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General News Wed, 6 Nov 2002

NPP gets thumbs up in Daily Guide survey

A debate has raged on as to which is the best performing government given the period the Rawlings-led Governments (PNDC/NDC) were in power as compared to the short span of the Kufuor Regime.

The Paper Daily Guide took it upon itself to sample opinions on the performance of the Kufuor Administration in contrast with that of the NDC within the same period, i.e., the first two years of the NDC and the NPP.

The survey covered Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Koforidua, Takoradi, Tamale, Winneba and other parts of the country at the weekend.

Most of the respondents chose issues like press freedom and liberties, price of foodstuffs, governance style, education, transportation, and the producer price of cocoa to make their analysis.

Daily Guide?s findings showed that even though the NPP Regime is barely two years old, evidence on the ground indicate that the Kufuor Government has done pretty well as compared to the first two years of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and its successor regime (NDC).

Francis Kordie, a timber merchant in Sunyani observed that he has lived under all the nine or so governments (from CPP to NDC) the country has had since independence and is convinced that, given some time, the NPP might make a difference, since he believes in the diction that ?one person can make a difference? ? a reference to the governance style of President J.A. Kufuor.

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He was particularly happy that even though the Kufuor Government was assailed by high food prices on assumption of power, the story is now different. He noted that currently, the price of foodstuffs which skyrocketed in 2001, has come down considerably including prices of staples like maize, yam, cassava, plantain and gari.

Mr. Kordie also lauded the NPP Administration for not arresting people in the nick of the night and not chasing them with military trucks for merely voicing their opinions.

According to him, under the Kufuor Government speech and writing are no longer crimes particularly with the repeal of the obnoxious Criminal Libel Law.

Kordie was also happy that the government has had the temerity to increase producer price of cocoa thrice since it came to power to bring it almost at par with the price in neighbouring countries, to reduce the smuggling of cocoa beans from the country?s border towns.

Mr. Kordie added that he was particularly pleased with concrete efforts the new government has made particularly in the provision of vehicles to the Ghana Police Service and to the anti-smuggling task force, and the spraying of cocoa trees to reduce the risk of capsid, swollen shoot and black pod diseases.

He also mentioned micro-finances to small-scale farmers under the Emergency Social Relief Fund as well as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme, which he noted have brought a lot of relief to the impoverished people in deprived communities particularly fisherfolks and farmers.

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The country?s Military Hospital (the 37 Military Hospital) has been modernized while an ambitious Armed Forces Housing project is underway.

Emmanuel Essilfie, 38, a businessman in Winneba who spoke to the paper said he recalls that the first two years of the PNDC were spent hounding Ghanaian businessmen and depriving them of their hard-won assets while the first two years of the NDC which succeeded the PNDC were also spent harassing political opponents instead of focusing on key areas of the economy to bring development to the people.

He referred to an attack on Messrs. Kwabena Darko, of Darko Farms Company Ltd., Dr. Addison of Multi Wall Papers (manufacturers of cement papers) in Takoradi and Appea-Menka of Appea-Menka Complex (a very well patronised detergent) for allegedly using their monies to finance a political party, which was publicly campaigned against by the then President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings at a function at the Trade Fair Centre, La in Accra in 1993.

On her part, Lucy Ayane, an opinion leader in Koforidua told the Daily Guide that when she heard recently that the NPP Regime had been described in certain circles as the ?worst government that the country has had, she could not fathom by whichever yardstick the government had been described in that light.

She indicated for instance that the Keta Sea Defence Project which was initiated by the former regime was moving at a snail?s pace. She made reference to the huge amounts of dollars that was paid to Pentrax, a construction firm, which never executed its portion of the works.

According to her, when the NPP Administration took office, it reviewed the Keta Sea Defence Project and has committed some monies towards the construction of a Sea Defence Wall for the area so as to save the people from the ferocious assault of the sea, which has been competing with the inhabitants for space in the Keta coastal belt.

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Kwadwo Adusa, a proprietor of pure water (Nsu) in Tema conceded that he is very overwhelmed at the galloping speed with which the government is embarking on development projects in the country saying ?If the country has had a government like this after Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, countries like, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand (the Asian Tigers) would not have over-taken us in terms of economic success and development of social infrastructure.

On her part, Akua Serwaa Mary, a bread seller in Kumasi confessed that although she did not vote in the last general election, she thinks that the NPP Regime is doing well and urged Ministers and functionaries to talk less while they concentrate on doing more action to alleviate the plight of the masses.

It is public knowledge that until the ascension of the Kufuor Government, the Ghana Police Service had lost its image but now the story is different. The country?s police which used to cry for lack of logistics and were paid no heed, now have a fleet of cars and communication equipment to combat crime and thus to facilitate policing duties in the country, he noted.

Meanwhile, upon his return from a two-week tour of Japan and China, President Kufuor has disclosed that both the Japanese and Chinese Governments had made serious commitments to assist Ghana.

According to the Foreign Minister, Hon. Hackman Owusu Agyeman, the Chinese Government has speedily commissioned a team of experts to come to Ghana to work towards revamping and resuscitating the railway network to run from the south to the northern parts of the country.

The Chinese had also given an interest-free loan of $30 million for the completion of a portion of the Accra-Kumasi Road.

The Chinese would also introduce a new breed of rice called Nerica rice into the country. The Japanese had already availed the President a new variety of rice which the biggest university in that country had researched into and found suitable for the tropical climate. The hybrid rice is simply called ?Africa Rice? according to the Japanese University authorities. This was before the President left for China to continue his two-nation visits.

Earlier reports had it that the Japanese Government had pledged $86 million for the Mallam-Cape Coast Road and a memorandum of understanding had already been signed to that effect in Japan. They also donated 300 computers to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi. Prince Adam, a teacher in the Upper East Region on his part observed that during the period of the NDC, there was absolute discipline in the country, contrary to the wide-spread indiscipline in all sections of the society as of now.

Source: Daily Guide