Kwesi Amissah Arthur, a Veep JM can trust; compliment and not compete

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 Source: Maxwell Okamafo Addo

Making sure Ghanaians get the provision of democratic dividends to the people - The president and his vice are like 5 and 6 and nothing can separate them

I thought the 'unrepentant haters' of the John Mahama administration will come out with concrete facts to nail the President and his Vice, Kwesi Amissah Arthur ,but as usual all I see are words of hatred that lack steam!

It’s unfortunate that some politicians today can’t think without sentiments.

Everybody is throwing insults at the President and his Vice for our economic situations, yet we forget that constitutionally the local government and the public sector government are more responsible for grass root development.

Recently the chairman of the public services commission Mrs. Bridget Katsriku at the 7th Annual Conference of Public Service Chief Executives, Chief Directors and Chairpersons of Governing Boards in Kumasi under the theme: “Renewing the face of the Public Service for high performance,” stated that, she wonders why aggrieved citizens go to the flagstaff house instead of directing their anger at the respective MDAs.

Because they are given the responsibility to provide such services and they, and not necessarily the President, must be held accountable for the poor service delivery.

So the need for an in-depth and critical introspection of the reasons for the incessant expression of dissatisfaction by Ghanaians of our service.

And that said, recent events in the country have made many of the citizens angry with government. Such occurrences don’t augur well for the nation.

Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Amissah Arthur, complimenting the efforts of President Mahama, has continuously assured Ghanaians of continuous loyalty and commitment to the transformation of the country.

Ghana’s Vice President, recognizes that his role is to compliment the effort of the President but not to compete as well as his good advice and loyalty to the President of Ghana.

Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur is a great leader and his enviable testimonials speak volumes on his achievements and commitment to uplift Ghanaians as President Mahama, continues to commend him for the pivotal role that he has he played in the economic matters of the state.

He is an embodiment of selfless service to humanity. No encomiums will be too much to describe the fine gentleman of impeccable character as an international consultant/economist to the World Bank and foreign countries and has a long public service stewardship with a mission to help maintain the economy as a strong platform for Ghana’s development and to ensure stability, development and access to A Better Ghana for all Ghanaians.

He’s assured Ghanaians of continuous loyalty and commitment to the transformation of the country’s economy as the head of government economic management team, through the provision of democratic dividends to the people so that we would succeed as a nation.

“The aggression of other party members against him is at best to spur him to greater heights as constructive opposition will always bring about progress and development. “As vice-president of the country and having been elected on the platform of the NDC with the president who is the leader of the party, Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur continues to enjoy the desired support of President John Mahama.

“That aside, the president and his vice are like 5 and 6 and nothing can separate them; if eventually Mr President listens to the clamour of Ghanaians for him to again present himself in 2015, which I am sure he will, I can assure you that he would run with Kwesi Amissah Arthur as his vice because there is no need for any change.

Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur is a man who believes that working with President John Mahama is a team work and under their tenure Ghana shall remain the most preferred and peaceful investment destination in Africa, considering the various measures that the Mahama administration has put in place to create the right environment for investments and businesses to thrive in the country.

He also has the vision to work together with President Mahama and continue to put the country in the threshold of a new era; an era that would continue with the Good leadership of President Mahama; a leadership that is uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past; a leadership committed to change; a leadership that reinvents government, to solve the everyday problems that confront the average Ghanaian.

As the head of the economic management team he has continuously called for the deepening of private participation and foreign direct investment in Ghana’s economy, he’s urged Ghana’s collaborators to take advantage of the country’s stable political environment and the growing economy, which is leading in West Africa.

Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has assured Ghanaians that government has resolved to take the necessary actions to reverse the current economic challenges, and put the economy back on the path of growth as we are seeing gradually.

He has acknowledged that there are challenges with the current economic indicators, but expressed the hope that “with time, government will be able to reverse the trend and to address the challenges of the economy and is confident that the economy will bounce back to growth by 2015.

