TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by the Flagbearer
Message from the National Chairman
Message from the Founder
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER TWO: THE ECONOMIC BASES
(1) The NDC Legacy
(2) The Economic Objectives
(3) An Unbearable Cost of Living
(4) The Macro Economy
(5) The Economic Fundamentals:
(i) Monetary Policy
(ii) Fiscal Policy
(iii) Public Expenditure
(6) Poverty Reduction
(7) Investment For Growth
(8) Trade in an Era of Globalisation
(9) Industrialisation is the Key
(10) Agriculture and Food Security
(i) Food Crops
(ii) Industrial Crops
(iii) Agro Processing
(iv) Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports
(v) Sheanut – An Export Potential
(vi) Dawadawa – An Important Economic Tree
(viii) Livestock Development
(ix) Crop/Livestock Integration for Sustainable Development
(xi) Agricultural Support Services
(xii) CAP for ECOWAS
(11) Cocoa – A Reliable Ally
(12) Land – The Basic Resource
(13) Forestry – A Renewable Resource
(14) Energy – A 21st Century Necessity
(15) Mining – A Non-Renewable Resource
(16) Ghana – A Tourist Destination
(17) A “National Mobilisation Programme”
CHAPTER THREE: THE SOCIAL SECTOR
(1) Education – A Right
(i) Pre-School Education
(ii) Basic Education
(iii) Second Cycle Education
(iv) Tertiary Education
(v) Teacher Education
(vi) Vocational and Technical Education
(vii) Apprenticeship Training
(viii) Non-Formal Education
(ix) Education “Brain Drain”
(x) Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFund)
(xi) Students’ Loan Scheme
(xii) ICT – Preparing the Student for the World of Work
(2) Health For All
(i) Basic Health Care
(iii) Health Infrastructure
(iv) Training of Health Personnel
(v) National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
(vi) Health Sector ‘Brain Drain’
(vii) Traditional Medicine
(3) A Sanitation Policy
(4) Housing the People
(5) Employment and Job Creation
(6) Social Security
(8) Water For Survival
CHAPTER FOUR: A FAIR AND JUST SOCIETY
(1) Women’s Empowerment
(2) The Children are Vulnerable
(3) Mobilising the Youth
(4) Sports – Participating to Win
(5) The Disabled and the Aged
(6) A Credible Population Policy
(7) Regional Equity
CHAPTER FIVE: THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
(1) Making our Roads Vehicle-Worthy
(2) Airports and Airstrips
(3) Maritime and Water Transport
(4) Rehabilitating the Railways
(5) Ministry of Transportation
(6) Science and Technology for Development
(7) Information and Communication Technology
(8) Urban Planning and Development
CHAPTER SIX: LAW, ORDER AND SECURITY
(1) Law and Order
(2) National Reconciliation Revisited
(3) National Security – Protecting the People
CHAPTER SEVEN: GOVERNANCE
(1) Good Governance
(2) An Efficient, Productive Government Machinery
(3) Continuing the Decentralisation Agenda
(4) An Ant-Corruption Crusade
(5) Human Rights for Human Dignity
(6) The Media – The Fourth Estate of the “Republic”
CHAPTER EIGHT: CHIEFTAINCY AND CULTURE
(1) Chieftaincy – a sacred Institution
(2) Our Cultural Heritage
(3) Religion and Morality
CHAPTER NINE: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(1) ECOWAS – Sub-Regional Integration
(2) NEPAD – A New African Partnership
(3) African Union for African Unity
(4) Ghana and the World
CHAPTER TEN: CONCLUSION
FOREWORD BY THE FLAGBEARER
The time is fast approaching for every registered voter to make momentous choices that will determine the future of our nation.
To help you in these choices, the following pages of this Manifesto outline the NDC’s policies and plans. I urge you to read the entire Manifesto and think deeply about the choices before you.
As I have travelled around our country, talking to people from all walks of life, I have the impression that many of you have already made your choice! But it is not enough to make a choice, which is based only on the disillusionment with the present NPP government and on the hardships and uncertainties faced by most citizens.
If we are to restore the relationship of trust and sincere mutual commitment between people and government, then we need informed choices; choices based on knowledge of what the alternatives to the NPP have to offer for the future.
So I ask you to read the whole of this Manifesto, which has been prepared by the NDC team, marrying philosophical vision, long practical experience, and fresh faces and ideas.
Think about it. Set up discussion groups. Get to know more about each issue. Be informed voters and take control of your future.
The NDC’s 2004 Manifesto carries the slogan, “A Better Ghana”.
Some people may say that this is too obvious. After all, will any political party say that it stands for a worse Ghana? All the parties are looking for votes, and some will promise the moon.
But when the NDC says “A Better Ghana”, we are promising qualitative change. I am sorry I cannot say “positive” change, because it has been sadly devalued.
So what is this qualitative change, which will bring “A Better Ghana”?
What I will put first, before anything else, will be to remove the current atmosphere of suspicion, mistrust and marginalisation of anyone who is assumed to be an ally of the present opposition.
Under a stable, constitutional democracy, any government which is obsessed with passing blame to its predecessors and seeing imaginary enemies at every turn can only be regarded as paranoid. And paranoia, as any psychiatrist will tell you, is a consequence of lack of self-confidence and the inability to cope with realities and challenges.
Secondly, the government that will take charge of national affairs in January 2005 must be one that has a philosophy and a vision for the future. Whilst any realistic government must have the courage and transparency to adapt to changing circumstances, it must have basic, unchangeable principles as its solid foundation.
A government, such as that of the NPP, which is simply out to retain power, which has consigned the NDC’s “Vision 2020” to the dustbin without replacing it and which has tried to claim credit for programmes painstakingly designed by its predecessor, and in the process has bungled many of them, is not our answer for the future.
Perhaps the NDC should thank the NPP for narrowly winning the 2000 elections. Not only has this offered the people of Ghana the opportunity to experience how “positive” the NPP’s “positive change” has actually been, it has also given the NDC a certain amount of breathing space to make a critical assessment of its past performance, to clarify its principles of “social democracy” which emphasise the protection of the disadvantaged, and to reaffirm its commitment to carefully crafted programmes extending into our future.
To me and to the NDC team, “A Better Ghana” means more jobs – jobs which are not merely temporary vote-catching creations, but which are the product of a growing and sustainable economy.
“A Better Ghana” means using our rich resources responsibly and effectively to benefit all our people now and in the future. It means cutting down the bloated government and its army of elite political functionaries with over-generous remuneration, so that the nation’s resources can be used for the people’s benefit and not for the luxurious lifestyles of a privileged few.
In this Manifesto, you can learn of the path which the NDC intends to take to “A Better Ghana”.
As the election campaign goes on, we shall explain in more detail the various steps that will constitute this path.
But the first step on the path to “A Better Ghana” depends on you, the voter.
Give us your vote, and I and the NDC team will make that path a reality.
Vote Akatamanso, and together, under the umbrella of peace, security, progress and common purpose, we will tread the path to “A Better Ghana”.
JOHN EVANS ATTA-MILLS
MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
Outlined in this Manifesto are principles and policies that will underpin the work of an NDC Government when voted into power this year. The document addresses the economic, social and political needs of the masses and acknowledges the necessity for establishing conditions without which the aspirations of the people cannot be met.
However brilliant the ideas in this paper are, their value will be realized only on the attainment of political power. The challenge to us in this respect is to fight the NPP guile, to promote balance in media presentation of the issues and images of political parties and leaders, to present an acceptable image of ourselves, to jolt the rural folk out of the conservatism that could allow President Kufuor a second term, and to ensure effective organisation.
Our principal opponent in the 2004 elections is the NPP. It is quite clear they are determined to hold on to power at all costs. We must meet their tactics boot for boot. In terms of development, our record is more impressive than theirs and we must highlight it.
Their sneers about PNDC/NDC human rights abuses of the past must be matched by revealing the current and past human rights abuses of the Danquah-Busia tradition including the initiation of military intervention in politics, the killing and maiming of innocent civilians, particularly in the Nkrumah era led by the National Liberation Movement and other secessionist movements and their refusal to participate in the writing of the 1992 Constitution. We must show that in their demeaning attitude for the capabilities of the African they sought to frustrate the people’s aspiration for early liberation from colonial domination and worked to undermine the unity and peace of Ghana.
We must contrast their property-owning concept of democracy characterised by the scramble for illegal wealth by the few with our commitment to social justice and functional democracy through the popular participation of the masses in the decision-making process of state. We must contrast their commitment to the elegant lifestyle of the few with the impoverishment of the many through high taxes and high tariffs on social services.
It is said that organization decides everything. With a united party, with an efficient machinery and with the dedication of our foot soldiers we can convince the voters to return the NPP to the political wilderness from where they came and to where history had consigned them. They do not and cannot understand the psyche of the Ghanaian. Organization must involve the choice of credible parliamentary candidates, a convincing message carried from house to house and above all commitment to hard work, particularly in countering strategies intended to thwart the will of the people.
The prospects for an NDC victory this year are bright. Let us seize the opportunity.
Good Luck And God Bless
Long Live The NDC!
Long Live Ghana
DR. KWABENA ADJEI
MESSAGE FROM THE FOUNDER
Almost four years of so-called “Positive Change” have proved beyond all doubt that the consequence of choosing change simply for the sake of change can be painfully negative indeed.
It is ironic that the “thumbs down” gesture chosen by President Kufuor as the symbol of his victory in the 2000 elections is a universal symbol of negativity. It has its origins in ancient Rome where slaves, captives and Christians were forced to fight for their lives in the arena for the amusement of the crowd. When the Emperor signalled thumbs up, it meant, “Let them live”, and when he signalled thumbs down, it meant, “Let them die”. That’s Kufuor and his NPP for you.
For the majority of Ghanaians, the period since January 2001 has been a partial death. President Kufuor and his NPP promised heaven but have landed Ghanaians in the burning flames of hell. The cost of fuel, electricity, water, education, health, rent and other basic essentials have soared, bringing desperation to the poor and forcing even the once comfortable middle class to struggle to maintain a tolerable standard of living. The unemployed youth still swarm our urban streets together with abandoned and abused children. Honest and capable public servants have been dismissed from state institutions because of their actual or perceived “wrong” political orientation. A heavy atmosphere of suspicion, surveillance, harassment, intimidation, phone tapping and questioning hangs over the land, whilst justice is seen to be selective.
The number of government functionaries has increased and their very generous allowances, per diems and other perks of office impose an increased burden on an economy, which has become even more heavily indebted.
Where anything positive has happened, the NPP government has almost invariably depended upon plans, programmes and designs prepared by the NDC government, which preceded it. However, the frantic political sod-cutting ceremonies to mark work on major roads; the hasty and botched launching of the National Health Insurance Scheme; the politically selective implementation of the SHEP rural electrification; and other projects adopted from the NDC only demonstrate the NPP’s fear of the truth, lack of any original vision and utter dishonesty.
Now is the time to get our nation back on track.
This cruel period of decay under the NPP has given the nation and the NDC the opportunity to reflect on the past, to clarify and revitalise our spirit, and to prepare for the future. Under the leadership of our flagbearer, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, clear policies and plans have been prepared to tackle the nation’s problems and build “A better Ghana”.
“A Better Ghana” may seem a rather simple and obvious slogan. But the NDC means “a better Ghana” for all, not just for a privileged few and their relatives and close friends; a Ghana which protects the disadvantaged from the effects of adverse global economic trends; a Ghana which has the courage to protect local industries from unfair foreign competition; a Ghana where social justice prevails; “A better Ghana” that we have known before, in which a clear vision for sustainable national development will guide our progress.
A few words about our flagbearer. Professor Mills first came to my attention when he headed the Internal Revenue Service, as a brilliantly capable man of great integrity. As I came to know him better, I saw a good man, a man without pompousness and pretension, a man who cares deeply for this nation and our people. He is not seeking power. He is seeking the opportunity to serve.
If we really want “A Better Ghana”, let us all support “A Better man”. Let us listen to our conscience for the sake of mother Ghana.
JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
“A BETTER GHANA”
In the immediate post-independence era, Ghana embarked on a journey of socializing the economy and the entire social infrastructure to ensure equity in the access to social services and enhance economic advancement. These policies were reversed during the latter part of the sixties and partially restored in the seventies. However, the downturn of the economy in the mid-seventies to the early eighties induced a radical rethinking of the near total state control of the economy. This resulted in the launching of the economic recovery programme with the aim of liberalizing the economy and increasing the role of the private sector, thereby limiting the state to its main function as a facilitator and provider of the enabling environment for private initiative to flourish.
However, by the 1990s, a new school of thought was emerging, as the liberalised economic policies failed to provide the expected economic and social benefits to the people.
The NDC as a dynamic political organisation took cognisance of the various political, economic and social changes that had taken place over the years and mindful of its own antecedents produced a coherent political framework that would address the hopes and aspirations of the broad masses of Ghanaians, hence the Party’s adoption of “Social Democracy” as its philosophy.
The NDC’s brand of “Social Democracy” therefore “seeks to marry the efficiency of the market and private initiative with the compassion of state intervention to protect the disadvantaged and the marginalized and to ensure optimum production and distributive justice”.
It is this philosophy that will inform economic and social programmes of future NDC governments, and on which the current Manifesto is based.
The NDC is committed to uprooting injustice and alleviating poverty in our society. The NDC laid the foundations and structures that brought peace to the country and set Ghana on the path of democratic rule and stability. These commitments form the bedrock of the NDC’s philosophy as a “Social Democratic” party.
