General News Wed, 18 Apr 2001

Kufuor Observes 100 Days in Office Without Honeymoon

A confident looking President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday celebrated his 100 days in power, saying that he was not accorded the traditional honeymoon by the country's media.

"I am told that in countries that have this 100 days tradition, it is meant to mark the end of the honeymoon season that the media give a new administration. I have certainly not been allowed (to enjoy) this leisure," he said.

He said that the first 100 days of his administration had been characterised by sleepless nights and the taking of hard decisions to keep the state machinery running.

Kufuor said the period under review had not been business as usual since he was forced to take hold of the structures of government, which had been established, controlled and nurtured by the previous government for 19 years.

"The executive arm of government is now truly a real team that thinks together and tries to fashion out solutions and approaches to problems together.

"This is in sharp contrast with the days of ad hoc decision-making that was the hallmark of former times. This process is far from over."

Kufuor said his administration has created an enabling environment for the rule of law and press freedom being displayed, especially on the airwaves.

"To maintain this freedom, the Police Service is being supported to perform their duties more efficiently, swiftly and purposefully," he said.

He expressed his commitment to support the private sector by removing rigid regulations that impeded the smooth performance of the sector.

Kufuor called for a public debate on incomes and prices with a view to streamlining the "unrealistic pay structure" of workers.

He said to ensure a smooth supply of basic and critical services, to cut out corruption and remove temptation from public officials who provide these services, Ghana must accept the challenge to face up to the most basic problem of realistic pricing.

"Not until we face these realities, our economy on the larger scale and our institutions on the smaller scale will be run on the stop-go, ad-hoc and distorted system that has characterised our lives since independence," he said.

Kufuor added: "One of the thorniest problems of our economy is the unrealistic structure of pay and prices.

"Right from what the president is paid, which is 1.9 million cedis (about 280 dollars) a month, to what the labourer gets against what we pay for consumables and utilities, are all out of joint."

Kufuor explained that the government, having taken a long-term view of the economic situation globally, provided the background for the removal of subsidies on petroleum products.

"In the same vein, we are seeking realistic prices for such basic commodities as water and electricity. Facing up to this challenge will bring along with it the desired productivity and will in turn yield better wages and pricing."

Kufuor said members of his government would declare their assets by the end of April in line with the government's policy of "zero tolerance for corruption."

Kufuor said his administration has developed a code of ethics for all officials to ensure that they do not live above the law.

Source: Panafrican News Agency