But as a nation what we need is more skills development among the labour force. And also through team work, government has made good use of its promises to use the plethora of projects and programmes conceived under its Better Ghana Agenda to significantly grow the economy and improve the living standard of the citizens.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur, who was the architect behind the Senchi forum which had individuals, political parties, civil society organizations and the media participate, believes that it would help to address the economic challenges facing the country.

A report says that President Mahama expressed the hope that it would strengthen the government's economic management and added that an advisory committee would be set up to monitor the implementation of the report.

Vice President, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur believes that the recommendations in the report need to be worked on towards achieving 8.8 per cent budget deficit and to pass a law restricting borrowing from the Bank of Ghana by 2015.

On the economic front he’s stated that the purpose of the Senchi economic forum was to help restore micro economic stability by achieving realistic deficit target and added that the report would address the economic problems on the domestic front.

President John Mahama believes in the idea proposed by this Vice, that when people come together to pursue a common agenda in terms of finding solutions to national problems, sustainable successes would be realized.

Barely two and half years after President Mahama made that solemn transformational pledge with Sound economic management under the chairmanship of Kwesi Amissah Arthur, government has been implementing far-reaching reforms and policies conceived in the economic blue print which seek, among other things to revive the country’s infrastructure, diversify the economy, cutting down on government expenditure and solving the deficit problem to create a vibrant economy.

As a team member, he’s helped in the commitment of the President Mahama's administration to make Ghana a better place and a global economic power with recommendations for a prudent management of the nation’s wealth to free up more funds for infrastructure projects and other developmental purposes.

Overall, the present administration and its Fiscal Strategy and Economic Objectives is focusing on key sectors which include Security, Roads Infrastructure (including Power), Agriculture, Manufacturing, Housing and Construction, Entertainment, Education, Health and ICT.

Government under the Mahama, Amissah Arthur, is determined to pursue policies that will ensure a stable macroeconomic environment through a strong and prudent fiscal policy, manageable deficits, sustainable debt-GDP ratio and thereby promoting real growth and believe that these measures would engender a stable and competitive exchange rate.

As Chairman of the economic management team, Vice president Kwesi Amissah Arthur, had announced that they have a programme specifically focused on service delivery and are going beyond rhetoric’s to execute the mandate of making sure that the money budgeted is used to alleviate poverty, accelerate economic transformation through investment in critical infrastructure projects in order to drive economic growth and achieve Vision 20:2020 targeted at the poor and most vulnerable in the country.

It is noteworthy that the Presidency is equally reforming the country’s tax system and improving internally generated revenue by putting up a presidential task force to monitor and bring tax evaders to book.

Interestingly too, the government has taken practical steps towards fulfilling its promises to drastically reduce recurrent expenditure to a sustainable level under the Vice President Kwesi Amissah Arthur.,who is the chair of the Economic management team.

Stable power sector

He’s a believer of the local content policy and that the Ghanaian can do it. Recently he lauded Ghanaians working on the Atuabo project which has the capacity to process about 150 million standard cubic feet of raw gas from the Jubilee Oilfield per day.

The Vice-President on the status of the project, said the project was 99.78 per cent complete, while the offshore pipeline was 99.63 per cent complete and it's expected to add an additional 550 megawatts of power to the national grid which would save the country $500 million every year for using gas instead of oil to generate electricity.

He added that Ghana Gas would also produce 500 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas a day as a by-product, which would represent about 75 per cent of the current quantity produced.

Against all odds, Ghana is on the verge of permanently resolving its power sector crisis. The government made significant leap towards solving the decades-long power sector crisis recently when it increased the electricity generation.

Recently, the Bui Hydroelectric Station in the Brong Ahafo Region officially added 400 megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid following its inauguration by the President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama.

The station, which has three generating units, each with 133.3 MW, also has a switchyard and transmission lines constructed to evacuate power from the plant and it amounts to an average annual generation of 1,000 GWh, represents 20 per cent of the country's installed capacity.

Apart from energy supply, the Bui Dam Project will be used to irrigate 30,000 hectares of land for agricultural production, among other benefits.

The project has brought the total power added to the national grid this year to 500 MW and has increased the country's generating capacity putting Ghana on track.