Since it went into opposition in 2001, the NDC has refocused its efforts to deepen its “umbrella” role, and to restructure its social contract with the people of Ghana in terms of the social, cultural, educational, political, religious and economic dimensions within the context of a multi-party and multi-ethnic environment. The NDC as a social democratic party will work towards the attainment of “A better Ghana” guided by the following principles:
• A lean and cost effective governmental machinery and a reduction in the complex of legal and regulatory processes that shackle and blunt entrepreneurial initiatives;
• A private sector-led growth buttressed by public-private sector partnerships to protect the interests of the working people, consumers and small enterprises;
• A sustainable rural agricultural policy that is driven by the immense expertise and productivity of our scientific research institutions and an integration of the wisdom of our farmers and the business sense of our entrepreneurs;
• Quality education, health care, child care and provision of other services for all persons through social partnerships with strategic stakeholders;
• A rational tax regime that emerges out of consultation, and is driven by mutual upliftment, mutuality of interest, recognition of our inherent interdependence, willingness on the part of all to make a little sacrifice for the common good, and maturity in pursuing the attainment of a higher purpose;
• A sharpened attack on poverty and assurance of a productive life for the vulnerable and the marginalized through a system of credible social safety nets;
• An economic development agenda that protects the integrity of our environment and takes advantage of the fast growing “green” markets in recognition of the immense benefits to the rural economy;
• Policies to promote national unity and stability;
• A commitment to our international and regional obligations; and
• The promotion of peaceful relations with our neighbours and the rest of the world.
In our major policy document entitled “A Social Democratic Agenda for Ghana” issued in 2002, the NDC took a historic decision to define the ideological basis of its existence as a political organisation. This was defined as “Social Democracy”.
In 2003, the Party was accepted as a member of the worldwide and renowned political alliance called the ‘Socialist International’ at a meeting held at Sao Paolo, Brazil, at which a delegation led by the Party’s flagbearer, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills, participated.
To quote from the Party’s crucial document, by Social Democracy, we mean
“a belief in the equality and egalitarian treatment of all persons with respect to their political, economic, social, cultural and religious relations in a multi-party, multi ethnic environment and a commitment to progressive politics and the protection of the under-privileged and the upliftment of the socially disadvantaged”.
The significance of this lies in our readiness to project plans and programmes that will address the numerous social problems that afflict Ghana. ‘Social Democracy’ means taking seriously the issues of social advancement, especially in education, health, sanitation, water, housing and poverty alleviation as crippling barriers to advancement for the vast majority of our people.
The NDC when in power from 1993, to 2000 sought to address national infrastructural development, which had suffered severe neglect for a very long time as a prerequisite for economic recovery. In doing so, the Party took a cue from the PNDC whose major achievement was the halting of the serious national economic and social decline and the initiation of the process of economic, social and political recovery.
The task of infrastructure development is an ongoing one. The blueprint for this, which was drawn up by the NDC, and which the NPP Government seems to be grudgingly, and therefore haphazardly following will, with adequate revision, continue to be the road map for the nation’s pressing physical infrastructure development.
Ghana has reached the crossroads at which it needs to respond to a number of critical issues raised by the following facts:
(i) Our historic underdevelopment;
(ii) The nature of the global economy which confines our nation to a raw-material producing corner and literally confiscates the fruits of our labour in a market place defined as free by the wealthy nations which ignore their own definitions;
(iii) A dwindling natural resource base;
(iv) A reluctant foreign investor mood which sees Africa as a major risk area for long-term investment except for the type that will exploit resources, make a quick kill, take the money and run;
(v) A world whose attention and resources have been shifted from a concentration on the war on AIDS, malaria and the problems of African economic development to the “war on terror”, relegating Africa’s problems and concerns to the background.
These current facts impose upon us a serious rethinking of our economic policies, priorities and programmes in order to accelerate the advancement of our people to a better standard of living.
It is obvious that the path we have been following for the past twenty two years, including the three and a half years of NPP rule, that is, halting the decline, consolidation and take off, has served its purpose.
The paradigm, “seek ye first the macro-economic kingdom and all other things shall be added unto thee”, has turned out to be a mirage. The external factors over which we have no control will continue to work against us. All political parties and analysts of the country’s political economy must accept that the fundamentals of the economy – a mono-crop, dependent economy – are very weak, because external factors continue to distort our macro-economic performance.
Added to this, the data base upon which most of our statistics are projected remain “soft” and unreliable. There are weak inter-sectoral linkages which often lead to unnecessary duplication of efforts and application of resources.
The NDC has been in government before, and so we know that the fundamentals still remain weak. The clarion call to all political parties therefore ought to be “change the fundamentals!” We of the NDC say, “We shall indeed change the fundamentals”.
Our 2004 Manifesto addresses these fundamentals. The NDC is conscious of its historic origins and very much aware of the current state of the nation. Ours is therefore a pragmatic programme rather that a resort to fanciful concepts like golden ages of business and the majesty of property that do not deliver welfare to the people.
Our “social democracy” imposes on us the responsibility to provide for our people the basic amenities of life at affordable costs and guarantee employment to those who are willing and able to work. We will give to the generations coming a sound foundation in community responsibility through strengthening and expanding each one’s contribution to the various units of governance and institutions that deliver social justice, fair play, and guarantee that each citizen obtains the benefit of his or her labour whether he or she is a farmer, street cleaner, a doctor, miner or an engineer.
This notion of social equity must extend into the various organs of state, especially those charged with doing justice to every person, and guarantee him or her security of life, limb and property whether it is a one-room house or a mansion on a hill.
This is what the NDC’s “Social Democracy” is about. This will be the cornerstone of our programme for this nation when we assume office in January 2005. It is on this rock of ideas and social commitment that we will build “a better Ghana” for our people who are today suffering under a government bereft of ideas, trapped in corruption, nepotism, inertia, incompetence, mendacity, mediocrity and selfish self-aggrandisement.
THE ECONOMIC BASES
It is the objective of the next NDC Government to move Ghana into a middle-income economy by the year 2020. In line with this objective, prudent economic measures will be taken to attain an accelerated economic growth.
THE NDC LEGACY
A principal objective of the NDC Government in office between 1993 - 2001 was to reverse the long period of economic decline, restore macro-economic stability and create conditions for economic growth, ensure price stability, reduce the budget deficit, and improve the balance of payments.
The economic legacy that the NDC bequeathed to the NPP Government at the time of leaving office in January 2001 was very positive, contrary to the picture of the country at the time painted by the NPP in the President’s ‘State of the Nation’ Address to Parliament in January 2004.
That legacy included the following:
• An improved macro-economic environment characterised by an upward turn in growth, savings and investment;
• An expanded and improved national infrastructure, especially in road construction, port rehabilitation, electricity generation and distribution especially in the rural areas, and a vastly improved radio and telecommunications network;
• The restoration of incentives for exports through the abolition of import licensing and a liberalization of the foreign exchange regime the establishment of the export retention scheme and the introduction of the export finance scheme;
• A solid health infrastructure with a system of Teaching, Regional and District Hospitals and Health Centres and a pilot Health Insurance Project at the point of formalisation into a national scheme;
• A more reliable water delivery and sanitation system that had appropriately distinguished between the water needs of urban and rural dwellers and developed systems to reflect those needs;
• The introduction of the GETFund to support the financing of education and education-related expenditure;
• An agricultural policy and programme that had resulted in the acclamation of Ghana’s Food Production Index of 148% as “the third largest achievement in the record after Jordan (157%) and China (156%) by the World Bank’s ‘1999-2000 Development Report’;
• The introduction of a new Minerals and Mining Law with improved incentives;
• A lowering and harmonization of tariffs and special taxes and rationalisation of the public sector through divestiture and the introduction and monitoring of performance benchmarks;
• The empowerment of local communities through the introduction of a decentralised local government system and the District Assemblies’ Common Fund.
The major challenges facing the NDC as it readies itself to take over the management of the economy once again are the following:
• Low rate of economic growth;
• Excessive taxation and high cost of living;
• Low agricultural productivity and consequent inability to compete and thus feed ourselves and our industries;
• Low levels of industrial and manufacturing processes;
• High levels of unemployment and under-employment;
• Increasing incidence of poverty and limited access to social services;
• Low application of technology
• Low levels and disparities in wages;
• High cost of doing business;
• The unfair international economic order
• Over-reliance on donors and the Bretton-Woods institutions.
The continued dramatic changes in the terms of world trade highlight the vulnerability of the national economy to changes in supply and demand for primary commodities. As one writer vividly put it, “the economy of Ghana has been auto-piloting since about 1987. When it gets some tailwinds, that is, high cocoa, gold and timber prices and low crude oil prices, it moves faster. When it meets turbulence, that is low cocoa, gold and timber prices and high crude oil prices, it huffs and puffs”.
THE ECONOMIC OBJECTIVES
The NDC’s medium-term objectives are the eradication of poverty and the elimination of underdevelopment. These would require the establishment and maintenance of a stable macro-economic environment for accelerated and employment-generating growth.
The fight against poverty and social injustice will accordingly be an overriding goal of the NDC’s policies. To achieve this goal, the Party-in-Government will seek to mainstream internationally agreed goals and targets into its economic policies and programmes, including the following:
• Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger;
• Achievement of universal basic education;
• Promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women;
• Reduction of child mortality
• Improvement of maternal health;
• Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
• Ensuring environmental sustainability, incorporating the target of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.
We shall seek to attain these objectives through the following measures:
• An improved investment climate. Specifically, this will entail a further strengthening of the macro-economic environment through improved revenue collection and prudent expenditure management, increased investment in infrastructure including energy, with the active participation of the private sector and vigorous measures to reduce the cost of doing business, so as to attract new private sector investments;
• Increased investment in human development, especially formal and non-formal education and including nutrition, health, especially reproductive health of women, education, water and sanitation, to help build a productive labour force that is competitive by world standards;
• Concrete measures to help raise agricultural productivity especially of small-scale farmers so as to free them from subsistence farming and near chronic hunger;
• A renewed programme of industrial development aimed at strengthening private sector activities in the non-traditional sector, with special emphasis on micro, small and medium-scale enterprises;
• The empowerment of poor people, particularly women and girls, to ensure that they have adequate voice in decisions that affect their lives;
• Increased public and private sector investment in science and technology, including ICT, to drive growth in production and productivity;
• The assignment of an appropriate and effective role for the state in the national economy.
Unfortunately, the NPP Government has woefully failed to design a system that can meet these objectives. Its management of the economy has been poor and lacks direction. The following are a few examples:
• In spite of the adoption of the HIPC Initiative which is supposed to reduce the national debt, the NPP has supervised the rise of the national debt from ¢41 trillion to ¢76 trillion, an increase of 85% in just three years;
• The NPP Government is unsure what its economic priorities are. Fiscal performance is weak, budget deficits are getting larger even as arrears increase due to the refusal to pay contractors and suppliers on time;
• The ever-increasing cost of living.
A serious long-term strategy appears to have been supplanted by attention to short-term issues with insufficient attention to the long-term effects of policies and sustaining dialogue with the private sector.
On the contrary, the NDC’s Economic Programme will remain anchored in the principle of the productivity of labour in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy. This is based on the confidence that the Party has in the Ghanaian worker, farmer, fisherman and artisan who have for a long time carried the burden of producing food, constructing houses, roads, schools and other necessities of life and generating the major part of the wealth of this nation.
The NDC sees the private sector as the driving force and moving spirit behind the economy and shall continue to give it active encouragement. However, an NDC Government will project the state’s primary role as the protector of the national interest and work to ensure that the state discharges its responsibilities to the people and the communities.
An NDC Government will provide a blueprint for industrialisation, specifically targeting the basic needs of our communities required for the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health and education.
This policy will progressively, within the scope of WTO regulations relating to developing economies, discourage the importation of certain items, providing a degree of protection for domestic industries that can competitively enter these areas. An NDC Government will address the issue of liberalisation as it affects certain selected sectors that will be targeted for domestic advancement.
On the issue of low productivity of labour, the NDC recognises the need to invest more in labour force training and skills improvement, improvement in the conditions of service of workers, the need to inculcate in the population serious work ethics, and the need for a retooling and revamping of production equipment and technologies.
We have also identified poor financial intermediation as an important constraint within the economy. We will address this issue through a combination of measures:
• Encourage the mobilisation of long term funds by insurance companies, pension funds and others;
• Develop the market for bonds and other securities;
• Improve the stock exchange’s role in sourcing investment funds;
• Ensure consistency in Government policy towards investors;
• Implement consistent monetary and fiscal policies;
• Encourage rural banks to lend to small scale establishments that are traditionally starved of credit;
• Fight against corruption and reduce official bureaucracy.
On the disparity between incomes and prices, the following mix of measures will be considered:
• Stabilisation of prices of goods and services so as to facilitate business planning and operations;
• Improvement in productivity levels in public and private sectors;
• Increase in revenue mobilisation;
• Consolidation of all allowances into salary;
• Payment of such high price for corruption as to make it unattractive;
• Movement of the agrarian economy base to an industrial and technological base whilst safeguarding the interests of the peasant farmer.
The Government of the NDC will ensure that the IMF and the World Bank do not dictate economic policy or the priorities for this nation. The role of these Bretton-Woods institutions in the global economic arena can obviously not be wished away, nut it cannot be that the staff of these organisations know our national situation better than we do. It cannot even be that the expertise in economics within these institutions is unavailable to us, especially as we can see how many of our citizens are well placed in these very institutions as a result of the professional training they acquired in universities right here in Ghana.
The lessons we in the NDC have learnt from reflecting on our period in government and observing the NPP in Government include the recognition that as a nation we have better negotiating leverage with the IMF and the World Bank when we do our homework thoroughly in advance of seeking their support by setting out our own policy framework clearly and ensuring a national resolve in implementation of announced policies.
It is when we fail to do what we ourselves know is good for us that we become victims of external conditionality and prescription. Indeed some serious mistakes have been made by yielding to pressure from the IMF and the World Bank during periods when short-term considerations outweighed the resolve to fashion out and pursue our own priorities.
It does not require the IMF or the World Bank to make Ghanaians aware that a Government should not live beyond its means, that inflation is bad for an economy, or that unless we develop more of a savings habit as against consumption, we are not going to mobilise much needed local resources for our development.
But it does take Ghanaians to tell the IMF and the World Bank that we cannot have a poverty reduction strategy for Ghana that is essentially written in Washington by staff who pay short visits to the country.
It does take Ghanaians to show the staff of the IMF and the World Bank how Ghana proposes to ensure a stable economic outlook while providing a safety net for the poor and the vulnerable.
