Mahama has killed agricultural sector - Akufo-Addo
The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said Ghana’s sad state of affairs under the leadership of President John Mahama is evident in the rapid decline of the agricultural sector over the last eight years.
With some 60 per cent of the Ghanaian population engaged in agriculture, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that the Mahama government had allocated only one per cent of government expenditure to the agricultural sector, whereas, in 2008, when the NPP government was leaving office, four per cent of government expenditure was dedicated to agriculture.
This, Nana Akufo-Addo explained, accounts for the reason the growth rate in the sector has slumped from 7.4 per cent at the end of 2008, under President Kufuor, to a little over two per cent in 2016, under President Mahama.
According to the 2016 budget presented to parliament, GHS501.5million was allocated to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by the Mahama government, out of a total budgeted expenditure of GHS43.5 billion. The allocation to the Ministry, under President Mahama, for 2016, represents some 1.2 per cent of government expenditure.
“Agriculture is in sharp decline under Mahama and has resulted in untold suffering for farmers across the country. When given the opportunity in this year’s elections, we (the NPP) will increase the budgetary allocation of agriculture to at least four per cent, akin to what prevailed under President Kufuor,” he said.
Increasing the budgetary allocation to agriculture, the NPP flag bearer explained, is a commitment he intends to keep, when he is entrusted with the mandate in this year’s elections, stressing: “That is the way we can hire more extension officers and establish agricultural mechanisation centres to help the farmers. We intend to take the development of our agriculture seriously, and not pay lip service to it.”
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a mini-durbar comprising 57 chiefs in the Nkwanta South constituency, on Wednesday, October 26, during his tour of the constituency, as part of his five-day tour of the Volta Region.
He assured the chiefs and people of Nkwanta South that: “You were witnesses to the development and the improvement in the livelihoods of citizens under President Kufuor. I, also, intend going down the same path so as to return this country onto the path of progress and prosperity.”
On the request for the creation of a new region out of the Volta Region, with the proposed name being the Oti Region, Nana Akufo-Addo stated: “I heard President Mahama say that when Ghanaians give him another four years in office, he will create the Oti Region. President Mahama has been in office for eight years – four years as vice president and four years as president, and, yet, he never made a statement about the creation of a region until I talked about the Western North Region.”
Nana Akufo-Addo added: “The proposed Western North Region announced by me prompted President Mahama to also promise the creation of five more regions. We thank God that he has seen the light.”
The NPP flag bearer stated that the creation of a new region will be of immense economic and developmental benefit to the northern and southern parts of the Volta Region, as it will also bring governance to the people.
“I assure you that when I win this year’s elections, the creation of the Oti Region will be done. However, what I cannot promise now will be where the capital will be sited. I know the chiefs of Nkwanta want the capital right here in Nkwanta. What I would ask for is for a consultative process to take place, where we can all sit down and agree, as a people, on what’s best for the new region, in terms of the siting of a capital,” he added.
Nana Akufo-Addo urged the chiefs and people of Nkwanta South to vote for him, and for the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the constituency, Cephas Edusei.