Government and other private sector partners are also exploring to generate more to achieve total coverage of electricity by 2016 and make Ghana a net exporter of power in West Africa.

So far two companies had signed an agreement with the Ministry of Energy for the generation of 100 MW solar powers.

The addition of 133 MW from one of the three generating units of the Bui Generating Station to the national grid in May 2013 had helped to ameliorate the load shedding which was caused by the breakdown of gas supply from the West African Gas Pipeline Company.

Apparently, Ghana is spending too much per annum on the importation of foodstuff which could be produced locally. President Mahama is determined to end the importation of food stuff like rice very soon and is also helping the fishery industry and the livestock industry to survive.

Government is putting in measures tasked to transform the sector, guarantee food security and reduce the country’s embarrassing food imports. The agenda also involves making agriculture, together with manufacturing the linchpin of the Ghanaian economy.

Transport sector

Lately, government has also made tremendous progress in re-positioning the country’s aviation sector with the completion of the first phase of airport rehabilitation project in Kumasi. The government has equally initiated reforms to tackle the rot in the Ghanaian ports.

The reforms which came in various phases were geared towards eliminating the hiccups in the operations of the nation, example is the formation of the marine police unit of the Ghana police service that has been formed and has been adequately equipped with boats.

The Kumasi Airport can now be able to function at night following the extension of the runway and the installation of aviation lights to aid landing. The Kotoka International Airport is also undergoing round way expansion.

The Tamale Airport is also being upgraded to meet International Standards which is remarkable at a time that Ghana pushes towards a full middle income status. Government have has also initiated policies to make the transport sector a private sector-driven through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.

Work on the Takoradi Port and Harbour Expansion Project has also begun. The Tema Port is undergoing the biggest-ever expansion at an estimated cost of One Billion Dollars ($1 billion). A new handling equipment for the Meridian Port Services (MPS) at the Tema Port has been inaugurated, the expansion would position the Tema Port to compete for the best port in Africa, the Equipment consists nine cranes and a four-megawatt electricity-generating plant.

The equipment is expected to enhance the operations of the company by improving efficiency in terminal handling and easing congestion at the port.

Aside executing road projects, the Mahama government has intensified efforts towards fixing the railways. Government also intends to go for a major expansion to make Tema the best in Africa, so as to link the port with an efficient rail and road transport network.

"In this regard, government is planning to build a new interchange at the Tema Roundabout to reduce the traffic to and from the port". The Accra-Tema Motorway is also to be expanded from four lanes to six lanes.

With regards to rail transport revival in the country, President Mahama recently announced that government would soon rehabilitate the Western rail line from Takoradi to Kumasi soon so as to help move some of the containers to Takoradi to serve the middle and northern belts of the country.

The president also touched on The handling procurement of the Eastern railway line to link the Boankra inland port which has been standing as a white elephant for many years,” an 80-km rail line is also being designed to link Tema to Akosombo, which on completion would direct cargo from Tema to the Buipe Inland port to serve the three regions of the north, as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Social development

The Government is not relenting efforts by providing basic amenities for its teeming population. Plans to kick off a massive housing and road construction project which will serve as a great potential for job creation, have reached an advanced stage.

Education is equally a top priority of the Mahama administration and has reiterated government’s commitment to improve the quality of education in the country. The Mahama administration identifies education as a pivotal sector that deserves priority investment for the creation of a competitive labour force.

To this end, government is undertaking holistic measures to improve quality of learning at all levels and increase secondary enrollment. The new community Basic SHS has begun with the sod cutting of 50 initial schools by President Mahama which would be completed in 18 month’s time as scheduled.

The focus is on access and equity, as well as standards and quality assurance. “Whatever we are going to do right from primary, junior secondary, secondary and tertiary, we have to actually focus on the quality of education vis-a-vis the issue of access to schools”.

Another area that government is desperately trying to improve is the health sector. Government is aware of the fact that good health contributes to economic growth. Therefore, government is seeking to improve the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) by giving out instant identification cards a process that has started.