It does take Ghanaians to teach the IMF and the World Bank that medicine is good when taken in the right doses and that you do not kill the patient if you really want to administer a cure for their ailment.
It does also take Ghanaians to demonstrate clearly to these external institutions how we intend to reform non-performing institutions in our economy even as we insist that the answer to their non-performance is not handing them over to foreigners.
An NDC Government will take the lessons learnt from our past experience to heart in our dealings with the Bretton-Woods institutions and indeed all “donors”. It will be important to us that most of our economic decision-makers are not trapped merely in the endless rounds of negotiations with the IMF and the World Bank but have constant exposure to the real economy. Appropriate division of labour among the members of an NDC Government will also enable economic decisions to be informed by national realities and national interest and not economic dogma.
Against this background, we will conduct our relations with the Bretton-Woods Institutions and other International Financial Institutions guided by the following principles:
• Greater reliance on domestic resource mobilisation;
• Strengthening of national ownership of development policy as regards the content, sequencing and implementation of policies;
• Transparency and accountability in the use of donor resources to boost donor confidence and translate into improved domestic economic performance;
• Insistence on harmonisation and coherence, especially in the inter-connection of aid, trade and investment, and transparency of donor policies and procedures as well as their consistency with national policies;
• Active encouragement of private investment flows, including flows from countries of the South;
• Careful review of the implications of the country’s HIPC status, with particular regard to post-HIPC investment and debt sustainability issues.
Despite the much-touted “benefits” of going HIPC, it is surprising that the resources that become available through HIPC reliefs have not been channelled into national priorities.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), for instance, is being funded by appropriating workers’ social security contributions on the one hand and, more recently, through an increase in VAT which the NPP Government wishes not to call VAT; both measures that have been rammed through despite their questionable legality. No contribution has been made from HIPC reliefs, despite the proclamations of commitment to the NHIS. The District Assemblies’ Common Fund, involving not only budgetary but also constitutional priorities, the GETFund and other important areas of national priority are starved of resources while the “HIPC reliefs” are used as a cynical source of political patronage and propaganda throughout the country, with some HIPC public buildings even being painted in party colours.
Given our imposed HIPC status, the new NDC administration will provide our nation with a new sense of purpose, sweeping away four years of the NPP’s Hardships, Incompetence, Parochialism and Corruption (HIPC). Add to this mal-administration, arrogance and brazen lying to the public. The new NDC administration will restore to Ghanaians confidence in Government by reinstating the cardinal principle of probity and accountability. The Party will implement more prudent economic policies that will enable Ghana come out of the HIPC status within the shortest possible time.
AN UNBEARABLE COST OF LIVING
The cost of living in Ghana today is simply unbearable. The NDC Government will work to reduce the cost of living. The complaints of the people about their inability to make ends meet is clearly justified when their earning power is juxtaposed against the prices of goods and services on the market. The NDC Government will work to reduce the cost of living.
The following figures of price indices tell their own story.
The rate for 100 kilowatts of electricity per month has increased from ¢10,000 in December 2000 to ¢58,500, an increase of 485% in just over 3 years. In suburban Accra, the price of a bucket of water has increased from ¢300 to ¢1,000, while a 15 kilogram cylinder of LPG gas has risen from ¢15,000 in December 2000 to ¢55,000, an over 350% increase. The price of a gallon of petrol has increased from ¢6,500 in 2000 to ¢20,000 in 2004. Within the same period, the price of a beer bottle of kerosene has increased from ¢1,000 to ¢4,000. A bag of charcoal now costs ¢50,000 against ¢17,000 in December 2000.
A one-room rental unit in Accra has increased from ¢30,000 per month in December 2000 to a current figure of ¢100,000 an over 200% increase, obviously owing to the increases in the prices of building materials. A 50 kilogram bag of cement has risen from ¢20,000 in December 2000 to ¢52,000, an increase of over 150%, and the price of a gallon of emulsion paint has risen from ¢45,000 in December 2000 to the current price of ¢95,000, more than double the price.
School fees at primary and JSS levels have increased by over 140%. A first year SSS student paid ¢2 million in September 2003, up from ¢520,000 in December 2000. Fees paid by Law School students have increased from ¢2 million to ¢12 million, and for medical students to ¢40 million. Academic user fees paid by University students have increased from ¢700,000 in September 2000 to ¢1.8 million.
A stick of candle now sells for ¢1,000 compared to ¢250 in December 2000, a 300% increase.
The prices of common medicines such as paracematol, chloroquine and eye-drops have gone up by over 100%.
In the food and beverages sub-sector, a tuber of yam is selling for ¢10,000, up from ¢2,000 in December 2000. A small ball of Ga kenkey has doubled in price from ¢500 to ¢1,000, while the price of 175 grams of milk has increased from ¢1,200 to ¢4,000. The price of an average-sized broiler chicken has increased from ¢20,000 in December 2000 to a current price of ¢50,000, while a crate of eggs now costs ¢30,000, up from December 2000’s ¢12,500.
The price of bread is gradually going beyond the means of the average Ghanaian and bread is becoming food for the rich and famous and people with high political connections because the price of a bag of flour has moved from ¢80,000 in December 2000 to the current ¢240,000, an increase of 200%.
In the services sector, the cost of clearing a 20 feet container at the Tema Harbour has risen from ¢4 million in 2000 to ¢80 million in 2004.
Simply put, the cost of living is so high that the majority of Ghanaians cannot afford one meal a day, especially when viewed against the background of the very inadequate wage increases in 2003 and 2004.
These are the hardships and the harsh realities that the NDC’s economic policies 2005-2009, will seek to address.
Among other things, we will work with labour to strive to pay a wage that can take care of the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter and leave a little extra to cover minimum water, education, health, transportation and electricity costs.
A step in this direction will be to freeze taxes on personal incomes below a middle class threshhold for the next four years in order to stabilise the personal incomes of the people.
Prudent fiscal and monetary policy measures such as the flexible exchange rate, liberalisation of trade and investment; export diversification; a positive interest rate regime and the introduction of the VAT enabled the NDC Government to maintain macro-economic stability between 1993 and 1998.
Unfortunately, this stability was shattered from mid-1999 as a result of very adverse international economic situation in which the world market price of cocoa suddenly dropped by 50% from US$1,600 per tonne in 1998 to US$800 per tonne in June 1999. Gold price declined from about US$450 an ounce in 1998 to under US$290 an ounce in 1999. Crude oil prices rose from US$11 per barrel in 1998 to US$35 per barrel in 1999, an increase of over 300%.
The result was a sharp depreciation in the exchange rate of the cedi, increased domestic inflation, a considerable reduction in foreign reserves and an increase in the domestic and external debt.
Despite all its efforts, the NPP Government has not recorded any appreciable success story in the management of the macro-economy. Since January 2001, the cedi has depreciated by about 50% to the dollar, 98% to the euro, and 83% to the pound sterling.
Domestic savings and investment, private business profit, the purchasing power of households and real incomes have all been seriously eroded largely on account of excessive taxation, excessive increases in utility tariffs, and unprecedented increases in fuel prices arising from an excessive increase in petroleum taxes and levies.
Strangely, this has occurred at a time when the international economic situation has been most favourable to the country. The world crude oil price dropped from US$35 per barrel in January 2001 to US$18 per barrel in 2003. It remained within the US$18-US$35 bracket until May 2004 when it shot up to US$40 for a short period. The price of cocoa has stayed above US$1,600 per metric tonne, and the price of gold has consistently stayed above US$400 per ounce. The prices of other primary export commodities that we produce have shot up and stayed up. Development assistance has been substantial and debt servicing has been low on account of our adoption of the HIPC Initiative.
Yet this has been the time that the NPP Government has, by its own calculation, added almost ¢35 trillion debt to the ¢41 trillion debt that it claims the NDC Government left behind in 2001.
There could be no better example of the mismanagement of the economy under the NPP Government and the mess that they will be leaving behind.
But the difficulties the nation has faced point to another thing – the fundamentals of the economy are still weak, despite all efforts at restructuring and reform by the PNDC/NDC administrations. The dependence on the cocoa mono-crop is debilitating and the export of primary commodities holds us hostage to international economic forces. External factors over which we have no control eventually dictate the performance of the macro-economy. If the fundamentals of the economy do not change, the Ghanaian economy will not change.
So what will the new NDC Governemnt do?
THE ECONOMIC FUNDAMENTALS
An NDC Government will review the structure of the national economy and move it from dependency on foreign donor charity to self-help, domestic initiative and indigenous entrepreneurship. In particular, the following specific policies will be adopted:
(i) An accelerated domestic industrialisation policy, anchored mainly on improved agricultural productivity that produces enough for domestic consumption and for industry;
(ii) Measures to build our industrial capacity and ensure the international competitiveness of local industries, provide a level playing field for domestic investors and protect the national economy against the dumping of over-subsidised as well as shoddy, unwholesome and environmentally harmful goods;
(iii) Measures to strengthen the productive and marketing capacities of the domestic private sector to actually operate as the engine of economic growth
(iv) A review of the terms of development support to include state-supported education, medical care, housing, sanitation and employment and state support for economic sectors and activities that are strategic to our developmental needs.
Our monetary policy shall be designed to ensure that the NEPAD goals are kept and the Convergence Criteria for the ECOWAS Second Monetary Zone and the ultimate Single Monetary Zone are met and sustained.
These include the attainment of a single digit rate of inflation, gross foreign reserves to cover six months of imports, a limit to the Central Bank’s financing of budget deficit to no more than 10% of the previous year’s tax revenue and a limit of 4% to the budget/GDP ratio.
While encouraging the inflow of capital from foreign sources to help speed our development, we shall introduce measures to guard against the dangers of speculative capital and capital flight.
We shall encourage the development of the market for bonds and other long-term securities, deepen the stock market, mobilise savings for investment, and restructure the financial institutions to play an effective role in making credit more available to the productive sector.
Our taxation policy will seek to reduce the impact of tax on low-income groups and families and provide reliefs and concessions to firms engaged in agro-based and agro-processing industries as well as industries with high employment generating capacity.
We shall broaden the tax base and the tax net as revenue generation measures.
We shall reduce import duties on raw materials vital for domestic manufacturing and on key industrial equipment.
We shall abolish the National Reconstruction Levy. The Withholding Tax, a form of upfront payment of tax, will also be abolished for industry in order to free resources for investment in that sector.
Similarly, export levies on non-traditional exports will be abolished while imposing restrictive import duties on foreign luxury and frivolous goods.
We will adopt policies that will result in reasonable utility tariffs to cater at least for the average Ghanaian household’s welfare and economic productivity.
On expenditure, the next NDC Government will establish a reasonably modest structure of administration and rationalise public expenditure on the privileges and facilities available to state officials, which have ballooned in the last three and a half years.
We shall curtail the number of foreign travels and cut the size of delegations when such travels have to be undertaken, making use of our missions abroad as much as possible for foreign conferences and meetings.
The BPEMS (Budget and Public Expenditure Monitoring System) shall be strengthened to ensure that the expenditures of Ministries, Departments and Agencies are kept within approved limits and that avenues for corruption are reduced to the barest minimum.
Procurement will be made more open and transparent to ensure value for money.
An NDC Government will spend only what it generates, giving priority to investment in education, health and infrastructure.
Ghana has a wealth of natural resources, yet poverty is rife throughout our country. Our gold, our diamonds, our manganese, our bauxite, our cocoa, our timber and many others have over the centuries been a source of wealth mainly to others outside our shores. A few of our own citizens, who have not seen the wealth of the nation as an opportunity, first and foremost, to generate wealth for the Ghanaian people as a whole, have also benefited immensely from the expatriation of our wealth.
Historically, indeed even the wealth of our human resources became a source of wealth abroad – building a “New World” for some through the enslavement of our people. The poverty that most of our citizenry live in is unacceptable. It is time to concentrate our efforts on making the wealth of our human and other natural resources lead to our development, not our underdevelopment.
The knowledge of the historical-structural weaknesses of our economy in creating wealth for Ghanaians underlies the outlook of the NDC as we commit ourselves as the next Government to tackling vigorously the paradox of our poverty in the midst of a vast wealth of resources.
If the people of Ghana as a whole can acknowledge the wealth that is at our feet, we will be more creative and energetic in the quest for our own home-grown path of development instead of leaving ourselves at the mercy of external “donors”; we will all be more committed to making the effort required to develop this wealth instead of turning our back on our country in search of greener pastures elsewhere.
The NPP Government’s so-called vision of raising the average income per capita from US$340 to US$1,000 by 2010 only illustrates its lack of understanding of the issues at stake and its consequent resort to empty pronouncements as a substitute for clear analysis and taking concrete measures to achieve national objectives. The NPP Government’s target presupposes an illusory and unattainable growth of about 20% per annum between 2005 and 2010, yet their record shows an average of below 5% growth rate per annum since 2001.
We remain convinced that our more modest vision of attaining middle income status by year 2020 which we set for ourselves in our ‘Vision 2020’ document in 1996 is more realistic and capable of achievement.
Our poverty reduction strategy will aim at increasing the availability of social facilities, education, jobs and income generating ventures for the poor. Complementary programmes will cover agriculture and food security, small and medium scale businesses, rural regeneration and urban upgrading, and social safety nets.
Our goal remains to reduce poverty, increase employment opportunities and average incomes and reduce inequities in order to improve the general welfare and the material well being of all Ghanaians, which will lead to a long-term vision of attaining the status and standard of living of a middle-income country by year 2020.
INVESTMENT FOR GROWTH
As we have watched the NPP Government fumbling so much in its dealings with external financing requirements and resorting to dubious sources of finance such as the notorious “IFC” and “CNTCI” loans, as we have observed the negative signals that the NPP has sent to the international investment community through its poor and amateurish handling of negotiations with VALCO, Malaysia Telecom, Western Wireless Corporation, Anglogold and Randgold, Societe Generale (in relation to GNPC), Brown and Roots Limited on the Bui Dam Project, the commercial group of sponsors led by Chevron on the West African Gas Pipeline and several others, we are reinforced in our conviction that in handling such issues particularly, we need to tap all available local knowledge and expertise irrespective of political affiliation in order to get the best results for Ghana.
