his achievements between January 2001 and December 2004.

In an exclusive interview with Statesman editor Gabby Asare-Otchere on Gabby's Airtime which premiers on GTV on Monday January 5, the man aiming for a second four year term as president of Ghana told those who argue that the country has seen no change in the style and governance from Rawlings era that "the shift that has occurred is in the personality of the government."

President Kuffour says the fundamental philosophy driving his administration is a deep-seated care for the welfare of the people of Ghana.

"What people are interested in now is people cantered approach."

And he says his government is offering that not in words but in the impact that government policies are making on communities. A government of its words. This is how people are seeing us, he said in referring to the 69% of the price of cocoa now given back to he farmer and what he refers to as the nationwide upgrading of schools and roads.

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In the hour long interview, the President joined the likes of Ashanti Goldfields boss Sam Jonah in rounding up on social commentators who he says "see nothing good about his government" and also say that the "HIPC initiative is failing."

The President defended his government's decision to hike up utility fees and price of petroleum products by as much an average of 95 per cent saying it as the most challenging decision.

"We were at pains but we felt for our economic programs to stay on course, those subsidies on fuel and utilities had to go."

He also claims those decisions are beginning to pay off and is promising a better 2004.

"We are succeeding after taking those harsh policies. Inflation is coming down , banks' lending rates have dropped."

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And characteristic of politicians, the President tongue lashed his predecessors and main opponents in the National Democratic Congress.

"We inherited a twisted economy from economy from Rawlings whose management is like fighting a war", he said.

He also took issues with the NDC's presidential candidate John Attah Mills who had criticised the President for imposing a "myriad of taxes that are crippling the economy and private sector in particular."

"The president said I wish he has specified the kind of reforms he talks about."

Source: Joy Online