It is equally taking practical steps to ensure that the country meets the MDGs target on health. To this end, efforts have been geared towards improving the quality of health care services offered in government hospitals, while providing the enabling policy environment for private health care practitioners to offer quality services and putting up more district hospital and CHIP compounds in the country.

The President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, recently inaugurated the $ 21.6 million Mampong Water Supply Rehabilitation and Expansion Project in the Ashanti Region which would serve about 58,000 people in Mampong and surrounding communities.

The communities are Damang, Daano, Bosofour, Besease, Kyeremfaso and Krobo, Mpenya, Dadease, Bonkrom, Nsuta and Beposo.

Significantly, the project has the capacity to meet the water demands of the areas up to 2020 for a projected population of approximately 90,000.

It would increase water supply from 2.5 million gallons a day to 10.5 million gallons a day while the distribution network would expand by about 42 kilometres. Mr Mahama has said his government would not discriminate against any region in the implementation of development.

So far governmet has started the Construction of the urban water projects thus the 40mgd Kpong Water Expansion II, 4mgd Abesim water project, 4mgd Koforidua water project, 2mgd Bolgatanga water project, 3mgd Wa water project and 2.5mgd Damango water project; Rehabilitation of minor and low capacity treatment plants in various parts of the country.

Government will also continue with the payment of compensations to land and crop owners across the country particularly at Weija, Cape-Coast, Sunyani, Tamale, Baifikrom and Wa to arrest the continuing encroachment of areas acquired for water supply systems.

Rural Water Programmes

The Ministry acting through Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) will increase the provision of safe and potable water in the country through the following projects: Sink 1,032 new boreholes, rehabilitate 225 bore holes, dig 25 hand dug wells, rehabilitate 23 hand dug wells, construct 47 small town pipe systems, construct 20 small communities pipe systems, construct two rain catchment systems, construct 2,105 household places of convenience, construct 1,425 small towns household places of convenience and construct 404 institutional places of convenience.

Train the following: 610 WATSAN Committees, 24 District Water and Sanitation Teams (DWSTs), 28 Environmental Health Assistance (EHAs), 99 area mechanics, 1,840 pump caretakers, 135 latrine artisans, 32 small town operators, 473 School Health Committee.

A water supply scheme being jointly undertaken by DFID and Government of Ghana which is based on drawing raw water from the Oti River at Damanko to supply potable water to 13 guinea worm endemic communities covering the stretch from Damanko to Kpassa in the Northern part of Volta Region have all been completed.

Access to safe and adequate water to meet basic human needs with emphasis on access by the poor and the vulnerable will be the main goal. The repairs and installation of two defective pumps at the Weija Treatment Plant have also been completed.

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the following water projects; Kumawu, Kwahu Ridge, Damongo, Sunyani, Wa, Kpandu, and Konongo have also been completed.

The rehabilitation of minor and low capacity treatment plants in various parts of the country will also commence at Agona, New Edubiase in Ashanti region; Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region; Breman Asikuma and Dunkwa–on-Offin in the Central Region; Akim Ofoase, Asamankese, Akim Oda, and Suhum in the Eastern Region; Prestea, Bogoso, Elubo, Axim and Aboso in the Western Region; Bawku and Navrongo in the Upper East Region; to ensure the production and delivery of safe water are on course.

Government has also completed the rehabilitation and expansion of the following water projects in the course of the year; Accra Tema Metropolitan Area Rural Water supply expansion and Kumasi Water Supply Projects.

The Ministry will continue discussions with interested investors to raise the needed funds to support the urban water supply systems in Techiman, Assin Fosu, Bolgatanga, Berekum, Sogakope-Lome and Kibi.

Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur has continuously assured Ghanaians that the Mahama administration’s development strategy was to transform Ghana and to assure that investors’ trust in the stability, growth and development of the country was not misplaced.

He believes that times are hard and measures taken by government are aimed at complimenting the efforts of private sector organizations in Ghana to achieve its all-inclusive growth, job and wealth creation targets.

Columnist: Maxwell Okamafo Addo