It is also for this reason that a Government of the NDC will not start from a premise that every decision taken by the NPP Government is wrong and must be reversed. Knowing that in respect of economic decision-making, the benefits of decisions inevitably take time to materialise, it is counter-productive to subject this nation’s fortunes to the cycles of electioneering and to prevent expected benefits of such decisions from not to materialising simply because a new Government has been elected.
An NDC Government will therefore not make the same mistake the NPP has repeatedly committed by rushing to reverse decisions of predecessor Government especially those that have been sealed in binding international agreements.
The next NDC Government will adopt measures that will attract foreign and domestic investment as a means of accelerating the acquisition of modern production technology, expanding and diversifying the production base of the economy, and thereby creating an internationally competitive economy.
A pre-requisite for the attainment of this objective is a more stable, predictable, transparent and independent legal regime that assures private sector investors security to plan and grow.
For strategic sectors such as water, electricity, oil refining, public transport and others, new investments will be encouraged and welcomed, but the State will continue to be involved in the existing state-owned enterprises in those sectors.
The NDC Government of 1993-2001 conceived and implemented the Gateway Project, the Free Zones Project, the Free Ports Programme and the Liberalised Skies Programme as investor-friendly strategies to attract foreign investment, encourage domestic industrialisation and manufacturing and to facilitate the growth of processed exports. It is very unfortunate that the NPP Government has been led by partisan politics, cronyism and nepotism to make a mess of these Projects and Programmes. The next NDC Government will bring these Projects and Programmes back on course to ensure that they play the roles envisaged for them in the country’s investment drive.
Our objective remains as before – to promote Ghana as the desired investment destination in the sub-region for both foreign and domestic investment.
TRADE IN AN ERA OF GLOBALISATION
The NDC Government, conscious of the enormous challenges that globalisation has brought to bear on the trade efforts of developing countries in general and Ghana in particular, and also conscious of the immense opportunities that are simultaneously provided, shall implement a new and aggressive trade policy to assist our entrepreneurs and manufacturers to compete efficiently and effectively in the global market place.
The clear message from the breakdown of the Cancun trade negotiations was that developing countries must rethink the usefulness of old trade policies and patterns, seek new alliances and re-orientate both their domestic and external trade practices in consonance with the changing political economy of trade.
Consequently, whilst remaining faithful to our obligations under existing bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements, we shall pursue policies that are consistent with the broader goal of making Ghana a productive economy rather than a consumer, free-for-all economy and set the country on a path of sustained growth.
In pursuit of the above, the NDC shall implement the following policy measures among others:
(i) Strengthen the partnership between our exporters and the scientific community to develop new niche products targeted at the ECOWAS sub-region in particular and the global market in general;
(ii) Re-invigorate the Gateway Programme to integrate trade, science and technology leadership in the sub-region;
(iii) Provide funding to our exporters in support of strategic alliances with others in the sub-region to jointly pursue opportunities in advanced countries’ markets as a way of leveraging;
(iv) Pursue bilateral trade initiatives within the context of South-South cooperation similar to the Fast-Track strategy with Nigeria initiated by the last NDC administration;
(v) Expand markets for our small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating linkages between SMEs and also between SMEs and large firms;
(vi) Pursue a vigorous programme of export diversification, value addition and cost competitiveness;
(vii) Develop a robust wholesale trade to eliminate the hiatus that currently exists between retail trade and manufacturing and production through a package of incentive schemes;
(viii) Strengthen the various private sector Trade Associations so as to engender greater policy dialogue between the private sector and the Government;
(ix) Work to implement the various ECOWAS Protocols designed to facilitate sub-regional trade;
(x) Review tariff measures that have the effect of distorting trade and thus make Ghana a cost competitive and efficient trade and investment destination.
We shall target China, India, and other Far Eastern countries as markets for our cocoa and gold exports and enter into strategic collaboration with them in industrial capacity and software and technology development.
Ghanaian traders have clearly been ahead of Government in recognising the achievements of South East Asian economies such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and sourcing goods from those areas as well as Dubai in preference to our traditional developed country markets.
Intensifying such a diversified approach to our trading relations will give Ghana the benefit of competitive pricing and a variety of financing as well as quality options instead of the intensive dependence on the UK and Europe for imports.
The NDC Government will also advance its objective of beginning to balance trade with Nigeria through developing exports to Nigeria. The potential for salt exports particularly will be pursued not only for domestic consumption but also for the petrochemical industry in Nigeria.
While recognising the continuing importance of the promotion of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the development of the manufacturing sector, special attention would be paid to assisting Ghanaian owned companies in the broad range of manufacturing activities, specifically in the clusters that have been identified to be of strategic importance to the country.
We shall assess the implementation of some of our earlier trade and export enhancing initiatives such as the Export Processing Zones and the Export Production Villages to further enhance their capacity to help realise our growth and development goals.
The NDC is committed to the strategy of developing countries speaking with one voice within the WTO, ACP and other multi-lateral trade organisations and fora towards the attainment of a true and genuine global free trade, more equitable multi-lateral trade arrangements and terms of trade.
On the domestic front, we shall review the various so-called Presidential Special Initiatives of the NPP Government and restore them to their appropriate sectors. What the NPP has done is to “hi-jack” and slickly repackage existing NDC national programmes, give them a partisan colouration, and re-christen them Presidential Special Initiatives (PSIs).
For example, the PSI on Oil Palm is a re-presentation of the nuclear/outgrower schemes of the GOPC (Ghana Oil Palm Development Company), TOPP (Twifo Oil Palm Plantation), and the BOPP (Benso Oil Palm Plantation); the PSI on Salt simply reflects the efforts made by the NDC Government to stimulate salt production for export from projects like the Ada Songor Project; the PSI on Garments is an adaptation of the Export Processing Zone; the PSI on Distance Learning is a World Bank/NDC Government collaborative project; and the PSI on Cassava and Starch is a modification of the NDC/World Bank collaborative “Roots and Tubers Improvement Project”.
We shall provide assistance to farms and plantations that produce raw material inputs for agro-processing, incentivate the banks to provide concessionary long-term credit to agro-processing and export sectors, and provide technical assistance and support to all such companies.
We shall establish a Fair Trade Review Division within the Ministry of Trade and Industry to monitor the nature, quality and trend of imported goods, advise on reciprocal measures in relation to unfair trade practices, take measures to prevent dumping and protect local industry and businesses.
INDUSTRIALISATION IS THE KEY
Our industrial policy will seek to implement measures that will be science and technology driven to enhance the growth, momentum and global competitiveness of the industrial sector in general, and the manufacturing sector in particular.
Specific measures to be implemented will include the following:
(i) The establishment of a National Research and Development Fund to be accessed by persons and organisations proposing the application of feasible innovative technologies and creative ideas;
(ii) The granting of tax concessions to companies that successfully apply research output to their production processes;
(iii) The establishment of Science and Technology Parks as centres of scientific and technology excellence that will serve as the focal points around which will develop indigenous technology and scientific capability and application to industrial development;
(iv) Providing funds to firms to export surplus production;
(v) Promoting the global competitiveness of Ghanaian manufacturers through appropriate interventions;
(vi) Strengthening economic linkages, both inter and intra-sectoral, through further development and expansion of intermediate and supporting industries;
(vii) Expanding the capacity of the Ghana Standards Board and the Food and Drugs Board to ensure the strict application of standards especially in the manufacturing and agro-industrial sub-sectors;
(viii) Developing and strengthening an indigenous machine tool and equipment industry as a crucial component in the overall development process;
(ix) Intensifying the drive towards attaining the status of a “knowledge society” through intensive generation and application of information technology
(x) Strictly enforcing copyright and patent laws to protect original works and inventions;
(xi) Holding periodic Trade Fairs to exhibit indigenously developed industrial and technological equipment, aids and accessories that are appropriate to our national development requirements rather than imported luxuries;
(xii) Developing the salt industry for export and as a basis for an integrated petrochemical industry through technology improvement methods.
In implementing these policy measures, we shall take urgent steps to re-orient and review the key institutions that the NDC created as interventionist mechanisms to drive industrial and trade development such as the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), the Export Finance Company, the Exim Guaranty Company and the Ghana Investment Promotion and Gateway Programmes.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
The NDC’s agricultural policy and programme 1994-2000 resulted in the acclamation of Ghana’s Food Production Index of 148% for 1995-1997 as “the third highest achievement in the record after Jordan (157%) and China (156%) in the World Bank’s “1999-2000 Development Report”.
To repeat this performance, agriculture will receive top priority in the new NDC government. We will make agriculture an attractive and lucrative business rather than a way of life. We will particularly target the youth and attract them into profitable agro-businesses. Our main objective will be to achieve food security for every individual in our society. We will ensure all round food availability at affordable prices to all Ghanaians to eliminate chronic and seasonal food insecurity from Ghana.
Our investment plans for agriculture will generate employment in the sector and raise incomes of farmers in particular and other operators in the agricultural commodity systems in order to improve the standard of living of the people. These will cover all sub-sectors of agriculture, namely, food crops, industrial crops, export crops, livestock, fisheries, and irrigation. We will pay particular attention to the processes that link the farmer at the farm gate to the consumer at the retail end by ensuring the provision of support services to farmers.
The NDC believes in the generally accepted principle that “a nation must grow what it eats and eat what it grows”. Thus food self-sufficiency in our major staple foods will be our objective in the food crop sub-sector. Ghana has sufficient land resources of the right quality to enable us to be self-sufficient in the cereals that we are able to grow, namely, maize, rice, sorghum and millet; and in the root crops that we grow, that is, yam, cassava and cocoyam. In addition, our capacity to produce plantain to self-sufficiency level has never been in doubt.
Ghana’s food production has been in the hands of our dependable small-scale farmers from time immemorial. The NDC government will take measures to ensure that our small-scale farmers are as efficient as their counterparts elsewhere in the world, particularly the smallholders in Asia. We shall facilitate their production by providing incentives such as credit, mechanization, improved technology and a ready market for their produce. We shall ensure at all times adequate prices and assured market outlets for the major staple food crops. The NDC government will also encourage the commercialization of agriculture through private large-scale farm enterprises.
The NDC believes that sustained industrialization of Ghana can only be achieved on the back of agriculture. Our efforts will be geared towards the production of agricultural raw materials in sufficient quantities to feed existing local firms and new ones yet to be established. In particular we will support the development of specified industrial crops such as cotton, cashew, rubber, oil palm, soybeans, vegetables and fruits.
Under the NDC government, cotton production was promoted to the extent that it became an important industrial crop both for feeding the local textile industry and for export. Over the last four years under the NPP government the cotton industry has collapsed. Cotton production has plummeted with adverse effects on the incomes and livelihoods of thousands of families in the North. The NDC will revamp the cotton industry to ensure that it provides the needed raw materials for the domestic textile industry.
The NDC has always believed in value addition to raw agricultural products. It was the NDC government that developed Ghana’s capacity to produce surpluses of cassava for the export market, particularly in the form of cassava chips. We will ensure a more cost effective value addition into raw cassava not only by way of processing into cassava chips but also into other end products like gari, starch and tapioca for export. We shall also encourage the processing of by-products from cassava into animal feed to support the domestic livestock industry. We will ensure that cassava production by small-scale farmers is profitable at all times in order to sustain their supply of the raw material to processing plants.
The NDC will also promote the processing of cocoa, fruits such as pineapple, mangoes and citrus, and vegetables particularly tomatoes, for exports. Our policy will encourage the processing of grain surpluses into feed for livestock.
Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports
The NDC believes that as a developing country, we need to diversify our production for export rather than continuing to rely on only one crop with its attendant cyclical problems. We will therefore encourage the production, processing and export of crops such as sheanuts, dawadawa, cassava, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, rubber, oil palm, vegetables, ornamental plants and cut flowers. We will also encourage and offer opportunities to our fishmongers to process fish for the export market. Of these, sheanuts and dawadawa are so important that they will be given special mention.
Sheanut – An Export Potential
The development of sheanut into a major traditional export crop will be a goal of the NDC government. In this respect, the new NDC government will de-link sheanut from COCOBOD and establishing a separate institution to oversee all aspects of the development of the commodity.
Dawadawa – An Important Economic Tree
The dawadawa tree is such an important economic tree with numerous commercial and medicinal benefits. The NDC government will task the proposed Sheanut Institution to incorporate the dawadawa tree in its development programmes. The NDC government will pursue a vigorous agro-forestry programme in the savannah areas in which these economic trees will feature prominently.
The NDC is aware of the need to reduce the impact of the vicissitudes as well as the vagaries of the weather on our agricultural production. It is particularly crucial in the harsh environmental conditions of the Accra plains, the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions where rainfall is low and restricted to a few months in a year. Our government will take measures to ensure the efficient utilization of existing large-scale irrigation facilities. Our main task is to continue the programme we started to provide irrigation dams for the numerous communities in the harsh environmental areas in order to facilitate agricultural production and water for livestock in the long dry season.
In addition, areas that have the potential for producing vegetables will be provided with small-scale irrigation facilities. The NDC government will also introduce tube-well irrigation in areas where the water table is high enough to support a cost effective and profitable scheme.
The domestic poultry industry has virtually collapsed in the face of stiff import competition that our local poultry farmers cannot match. To alleviate the situation, and mindful of the NPP Government’s deceptive approach in this regard, we will impose tariffs consistent with international treaties and conventions on poultry and in conformity with national health and other standards to mitigate the effect of high external subsidies on poultry.
The NDC will pursue policies and programmes that will make Ghana self-sufficient in poultry production within four years. It is a matter of national pride, and also of citizens’ health, to consume our own freshly produced poultry products rather than relying heavily on frozen products whose wholesomeness cannot be guaranteed
We shall initiate and expand the large-scale breeding of guinea fowl, particularly in the North.
We will ensure that the Livestock Development Levy imposed on imported livestock some time ago to assist local livestock producers is put to its proper use, including its use to support inputs for the livestock industry.
