Thursday, June 11, 2009

Govt is in Control of economic challenges - Veep

Vice President John Dramani Mahama, yesterday assured Ghanaians, that government is in firm control of the economic challenges confronting the country and would adopt pragmatic policies to deal with them.In this direction, government would in the next few weeks announce a major economic policy and also launch job creation initiatives, to deal with the problem of unemployment among the youth. The job creation initiatives will cover sectors like agriculture and forestry.Vice President Mahama was speaking at a well attended public lecture to mark the 17th anniversary of the birth of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was founded in June 1992.Mr Mahama said it was wrong for the opponents of the ruling NDC, to suggest that the continuous reference of the party to the bad economic situation it inherited was a failure to deal with the problem. He said government could only fix the problem, after knowing the full extent of the situation, adding that recent information on the economic downturn indicated that the country was in a very bad shape than announced in the budget.Mr Mahama made reference to the Tema Oil Refinery debt, which had reached a high level of GH¢9.4 billion although the New Patriotic Party administration had in place a TOR debt recovery level. The levy generated about GH¢6 billion, but was used on ordinary budgetary items.However, Mahama said the NDC, was not perturbed by the challenges since it has abundant human resource to deal with the problem. Touching on the behaviour of government officials, the Vice President urged them to see their position as an appointment by the people of Ghana and they must, therefore, eschew arrogance and dishonesty in the performance of their duties.Besides, they must be opened to greater standards of transparency, probity and accountability.He said any indiscretion on the part of any government official, would not be taken lightly, because they were expected to live according to high ethical principles, which were the cornerstone on which the party was founded.Vice President Mahama called for unity among the party members in order to confront the task facing the country and to deliver on the promises made to the people.Mr Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International, who was the Guest Speaker, asked government to place special emphasis on education since it is the only means to provide social security and job opportunities.He said it was important for all social democrats to work together and demand equal opportunity for all, irrespective of their social standing.There is also the need to make women the central pillar of the development process, to ensure that the dividends trickle to all members of the society.Mr Ayala expressed the hope that the NDC government would respond to the expectations of Ghanaians.Dr Kwabena Adjei, NDC Chairman, noted that social democratic principles allows the forces of demand and supply to work within a free competitive environment, whilst the people are placed at the centre of the growth agenda in order to ensure social regulation of such market forces.Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, President of the 31st December Women Movement, who chaired the function, said the NDC party was borne out of a strong conviction of Ghanaians that the tenets of June 4 Revolution, had restored dignity to the common man.She observed that despite the attempt in the past eight years to obliterate the image of the party, the NDC was going strong because of the principles of equity, justice, accountability and probity, which are the bedrock of social democracy.The lecture was held on the theme: "Leading the Social Democratic Movement in Africa."

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