We will arrange extension services for the breeders of the numerous goats, sheep, cattle and poultry found in almost every Ghanaian village and encourage their domestic consumption in order to improve protein intake among our rural dwellers.
We shall also expand grass-cutter and snail rearing on a more organised basis.
We are confident that by these and other measures we will double the contribution of livestock to the agricultural GDP, which presently stands at only 7%.
Crop/Livestock Integration for Sustainable Development
The NDC will initiate policies and programmes that encourage agricultural practices that will conserve and sustain our land resources for posterity. We will encourage farmers to keep livestock and use crop residues to feed them while manure is gathered to fertilize the soil for crop production. Integrating crop/livestock production will enable our farmers to produce organic foods for domestic consumption and for export and also reduce our dependence on fertilizer imports.
Fish is a major source of protein for a large number of people and the fishing industry provides employment to over 500,000 fishermen, traders and mechanics, supporting up to 1.8 million people or 10% of the population. Yet the per capita consumption of fish in Ghana has continued to fall. Our fisheries policy will ensure the bridging of the gap between degradation of the resources of the sea and the lagoons caused by inefficient and destructive fishing methods and promote maximum fish catches that at the same time will enable the resources to renew themselves.
The NDC government will support this significant segment of the population by resourcing and improving management of the industry, so that sustainable growth can be achieved. To do this, we will concentrate on improving and rebuilding stock, increasing storage capacities, exploring and exploiting marketing avenues, providing processing facilities, and minimising post-harvest losses.
Aquaculture will be actively and relentlessly pursued, particularly on the Volta Lake and in other inland water bodies. The Volta Lake could easily be a very major source of fish, but its utilisation for this purpose is hampered by the tree stumps on the Lake bed that constitute obstacles to both fishing and transportation. We will endeavour to clear most of the Lakebed of the tree stumps in a bid to tap the full fish potential of the Volta Lake.
We will support the formation “Fish Farmers Associations” and train their members to become service providers and expand and strengthen state hatcheries beyond the pilot Aquaculture Centre at Tano-Odumase to provide quality fingerlings for fish farmers.
The deteriorated quality of pre-mix fuel will be corrected and improved, and a special price fixed for pre-mix fuel to sustain and improve the industry, the object being to produce enough fish locally to make up the calculated annual fish deficit of 300,000 metric tonnes eventually.
Agricultural Support Services
The NDC government will take steps to support farmers from production to the marketing of their produce. Such support services will include but will not be limited to the following:
• The accelerated development of feeder roads and rural infrastructure for the transportation and marketing of food and food products;
• The mechanisation of agriculture, involving building upon the NDC’s success stories of the mechanisation and inputs centres at Wa, Tono, Techiman, Ejura/Atebubu, Donkorkrom and Akuse/Kpong;
• Financial and technical support for the poultry and livestock sector beyond the existing ones at Shai Hills, Kpong, Akuse, Winneba and others;
• Provide agricultural credit and micro-financing to small producers through a Rural Financial Services Project;
• Establish an Agricultural Development Fund partly from taxes on imported food to accelerate the pace of provision of agricultural related infrastructure and services;
• Re-establish the silo system for post-harvest preservation and the buffer stock system to ensure food security.
• Resolve the problem of land acquisition and security of title through the establishment of a system of land banks by District Assemblies and landowning families and stools.
CAP for ECOWAS
As part of our sub-regional integration efforts, the NDC government will work towards a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the sub-region. We are all dependent on agriculture and the agro-ecology is such that we can pursue common policies for the common good of our people. Reciprocity of wants and the need for specialisation should be the guiding principles for such a common policy.
COCOA – A RELIABLE ALLY
The Government of the NDC will aim to increase the yield per hectare of cocoa from the current 391 kilograms to at least 700 kilograms through better farm management, the application of the hi-tech production system, and better producer prices.
The current mass spraying exercise will be intensified and extended to include brushing, pest and disease control, shade management, pollination and fertilisation.
As an additional incentive, we shall strive to pay the cocoa farmer at least 70% of the world market price of cocoa and to process at least 40% of the cocoa produce locally. The 70% price will not include the cost of cocoa diseases and pest control, cocoa roads, COCOBOD scholarships, hi-tech production and bonuses, which the NPP Government dishonestly and deceitfully added to arrive at the 69.26% price which they claimed they were paying to cocoa farmers.
We will decentralise the COCOBOD scholarship award scheme, reducing the attendant bureaucracy to the barest minimum, introduce a housing scheme for cocoa farmers, and improve upon rural transport in cocoa growing areas.
On the basis of our agricultural sector interventions, we shall implement a “FAST” (Food, Agri-business, Shelter and Technology) Action Plan that will ensure that we can feed ourselves and produce for export within a secure living environment and on the basis of modern and appropriate technology.
LAND – THE BASIC RESOURCE
The basic resource of humanity is land. Our very existence depends on the appropriate and responsible use of land. The NDC launched a National Land Policy in 1999 that reflected this reality. It is a clear and comprehensive policy, which aims to ensure wise and planned use of our land and equitable and secure access to land for housing, agriculture, mining, industry, recreation and environmental conservation.
Unfortunately, it has not been implemented. Its effective implementation will therefore be the pre-occupation of the NDC Government in 2005-2009 after it has been revised to incorporate any new developments since its launching.
We recognise that unless ownership of land is tied to responsible land use, we face a non-sustainable future for which the next generation will condemn us. We will therefore pay particular attention to land use planning and its implementation and enforcement.
We will compile a list of all Government lands and negotiate for the payment of compensation for those that Government intends to keep and for which no compensation has been paid.
We shall also consider positively a proposal for the demarcation and registration of all stool lands in order to stem the tide of stool land litigation.
The following measures will also be taken in relation to land:
(i) Title registration will be expanded beyond residential and commercial areas to include farming communities;
(ii) Indiscipline in land sale and land use will be addressed;
(iii) A “one-stop shop” will be established where all land sector agencies will be accommodated to drastically cut down on service delivery time.
FORESTRY – A RENEWABLE RESOURCE
An NDC Government will continue to stress sustainable management of our forests. Our objective will be to protect, rehabilitate and sustainably manage national land, forest and wildlife resources and increase the income of the present and future generations of rural communities.
In this connection, we shall pursue the following measures:
(i) Ensure more effective controls and standards to ensure compliance with the sustainable annual allowable cut;
(ii) Under the Forestry Plantation Project, assist investors who are prepared to go into industrial-scale tree farming in specific depleted Forest Reserves;
(iii) Nurture the NDC-initiated private investment in commercial forestry outside forest reserves and along dried-up and flowing streams and rivers, slopes of hills, beaches of lakes, avenues, as windbreaks, around farm fields and villages and in parks, and on reclaimed open-cast mines;
(iv) Continue the planned development of inland and coastal wetland sites and the rehabilitation of degraded mangrove resources;
(v) Promote downstream processing and invest in improved technology and recycling of wood residues;
(vi) Streamline the allocation of Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUCs) in order to ensure transparency, fair play, and the protection of the national interest;
(vii) Review the Timber Resources Management (Amendment) Regulations, 2003, L.I. 1721, to provide for aforestation and reforestation and to remove the element of gambling from the competitive bidding process in the allocation of TUCs;
(viii) Reinforce the protection and management of National Parks and other wildlife-protected areas to sustain biodiversity, research, education, recreation and eco-tourism;
(ix) Abolish levies imposed on timber exporters for the administrative and overhead expenses of the erstwhile Timber Exports Development Board.
We have received representations from timber exporters that given the Ministry of Lands and Forestry’s mandate for the sustainable management of forests and forest reserves and therefore its concern for the environment, it is a very “unfriendly” home for a vigorous, business-oriented timber exporting business. It would therefore be better if the industry were relocated at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. We will discuss this proposal with all the stakeholders with a view to arriving at a solution that will be in the national interest.
ENERGY – A 21ST CENTURY NECESSITY
Our accelerated industrialisation programme and the increasing demand for electricity for domestic use, require massive amounts of energy. It has been calculated on the basis of these needs that the country will need to generate about 40,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2020. Our target will be to meet this requirement, using a combination of hydro, thermal and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biogas and biomass, even though for some time to come, we will continue to rely on the Akosombo and Kpong Hydro Power Plants, the Aboadze Thermal Plant and the Osagyefo Barge when it comes on stream.
The energy scene that the NDC will be taking over in 2005 is however dominated by the following uncomfortable features:
(i) High and unaffordable electricity tariffs for domestic, commercial and industrial users of between 150% and 485% representing increases introduced in the last three years that the NPP Government has been in power;
(ii) An unreliable power supply situation characterised by unannounced power cuts, destructive fluctuations, uncontrolled illegal electricity tapping, and an unreliable billing system;
(iii) A Strategic Reserve Plant costing over US$30 million, three of whose five units have been returned to its lessors and the remaining two standing at Tema unutilised and possibly “smuggled” out of the country;
(iv) The Aboadze Thermal Plant which is still operating at below 50% capacity;
(v) The ‘Osagyefo Barge’, brought down from Italian waters and lying idle in Takoradi waters for the past two years;
(vi) A collapsed Valco, whose absence from the domestic energy consumption scene has thrown the economic viability of the West African Gas Pipeline into jeopardy;
(vii) A massive increment of almost 250% in the ex-pump prices of petroleum products and the threat of even further increases;
(viii) A partly deregulated petroleum sector which is likely to make it difficult to create social safety nets for sensitive petroleum products such as kerosene and LPG;
(ix) An over-priced LPG as well as the high capital outlay required for gas usage which have put the fate of the country’s renewable energy programme into jeopardy, by returning consumers from LPG to fuel wood with its attendant deforestation and desertification threats.
The energy sector is perhaps the sector that suffered most from the incompetent performance of the NPP Government. Examples abound:
(i) The infamous Sahara Energy Resources oil lifting deal which gave a Nigerian company that does not have a fraction of the expertise that resided in GNPC or TOR a monopoly of crude oil supplies from Nigeria to TOR, with a later extension of supplies to the Aboadze Thermal Plant, and the attendant higher costs of crude oil supply to the nation;
(ii) The Government’s decision to lease a Strategic Reserve Plant (SRP) for VRA leading to expenditure of over US$30 million with no output whatsoever;
(iii) The ruining of the finances of VRA through a combination of Government decisions such as the SRP;
(iv) The appointment of a crony to head the VRA leading to an unprecedented industrial crisis never before experienced in the history of the Authority; and
(v) The refusal to apply the renegotiated Valco tariffs.
Other examples include the following:
(i) The abrogation of a service contract between GNPC and a company that also provided financing for the rehabilitation of the Saltpond field which had commenced in 2000 and the related problems of the cargo of oil that was illegally taken out of Ghana;
(ii) The entry into an agreement with a company called Tano Energy to undertake oil and gas production from the Tano fields when the company had no capacity, financial or technical, to implement the project;
(iii) The incompetent handling of negotiations on the West African Gas Pipeline project leading to agreements that would not have been in the national interest until the NDC pointed these out to them.
Against this background, the next NDC Government will undertake the following measures:
(i) The PURC will be required to re-examine the cost build-up of electricity tariffs, taking into account the management and operational efficiencies of the ECG and the legal requirements of consultations with a view to arriving at a tariff rate that recovers cost and that is also reasonable;
(ii) We shall revive our programme for the completion of the Aboadze Thermal Plant to bring it up to its installed capacity of 660 megawatts;
(iii) Similarly, we shall work to bring on board the ‘Osagyefo Barge’ to augment the national energy output;
(iv) We will endeavour to fully integrate our aluminium industry by ensuring that whichever aluminium company we negotiate with to buy the shares of Valco will enter into an irrevocable undertaking to exploit our bauxite deposits, convert them into alumina to be used to feed the Valco smelter;
(v) We shall make it a condition for the managements of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electrification Department (NED) of the VRA to make substantial progress towards uninterrupted and reliable electricity supply as part of their efficiency requirements before tariff increases will be considered by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC);
(vi) We shall unravel the mystery of what really went on in the matter of the VRA’s Strategic Reserve Plant and make sure that responsibility is fixed for the serious financial loss that appears to have resulted from that transaction;
(vii) We will ensure the fixing of realistic and reasonable prices for petroleum products by reviewing the hidden taxes and levies in the prices which are more of revenue raising than cost recovery measures;
(viii) We will take another look at the processes for the deregulation of the petroleum sector and make sure that an NDC Government does not abandon its responsibility for ensuring that the price of this vital lubricant of the national economy is not left to be determined solely by forces whose primary motivation is profit;
(ix) We will also ensure that adequate protection is given to new local developing oil companies to enable them grow and expand to become more competitive in future;
(x) The NDC’s promotion of renewable energy, that is, solar, wind, biogas and biomass, will be revived and vigorously pursued.
There will be the need for prompt and decisive steps to restore the momentum of previous efforts in the energy sector. An NDC Government will proceed from where we left off in 2000 since there has been such a capital failure of the NPP in this regard.
There is an urgent need to develop long-term strategies for the intensive capital requirements of the energy sector. Among the options that an NDC Government will pursue for the sector is the Ghana Stock Exchange. An NDC Government will encourage participation of the Ghanaian public and foreign investors through the Stock Exchange in the capital of the state-owned entities in the energy sector as has happened in countries such as Brazil, China, Malaysia and Thailand.
The NDC shall remain faithful to its planned programme to provide electricity to all settlements with population of 500 or more by the year 2017. However, the 4-year intrusion of the NPP Government, which has derailed the programme as a result of inaction on their part, may compel a postponement of the envisaged completion year.
The long-term energy strategy of the next NDC Government, which will be a combination of hydro, thermal and renewable energy, will comprise for hydro, in addition to Akosombo and Kpong, the proposed Bui Hydro Dam and smaller dams on the Pra, Ankobra and other identified rivers in the country.
For thermal energy, the concentration will be on the Aboadze Thermal Plant, the Efasu Project utilising the Osagyefo Barge, the West African Gas Pipeline Project, and the exploitation of other fossil fuel resources.
For renewable energy, we shall extend our highly successful experience in the use of solar energy in the telecommunication sector to other sectors and implement our proposed Off-Grid Rural Electrification Programme using solar energy to supply electricity to communities that are too remote from the national grid. Our biogas and biomass electricity programmes will also be revived.
We shall stress energy conservation measures through an insistence on energy efficient equipment and practices in industries and in homes.
Arising out of our energy master plan, other strategies for the energy sector contained in our 2000 Manifesto but which we could not implement because of our electoral defeat and which we shall implement in the 2005-2009 period include:
(i) A continuation of the SHEP programme, but with a shift in focus to applicant settlements already on the waiting list;
(ii) Resumed accelerated work on the construction of the Bui Hydro-Electric Project;
(iii) Vigorous pursuit of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project whose viability has been put at risk as a result of the NPP Government’s disagreement with VALCO and VALCO’s consequent decision to pull out of Ghana.
In the petroleum sub-sector of the energy sector, we will pursue our programme for the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuel offshore and onshore, as well as the traditional method of importing crude oil, refined products and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
We will accelerate plans for producing oil and gas from the Tano fields not only for the Efasu project but also to supply gas to the Aboadze Thermal Plant pending the West African Gas Pipeline coming into operation. We shall also seek to interest prospective investors in the exploration and exploitation of the oil deposits in Keta and the Volta Basin.
Our distribution strategy involves, in addition to the existing pipelines constructed during the era of the last NDC administration, the further extension of the Accra-Akosombo-Buipe link to Bolgatanga through Tamale. Another pipeline will be constructed to link Accra-Kumasi-Sunyani, and a third will constitute the Accra-Takoradi link.
We will expand the capacities of the strategic storage tanks in the Accra Plains and at Mami Water, Akosombo, Buipe, Bolgatanga, Kumasi and Takoradi, and we will build additional storage tanks at Cape Coast, Ho, Sunyani and Wa.
The next NDC Government will construct the proposed fuel pipeline from Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region to the border with Burkina Faso, from where it is expected to be continued to Ouagadougou and subsequently to Bamako in Mali as part of the ECOWAS integration effort.
MINERALS – A NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCE
The section of our 2000 Manifesto dealing with “Adding Value to Our Minerals” lays down our basic policy approach in the mining sector. It stresses the strengthening of the Minerals Commission to be better able to carry out its supervisory and monitoring role in the mining sector and of the mining and monitoring institutions generally.
Additionally, for 2005-2009, we will pursue a policy of adding value to our mineral exports as well as promoting the establishment of industries that use our industrial minerals as inputs. This will reduce Ghana’s exposure to world market price fluctuations, generate more employment and expand our non-traditional exports.
We will continue the periodic review of the Minerals and Mining Law to ensure equity and an attractive mining environment for investment.
We will, using the mechanism of the Minerals Development Fund, continue to redirect some of the mineral royalties to the mineral producing communities through their District Assemblies to improve their quality of life and also to check environmental degradation.
We will restructure the distribution of mining royalties to the same effect for communities adjoining the mining areas that suffer from the adverse effects of mining operations. Mining companies will be required to provide alternative economic livelihood for inhabitants who lose access to their farms and other economic activities as a result of the mining operations.
The programme of assistance to small-scale miners will continue and their operations managed and controlled through appropriate legislation.
We will promote investment in large-scale mining for gold, base metals, diamonds and other precious metals whilst focusing attention also on the development of the industrial minerals such as bauxite, manganese, iron ore, silica, oyster shells, clay and limestone.
The impact of mining activities on the environment will engage the serious attention of the next NDC Government and we will ensure sound environmental protection and reclamation. In particular, the NPP Government’s opening of certain Forest Reserves to mining will be reviewed.
GHANA – A TOURIST DESTINATION
Ghana’s culture, history and historic monuments, wildlife and scenic attractions, together with the warm hospitality of our people, make this country a unique tourist destination.
Thanks to the progressive policies of the last NDC administration, tourism had grown from insignificance to the third foreign exchange earner after gold and cocoa at the time we were leaving office in January 2001.
The last NDC Government’s 15-year ‘National Tourism Development Plan 1996 – 2010’ was largely responsible for this and it has guided the present Government in the pursuit of its tourism objectives.
The objective of that Plan, which will also guide the incoming NDC administration, is to ensure the development and promotion of tourism on a sustainable basis for the generation of foreign exchange and revenue, the creation of jobs, the development of cottage industries and domestic tourism.
We will create the environment through general concessions, tax reliefs and waivers for active private sector participation in the development of tourism infrastructure, especially in the provision of hotels, beach resorts, parks, lodges, camping facilities and recreational and entertainment facilities.
Many tourist sites involving national and historic heritage such as the forts and castles and wildlife-protected areas provide few benefits to the communities on whose land these sites exist. The NDC will ensure that in addition to job creation, a part of the revenue will go to the District Assemblies and Traditional Authorities concerned.
We will work with the Ghana Hoteliers Association and the Hospitality industry generally to make sure that the cost of tourism facilities are kept within such limits as to ensure maximum patronage.
The next NDC Government will continue to market Ghana as an exciting and internationally competitive tourist destination.
A ‘NATIONAL MOBILISATION PROGRAMME’
The next NDC Government will galvanise our nation’s self-belief and propel each citizen, including our citizens living abroad, into the realisation that we all have something to contribute to the development of the nation and to realising the expectation we have for a better life. In thus rallying the nation for development, it will not matter who is NDC or who is NPP. It will not matter who is CPP or who is GCPP; it will not matter who is Reform or who is PNC. We must seek to make us each our brother’s keeper irrespective of political affiliation, otherwise those who seek to divide and conquer us will continue to profit from our resources at our expense.
Arising out of our economic sectoral commitments, the next NDC Government will implement a “National Mobilisation Programme” that will have the following ingredients:
(i) A National Development Plan, which is based on an integrated National Economic and Physical Plan. Our earlier “Vision 2020” Plan, abandoned by the NPP Government, will be the starting point for such a Plan;
(ii) A programme for the mobilisation of all the nation’s professionals and indeed the entire citizenry, for development;
(iii) A programme for the integration of the informal sector into the mainstream of the economy;
(iv) Far-reaching reforms of the Government administrative machinery, which will include the strengthening of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and a further strengthening of the District Assemblies;
(v) Political inclusiveness in a way that seeks to genuinely mobilise all of the nation’s human and material resources for development.
THE SOCIAL SECTOR
EDUCATION – A RIGHT
The Education Reform Programme, which was launched nation-wide in 1988 after the experimental pilot programme of the Professor Dzobo Report of 1974, has brought Ghana’s education system in line with the general international educational system.
What have been problematic are the institutional support mechanisms that will guarantee not only an adequacy of physical infrastructure and equipment, but also more crucially, the needed manpower support by way of teachers and administrators of the programme across the board.
In order to respond to some of the lingering difficulties in the sector, the next NDC Government will study the Report of the NPP’s Education Reform Review Committee and consult extensively on new modalities and initiatives necessary to remove the problem areas that now hamper the smooth implementation of the programme.
Thanks to the NDC-initiated GETFund, funding is now available to continue with the programme for a sustainable, more credible and efficient education system capable of producing the kind of human resources needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The Fund should also free resources for education from the vicissitudes of annual national budgetary performance.
An NDC Government will abide strictly by the GETFund guidelines. It will utilise the Fund for the provision of educational infrastructure, including teaching and learning aids, human resource development, and the provision of logistic and material resources. We shall also ensure that there are no GETFund arrears.
We shall rationalise the pre-school system by providing a coordinating mechanism for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) dealing with the subject of pre-school education such as the Ministry of Education, the Department of Social Welfare, the District Assemblies, NGOs and individuals, and by integrating pre-school education into the FCUBE system.
In the Basic Education sub-sector, we recognise our constitutional obligation to the implementation of the FCUBE Programme, and we shall continue with it.
A major difficulty, however, has been the definition of “free” within the concept of FCUBE and what Government is therefore obligated to provide. Whilst we shall dialogue with stakeholders to reach an acceptable definition of the term, the NDC shall, for its purpose define “free” to mean all those requirements of the school system that are directly attributable to the fact that the child is in school and for a certain period is out of the control of his parental home, and that are also directly related to the teaching and learning process.
“Free”, therefore will mean, for the NDC, free tuition, free textbooks and exercise books, free infrastructure, free school uniforms for underprivileged homes and deprived communities, and a non-requirement of payment of fees for such activities as sports and culture.
To ensure its “compulsory” and “universal” nature, we will enforce existing legislation making it an offence for parents and guardians not to send their basic school-age children and wards to school.
We will institute special housing schemes for teachers in deprived rural communities and provide support such as study leave and allowances for teachers in training.
We shall outdoor a revised FCUBE Programme that will set out a target year by which every Ghanaian must have basic education or be functionally literate.
Second Cycle Education
At the second cycle level, we will continue with the system of free tuition for all students and introduce a free textbook scheme as well, over time.
We will also re-examine the problem of high boarding fees for SSS students that the NPP Government has raised to unaffordable levels. In this connection, the NDC considers that water and electricity are associated costs in our second cycle boarding institutions whose cost must be socialised. The next NDC Government will therefore assume responsibility for the payment of water and electricity bills for all Senior Secondary Schools. We will also examine the details of all SSS fees with a view to finding out which other costs can be cut down or cut out completely.
At the tertiary level, we shall not pursue a policy of full cost recovery. There will continue to be free tuition. Scholarships and bursaries will be instituted for brilliant but needy students, and there will be special incentives for students pursuing science and technology courses.
We shall apply ourselves diligently to the problem of the Polytechnics, especially now that the NDC’s original objective of setting up one Polytechnic per region has been achieved. We shall turn our attention to the problem of HND grading and placement in jobs. In this connection, we shall consider the report of the Committee set up by the NPP Government to study the problem and if we find their recommendations appropriate, implement them.
We shall also work with all stakeholders, including the Polytechnic Councils, the National Accreditation Board, the National Technical and Professional Examinations Board and the alumni and Students Representative Councils of the various Polytechnics to achieve the following objectives of the Polytechnic Law, 1992, PNDCL 321, the non-implementation of which is at the root of the crises in our Polytechnics:
(vi) Provide tertiary education through full time courses in specified fields;
(vii) Encourage study in technical subjects at tertiary level;
(viii) Award degrees subject to such conditions as the National Council on Tertiary Education shall direct.
We shall revisit and review the RECAAST proposal in the Educational Reform Programme to address educational options for out of school youth and workers seeking to train in new employable skills.
We shall address fully the question of teacher training at all levels of education, including advanced training for teachers and lecturers and their career advancement.
We will comprehensively review the teacher education needs of the country in collaboration with the various teacher unions, the teacher training institutions and the tertiary institutions dealing with teacher education.
We shall sponsor a Teacher Education Bill that will seek to create a Teachers’ Council to have oversight responsibility for all teacher-training institutions, the coordination of the training of teachers, and their placement in the educational system.
Vocational and Technical Education
We will source additional funding to the US$20 million that we secured for Vocational and Technical Education (VOTEC) in 2000. Our target is that by the end of our first 4-year term, at least 50% of the existing districts should have at least one Vocational or Technical Institute or both, and by the end of our second term, every district should have at least one Vocational or Technical Institute or both.
Strategic VOTEC centres will be identified for expansion to kick start vigorous local manufacturing enterprises.
A scheme for nationwide apprenticeship training, drawing on the experience of both the existing informal and formal apprenticeship training systems, will be designed and supported in collaboration with the private sector.
We shall resurrect our policy of opening opportunities for adult literacy by pursuing vigorously our programme for non-formal education, so crudely and ill advisedly interrupted by the NPP Government.
The programme will be directed at helping to provide skills for improved survival, empowerment and enhanced capacity to accelerate rural development and national integration.
Education ‘Brain Drain’
As part of a major exercise to attract and retain teachers, lecturers and health sector professionals, the NDC is studying a proposal to take these professional groups out of the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) and provide them with a remuneration system designed to resolve the ‘brain drain’ problem once and for all. The proposal will be discussed with all stakeholders after some further refinements have been made to it.
Under an NDC Government, the GETFund will be used to expand and improve infrastructure in the educational institutions and for the benefit of students. In particular, the GETFund will be made to cover the following critical areas:
(i) Physical facilities for educational institutions with emphasis on Polytechnics and institutions such as the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS), the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), and the School of Translators will be undertaken. In particular, the NDC commits itself to commence work on the construction of buildings at the new site of the GIJ;
(ii) Scholarship awards for needy students in national priority areas;
Students’ Loans Scheme
We shall redesign and rationalise the Students’ Loan Scheme, which will be extended to include students in private tertiary institutions. This may require an amendment to the GETFund Act as a funding source for the Students’ Loan Scheme.
ICT – Preparing the Student for the World of Work
In the 21st century, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become the pre-requisite in whatever career a student chooses. A major shift towards computer technology in preparing the student for the world of work is therefore inevitable.
The NDC will, in seeking to modernise the economy, make familiarity with ICT the foundation of the school system. Basic typing skills will be made part of the Basic Education system. At the second cycle level, computer literacy will be made part of the school curriculum. Computer Science will be taken out of Integrated Science, expanded into Information Technology, and made an examinable subject. Computer resource centres will be provided for all tertiary institutions, including teacher-training colleges, agricultural colleges, nursing training institutions and the Polytechnics.
With the view to making the computer industry the wealth and job-creating hub of the economy, the NDC Government will, in partnership with the private sector, provide facilities for computer technology and its application in Tamale, Cape Coast, Winneba, Kumasi and Accra, where public Universities are currently sited. In addition, Polytechnics in regions where there are no public Universities will offer computer engineering as one of the main academic programmes.
The NDC reaffirms its position that educational opportunity is a right and not a privilege, and its firm and uncompromising belief in “education for all”.
HEALTH FOR ALL
The NDC’s priority health concerns are to support Primary Health Care with particular reference to community health planning and services, extend and equip hospital facilities, localise most medical treatment, and keep the cost of health care down to a minimum.
We are also very concerned about the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as envisaged under the recently passed National Health Insurance Scheme Act, 2003, Act 656, the ‘brain drain’ within the health sector, and the issue of HIV/AIDS.
It is a crying shame that diseases such as guinea worm, yaws, TB, and leprosy which had all but been wiped out during the era of the NDC Government should resurface in the NPP’s Ghana, to the extent that the country is now second only to war-torn Sudan in global guinea worm infestation. Buruli ulcer is still spreading and new diseases such as leishmaniasis are being unearthed.
Basic Health Care
Primary Health Care is the solution to these endemic diseases. To this end, we shall resurrect those programmes that in the NDC era all but wiped those diseases out.
Many of our common illnesses and diseases can be eliminated or controlled through better sanitation, nutrition and change in personal habits and lifestyles. Health education programmes stressing these and involving student and youth groups, religious leaders and traditional rulers, will be the foundation of the preventive health policy of the next NDC administration.
Pending the full implementation of the NHIS, and even when it has become fully operational, we shall adopt a policy of free medical consultation at all Government hospitals as well as free registration and free treatment of malaria with the most common drugs at all Government health facilities.
The existing exemptions scheme in our health care system covering specific diseases and specified categories of people shall remain in force and be rigorously implemented.
We will negotiate for support to ensure that the free anti retro-viral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients recently introduced in our hospitals remains sustainable. We will also intensify HIV/AIDS education through the judicious use of funds currently being dissipated by some dubious NGOs hastily established by political interests.
The NDC’s programme for the provision and rehabilitation of hospital infrastructure, for the three Teaching Hospitals and the Regional and District Hospitals, will be further continued by the next NDC administration.
In line with our vision of modernising our hospitals, we shall resume the programme for the establishment of a modern Regional Hospital for each region. Given the present state of regional spread, Koforidua, Bolgatanga and Wa are the regional capitals next in line for modern regional hospitals. Effia Nkwanta in Sekondi, Tamale and Ridge Hospitals will be rehabilitated and also modernised.
Training of Health Personnel
We note that our programmes for the establishment of the Post-Graduate Medical College and the modernisation of the 37 Military Hospital have been completed. The next NDC Government will introduce more training programmes designed to localise medical treatment for which Ghanaians often go abroad.
We will next turn our attention to the establishment of a School for Allied Health Professionals and expedite the local training of physiotherapists, laboratory technologists radiographers and dieticians. There will also be training of auxiliary nurses to augment current numbers.
National Health Insurance Scheme
One of the most effective ways of keeping the cost of health care to a minimum is through a Health Insurance Scheme. This is why the NDC Government conducted in-depth studies and pilot projects with a view to establishing a viable scheme.
Unfortunately, the NPP Government, in its perpetual haste to undo any good programme initiated by the NDC Government, rushed a National Health Insurance Scheme through Parliament against the advice of the NDC Minority. The passage of the Act was also against the advice of the TUC and the Consultative Forum of Workers comprising the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Civil Servants Association of Ghana (CSAG), the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) and the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG)
There are many things wrong with Act 656, and we shall sit down with the stakeholders to fully revise the Act as well as the framework for the operation of the NHIS and review the funding mechanism.
In particular, we will review the National Health Insurance Act and based on the pilot projects conducted when we were in office, we will implement a revised NHIS without the 2.5% workers’ SSNIT contribution deductions and without the 2.5% VAT increase. We shall also reduce the bureaucracy within the Scheme so that more money is made available to be used for patients instead of the administrators of the Scheme.
But even when the Scheme has become fully operational, there will still be those who will be outside the Scheme on account of their inability to afford the premiums. An NDC Government will work out a scheme designed to ensure that we live up to our social responsibility to the non-members of the Scheme.
Health Sector ‘Brain Drain’
The exodus of health personnel has now changed from a deluge to an avalanche under the NPP Government and has become a major constraint to the effective delivery of health care. As we stated earlier, we shall take the bull by the horns and take the remuneration and conditions of service of doctors and other health personnel and of teachers as a special case and make sure that they are encouraged to stay.
We shall review the framework for the practice of traditional and alternative medicine in 2005, five years after the passage of the Traditional Medicine Practice Act, 2000, Act 575, by the last NDC Government, with a view to determining its effectiveness and provide the necessary support to traditional medicine practitioners to ensure that they play their supportive role in health care delivery.
A SANITATION POLICY
The Environmental Sanitation Policy document launched by the NDC Government in May 1999 provided a comprehensive framework for dealing with the problem of sanitation. Unfortunately, the NPP Government appears to have thrown it overboard.
Under that policy, Central Government was to provide support for sanitation as a supplement for the biggest Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies, after acceptance of the formal establishment of environmental sanitation as a sub-sector within the national development programme. That policy will be revived, revised, and implemented for effective sanitation delivery.
HOUSING THE PEOPLE
The “Social Democratic Agenda” document states the NDC’s housing objective to be that every Ghanaian must have a home, though not necessarily own a house, as a meaningful expression of the right to shelter.
Housing, especially for the low and lower-middle income earners, will be one of the NDC Government’s top priorities. Consistent with our philosophy, our housing policy will include the direct involvement of the Central Government and District Assemblies in the provision of housing while providing the opportunity and creating the environment for individuals to own their own homes.
In this regard, we shall offer special tax and land concessions to investors to provide rental and low-income housing for workers and low-income earners within a framework of careful land use and urban planning.
There will be special programmes for urban upgrading and slum improvement.
We shall create land banks to facilitate easy access to land for housing purposes.
In the rural areas we shall concentrate attention on erosion control and prevention schemes, rural housing rehabilitation schemes and promote wall protection, re-roofing and drainage programmes.
We shall propose a “Rural Renewal Project” with rural housing as a core component for domestic and possible external funding.
We shall review the 1962 Rent Act to bring it in line with today’s realities and to deal with the vexed problem of rent advance.
EMPLOYMENT AND JOB CREATION
The NDC's long-term objective is to promote and create productive employment opportunities in all sectors of the economy.
Our policies on investment and on training are designed to create employment and enable productive ventures to tap the needed manpower. Together with organised labour, we will implement a programme of lifelong learning to benefit those already in employment, the principle being that the more our people learn, the more they earn in the changing world of work.
The next NDC Government will assess some of its previous employment strategies such as “Poverty Alleviation” and “Youth in Agriculture” with a view to determining their viability as employment options for the next four years.
We will encourage employment-intensive but competitive industries and programmes. Stimulating small businesses, which potentially offer good employment opportunities, will be one of our major strategies towards creating jobs.
We will, after discussion with employers and labour, initiate and launch an Employment Policy that will seek to reduce unemployment to the barest minimum.
We will launch a major housing and public works scheme involving urban road and drainage construction and environmental sanitation that will engage our youth and other unemployed artisans with housing and construction skills.
We propose to create large commercial farms and plantations of 50,000 hectares or more that will each have a minimum of 1,000 “employees” and “volunteers” who will live in “villages” of between 200 to 300 people and will cultivate food and cash crops suitable for the area and soil, farm consumables, and undertake poultry and livestock-rearing. The farming will be mechanised, irrigation will be state of the art and the “employee-volunteers” will be trained in disciplines of their choice. As the Scheme develops, agro-processing will be introduced and linked to the export sector for the export of some of the produce.
Care will be taken to ensure that the Scheme does not degenerate into the old ‘State Farms which just became drains on the national economy.
We will provide inputs to the Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (ICCES) to enable them further improve their performance and provide support for small and medium scale enterprises through the provision of advisory services and technical skills.
We recognise graduate unemployment as a present and future problem and will, in collaboration with other stakeholders design programmes to provide unemployed graduates with entrepreneurial skills.
We will also encourage our graduates to take up employment with the District Assemblies and in the education sector where vacancies are known to exist.
With our planned “computer revolution” in the educational system, we will entice the out-sourcing of computer-related jobs as a major source of employment and make Ghana a major destination for out-sourced computer-related jobs coming into the sub-region. Our vision is to use computer technology to create thousands of jobs and to make it a major pillar in the modernisation of the economy, job creation and wealth generation.
We will intensify the dialogue with labour to attain a firm understanding in the areas of wages, worker welfare and support for an investment and labour climate that is less tense and generally strike-free.
A new framework for cooperative development will be developed to allow cooperatives to operate more as business enterprises than as welfare societies to enable them play an important role in job creation and poverty reduction.
Youth cooperatives will be encouraged and assisted to access available funding from the ILO to enable them set up in income generating activities.
We will discuss with labour their demand for more attractive retirement and pension benefits while seeking an improvement in the current SSNIT Social Security Scheme.
The SSNIT shall be required to reorganise itself to be able to provide social protection and benefits other than retirement benefits to its members as provided for under the Social Security Law 1991, PNDCL 247.
We shall also explore with SSNIT the possibility of paying unemployment benefits to SSNIT contributors who have been members of the Scheme for a certain number of years.
We will reform the pension system to ensure a more efficient payment of pensions to relieve our older citizens of the drudgery associated with the collection of their legitimate pension entitlements every month.
As part of our housing policy, we shall construct “dormitories” for the homeless and street dwellers, especially the youth, in close collaboration with appropriate NGOs who may be engaged to manage the facilities.
ICCES-style assistance will be provided to street dwellers who will be accommodated in the dormitories to ensure that they acquire skills to enable then earn income to pay their rent, at least.
WATER FOR SURVIVAL
In the words of our “Social Democratic Agenda” document, “Water is life and must be freely available as the air we breathe. Potable water must therefore be available, accessible and affordable, if it must be sold at all”. It is the NDC’s objective to ensure that every community in Ghana has access to safe water.
We shall revisit our planned 10-year water programme under which communities with population below 500 will be provided with hand dug wells, those with population between 500 and 2,000 will be provided with boreholes, and communities with population with population over 2,000 with piped systems.
The NDC is committed to community control over water and ensuring that water for domestic consumption, irrespective of which system of production and marketing is finally adopted, is sold at cost, shorn of any inefficiencies and bureaucratic padding, and subsidised if necessary.
In this connection, we applaud organisations such as ISODEC and the Coalition against Water Privatisation for their relentless campaign against the importation of the profit motive into water availability that has taught the country as well as the international financial institutions many lessons in the handling of water issues.
Water for commercial and industrial purposes may however be sold at reasonably priced commercial rates.
The NDC will establish a “Water Fund” that will be utilised to support any water production and distribution system that will be finally adopted after consultations with the stakeholders to ensure that minimum water consumption will be available and affordable to all.
The NDC believes that public transportation is best run by the private sector. An NDC Government will therefore renew its support for transport organisations such as the GPRTU and PROTOA in the acquisition, operation and maintenance of buses and other means of mass transportation.
Strategic considerations however argue for some Government involvement in the running of public transport. For this reason, we shall rehabilitate and restructure the traditional state transport agencies and ensure that they are assisted to play their roles in the public transportation system.
We have noted with some disquiet the present Government’s introduction of the Metro Mass Transport Company, whose operations, though useful, are far from transparent. We are uncertain about its ownership, shareholding, status, capitalisation and performance. We shall review the operations of that amorphous entity and take a final decision in the light of our findings.
As a first step, however, we shall repeal the law under which the Company was enabled to import left hand drive buses and hold to account the officials who permitted their importation prior to the passage of the law and contrary to the existing law at the time.
We believe that the state has a definite role to play in the provision of mass transport services, and we will ensure this, but a new company providing mass transport must complement and not replace existing companies.
The NDC believes that Ghana should have a carrier in the air. We want the country’s flag to be flown in the skies, but by a carrier that is commercially sound and is devoid of political interferences.
We shall review any Agreements entered into by the present administration in relation to Ghana Airways and ensure that they are commercially sound and ethically defensible.
A FAIR AND JUST SOCIETY
Measures to ensure gender mainstreaming under the PNDC/NDC Governments included the promulgation of the Intestate Succession Law, the adoption of an Affirmative Action Policy under which access of females to the Universities was expanded and which saw an inclusion of a specified percentage of women appointees to the District Assemblies as well as the establishment of the WAJU.
An NDC Government will aim at strengthening the position of women in senior governance posts, improving the conditions of poor women and actively promoting gender equity.
There will be emphasis on women’s rights and participation in decision-making processes at all levels and ensure that public and in-house records are in gender-sensitive language.
We shall introduce major gender policy and legislative reforms, aiming for a minimum 40% representation of women at Conferences and Congresses of the Party and in government and public service, the promotion of increased female access to educational, health, employment and other socio-economic infrastructure and services.
We will resume our programme to intensify public education against negative socio-cultural practices that discriminate against women and enact legislation to safeguard the dignity of women and create conditions to enable their advancement.
We shall review the mandate of the existing Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to ensure its consistency with our policy on women as well as national development aspirations.
We accept generally the objectives of the “Women’s Manifesto for Ghana” published in April 2004 which are the achievement of gender equality and equity and national development.
We will work with the sponsors of the Manifesto to incorporate its key demands in the NDC’s “Affirmative Action Policy For Women” document, first issued in 1999 and to be revised and implemented upon assuming office in 2005.
THE CHILDREN ARE VULNERABLE
Because women and gender issues are directly related to power and power relations in society and in the distribution of resources, while children’s issues are related more to welfare and protection from exploitation on account of their vulnerability, we shall separate sector responsibility for children from that of women.
We will organise a review conference on the Children’s Act, 1998, Act 560, in 2008, ten years after its passage by the erstwhile PNDC in 1998 to assess the extent of its implementation and its effectiveness and to chart a future course for the country’s children.
MOBILISING THE YOUTH
The next NDC Government will re-establish the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is the worldwide trend and it served the nation well in the past.
The NDC is committed to the effective mobilisation of the youth, the productive engagement of their talents and energies and the creation of an environment, which will enable the youth to realise their full potential.
We will bring the youth to the governance table and engage them in civic responsibility debates. They will be involved in decision making on key issues that affect them.
We will pursue our objective of providing each region with a Youth Leadership Training Centre and appropriately refurbish the existing ones. In particular, we shall convert the abandoned District Administration Complex at Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi district into the Northern Regional Youth Leadership Training Centre.
We shall encourage each District Assembly to establish a Youth Centre to enable the youth make informed educational and career choices as well as address social problems.
We shall revisit our National Youth Policy launched in 1999 but abandoned by the NPP Government.
We have studied the draft of the Youth Manifesto for the 2004 General Elections by the youth of Ghana and believe that it provides an appropriate platform for engaging the youth on those matters that affect them.
On education, we accept the Manifesto’s commitment to improving educational infrastructure and access especially the expansion of accommodation facilities on the University campuses. We also decry the trend towards the privatisation of tertiary education through full cost recovery and commit ourselves to its abatement, and to expand the GETFund to cover other tertiary institutions not presently covered by the GETFund Act.
Youth employment advocated in the Youth Manifesto is already a critical part of the “Employment and Job Creation” Chapter of this Manifesto, as are the “Governance” demands of political tolerance, the rule of law and the separation of Youth from the Ministry of Education.
The concern for a legislation-backed National Youth Commission will be addressed in our National Youth Policy which we have pledged to revisit and review.
SPORTS – PARTICIPATING TO WIN
Having re-established the Ministry of Youth and Sports, that Ministry will pursue our sports policy of concentrating on the development and provision of sports infrastructure, the spotting of sporting talents and the insistence that we participate in sports to win and not for the sake of participation.
For this reason, we will institute a scholarship scheme for students with exceptional sporting talent in second cycle and tertiary educational institutions. In this respect, Inter-Schools sports competitions will be given great boost and a “Catch Them Young” programme introduced.
For sports stadia, our long-term objective remains that every regional capital should have a 70,000 seat capacity stadium like the Kumasi Stadium and every district capital should have a 7,000 seat capacity stadium like the El-Wak Stadium, starting with the latter as a matter of strategy.
We will prioritise the various sports disciplines and provide funding as appropriate, sharing the cost between the Government and the private sector.
We will resume work on our promised Olympic standard 100,000-seater stadium for which we acquired a 722-acre land near Ashaiman during our period in office, and complete the ‘Centre for Sports Excellence’ at Prampram.
As a specific football objective, we are determined to ensure that the Black Stars, the national football team, qualify for the Football World Cup in Germany in 2006.
THE DISABLED AND THE AGED
In 2000, we promised new national policies on the Disabled as well as the aged. We have the opportunity in 2005 to do so, since the NPP Government has shown little serious commitment towards the necessary legislation.
These policies will seek to fully integrate the disabled into the mainstream of national life and to develop new approaches to meet the demands of the ageing.
A CREDIBLE POPULATION POLICY
Our high population growth rate of 3.1% has created a high dependency ratio with nearly 50% of the population aged less than 15 years.
We shall therefore aim at a population growth rate of 1.5% by the year 2020 through a combination of methods including education, family planning and the integration of population variables into the development planning process.
Article 36(2)(d) of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the Government to undertake “even and balanced development of all regions and every part of each region of Ghana, and, in particular, improving the conditions of life in the rural areas, and generally, redressing any imbalance in development between the rural and the urban areas”
The NDC understands this to mean a call to affirmative action in development which is not achieved by the NPP’s strategy of selecting one road or one school in each region, developed or undeveloped, and bringing it up to a first class road or a model school. That strategy rather perpetuates the existing imbalances and inequities. The objective of Article 36(2)(d) is achieved by having more and better roads and more and better schools in the regions without those facilities.
This will be the NDC’s guiding philosophy in seeking to achieve regional equity in development.
THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Our “Social Democratic Agenda for Ghana” document restates the NDC’s position that “Ghana can never be said to be free unless we have the infrastructure, the human resources and the technology that it takes to enjoy any freedoms or rights in the 21st century”.
We are also mindful of the constitutional injunction to “undertake even and balanced development of all regions and every part of each region of Ghana, and, in particular, improve the conditions of life in the rural areas” (Article 36(2)(d) of the 1992 Constitution).
The “Gateway Project” that we pioneered whilst in office is another factor in the determination of our infrastructure development priorities.
Our agenda for the rejuvenation of the country’s economic infrastructure is guided by these preceding considerations.
MAKING OUR ROADS VEHICLE-WORTHY
The development of our highway system will continue to be guided by the ‘Road Sector Development Project’ document, our highway sector development blueprint that we unfolded in Year 2000.
Within our four-year mandate, we shall tackle and if possible complete the four main Highway Corridors that we identified under the Project, namely,
(i) The Trans-ECOWAS Coastal Highway from Aflao to Elubo traversing Tema-Accra-Winneba-Mankessim-Cape Coast-Takoradi;
(ii) The Eastern Corridor from Tema through Asikuma-Jasikan-Nkwanta-Yendi-Nalerigu-Kulungugu;
(iii) The Western Corridor from Elubo-Asemkrom-Enchi-Goaso-Sunyani-Bamboi-Bole-Wa-Hamile; and
(iv) The Central Spine traversing Accra-Kumasi-Techiman-Tamale-Bolgatanga-Paga.
We will remain faithful to our previous national Highway road mix objective of 70:20:10 for excellent, good and bad roads. We shall take on board all those roads for which there have been political sod-cuttings which had been conceived, planned and designed when we were last in office and ensure their expeditious completion.
The long-term vision is to construct these roads as concrete or asphalted dual carriageway, all–weather roads capable of lasting for a minimum of fifty years.
We will continue with the programme of urban road rehabilitation as part of an urban planning and development strategy. The four existing Departments of Urban Roads in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale will be expanded to cover all the urban centres in the country, with each urban centre having its own Department of Urban Roads to replace the existing Roads Unit of the PWD.
Ongoing reconstruction, rehabilitation and upgrading works in the four metropolises will continue, while we extend our strategy of decongesting the inner town roads to be followed by the rehabilitation of the major arterial roads leading out of those municipalities and urban centres.
We will make major interventions in the area of feeder roads, cocoa roads and other roads in the rural areas with a view to making them all-weather roads and ensuring that we bring good roads to every part of the country. We will pay special attention to inaccessible areas, with particular emphasis on bridge rehabilitation and construction.
AIRPORTS AND AIRSTRIPS
Unlike others, we are very much aware of all the airports and airstrips in the country and we will work to improve them.
The ongoing works at the Kotoka International Airport to transform it into the air transportation hub of the West Africa sub-region will be pursued to its logical conclusion, whilst examining the long-term vision of relocating the International Airport outside the metropolitan boundaries.
We intend to pursue our previous plans to upgrade the Kumasi and Tamale Airports to international standards, and to revive the abandoned Takoradi Airport.
We will resume work on the Wa and Bolgatanga airstrips as well as all the other airstrips scattered throughout the country. Modern technology involves speed of communication, which therefore requires that internal air transportation should be put on our transport sector policy priority list.
MARITIME AND WATER TRANSPORT
The policy of converting the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority from a service provider to a facilities provider will be pursued. We have to ensure that the nation’s ports and harbours are able to accommodate new generation vessels and to berth modern vessels.
We will work to ensure that our planned inland port at Fumesua, now relocated at Boankra, comes on stream.
We plan to establish more landing sites on the Volta Lake in order to link up lake and road transport and to carry out a programme of removing tree stumps from the Lake bed to make the Lake safe for transportation and for fishing.
REHABILITATING THE RAILWAYS
Given the state of our railway system, we believe that the first priority in the railway sector must be given to the rehabilitation of the existing system. We want to make the railways more efficient and effective as a provider of mass transportation as well as a bulk carrier of goods and exports.
We will also prioritise the conversion of the non-functional Accra-Tema railway to a fast passenger commuter rail line to reduce the traffic pressure on Accra-Tema road links.
For all these, we will require a strategic partner for the Ghana Railway Company.
There has been a lot of excitement in the railway sector since the Ministry of Railways, Ports and Harbours was created. We shall review the performance of that sector and build upon any positive achievements that we shall find there with a view to ensuring an effective intra- and inter-urban rail system for the effective conveyance of goods and people.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION
In order to ensure a holistic transportation strategy, the next NDC Government will abolish the recently established Ministry of Railways, Ports and Harbours and merge its functions and those of the existing Transport section of the Ministry of Roads and Transport into one Ministry of Transportation.
We will however separate responsibility for road transport infrastructure from transportation generally and recreate the Ministry of Roads and Highways in order to give the needed impetus to road sector development.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT
In 2000, we promised that if we won the elections, we would bring our scientific and technological institutions closer to the private sector in our quest for appropriate industrial technology. We were not given the chance. We have the opportunity in 2005 to do so, and we shall.
We will also draw up effective linkages between science and technology and their application, setting sector objectives for the various pure and applied sciences in our research institutions.
In the agriculture sector, for example, we will set as objectives and targets the following for the first of a series of Annual Ghana Science Congresses that we intend calling on assuming office: Resuscitating the rice industry and doubling other grain output particularly, maize, millet and sorghum; tripling the production of roots and tubers; doubling the output of cocoa; reducing post-harvest losses from 25% to 10%; producing disease resistance coconut seedlings, and fine-tuning traditional methods of preserving food.
Similar targets and objects linking science and technology to the demands of the market in other sectors will be set for our science and technology researchers.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT)
The next NDC Government will push for the rapid development of the country’s ICT infrastructure, including the establishment of a reliable national backbone with capacity to carry high-speed voice, video, data, and Internet facilities to all districts of the country.
The national backbone will be linked up with the SAT-3 undersea cable to provide speedy connectivity with the outside world, especially our sub-regional neighbours.
We will build upon the various existing ICT human resource training programmes and develop a critical mass of ICT personnel to satisfy both domestic and external demands.
We will promote the use of ICT in governance, networking the Presidency and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to improve communication and loss of man-hours spent on huge tons of paper work.
Routine information and statistics of MDAs will be made available on their websites for easy access to the public. Electronic versions of various government application forms such as passport, driving licence and vehicle registration forms would be made available on-line to ease the problems that individuals go through in seeking such services.
We shall aim at achieving a 25% paperless office scenario within 8 years.
We will encourage the establishment of outsourced ICT businesses in the country as we did with the ACS/BPS in 1999/2000.
We will revise the legislation on the National Communications Authority to bring it in line with modern trends. In this connection, a special audit of radio spectrum will be conducted and spectrum allocation rationalised in order to encourage optimum efficiency in the use of this finite national resource and prevent the current incidence of interference.
URBAN PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
All our programmes in the urban development sector, including Urban V, Promotion of District Capitals II (PRODICAP II), Danish Support for District Assemblies II (DSDA II) have been continued, as well as the development works that enabled Tamale to be upgraded to a metropolitan status under the ‘Creation of Metropolis (Tamale) Instrument, 2003, E. I. 14, as promised in our 2000 Manifesto.
We shall continue with the uncompleted aspects of those Projects and also tackle Urban VI, a Project designed for the Accra-Tema-Ga conurbation to enhance the capacity of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area as the development, administrative, financial and diplomatic centre of Ghana and the largest concentration of our population.
A similar Project conceived for the Kumasi-Ejisu-Kwabre conurbation will also be revisited.
We will design new urban interventions for the newly-created urban centres under the Local Government (Urban, Zonal and Town Councils and Unit Committees (Establishment) (Amendment) Instrument, 2003, L. I. 1726.
LAW, ORDER AND SECURITY
LAW AND ORDER
We need law, justice and security for development. Unfortunately the NPP Government has carried on with the Danquah-Busia tradition of targeting its political opponents, a tactic they employed with devastating effect against the CPP after the 1966 coup d’etat. In the process, they have made it obvious that the legal system under their administration is political and partisan. The investigative processes are seen more as opposition witch-hunts. The exercise of prosecutorial discretion is seen to be biased against members of the previous NDC administration. There is a perception of “selective justice” and ‘governance with impunity’ in the country, which undermines democracy and good governance.
The NDC reaffirms its belief in, and commitment to, the rule of law the due process of law, and transparent justice. The NDC Government will reverse the unfortunate perceptions, which have beclouded the delivery of justice and will work to ensure that the justice delivery system is seen to be and is fair, expeditious, accessible end even-handed. We will avoid the situation in which courts are “packed” in order to obtain particular decisions. Towards those ends, we will consider the separation of the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice.
The focus on social and criminal legislation, which the previous NDC Government started in 1997, will continue to be reflected in our work in the legal sector. We mentioned some of these in our 2000 Manifesto to include the Protection of Privacy, Surveillance and Interception of Communications, Compensation in Personal Injuries Cases, Bankruptcy and Insolvency, the Rights of the Disabled and the Regulation of Public Nuisance.
The SFO, CHRAJ and other institutions set up to ensure probity and accountability will be adequately resourced and remunerated to enable them perform their roles more effectively. We shall also review their enabling legislation in order to clarify their mandate.
We shall address the perennial problems of the judiciary; most notably the automation of the courts began during the tenure of the last NDC administration, the issue of residential accommodation for the members of the judiciary and court buildings and, most important, staff training.
It was unfortunate that the NPP equated the automation of the courts with the establishment of a Division of the High Court – a so-called “Fast Track”. Significantly, after using those courts for their political purposes, the processes of automation are now being extended to all courts without the confusion of the “Fast Track” label.
We will set up a new and truly non-partisan, professionally competent and independent Presidential Commission to reopen investigations into the murder of the Ya Na, Yakubu Andani II and his followers in March 2002. Nevertheless, we pledge to work to ensure a durable and sustainable peace in Dagbon based on justice and fair play and by a strenuous depoliticisation of the Dagbon crisis.
NATIONAL RECONCILIATION REVISITED
We are disturbed that the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), a potentially powerful tool to address the historical hurts of the country and to heal the wounds of the past, has ended up in regime and personality targeting.
We shall critically study the report of the NRC and be most circumspect in the implementation of its recommendations.
Meanwhile, in the knowledge that the very framework, composition and environment in which the NRC worked prevented some persons from ventilating their complaints, we shall consider a case for the establishment of an NRC II so that all shall have a fair chance of being heard instead of the situation with the present NRC where doors were opened wide for some and others were forced to squeeze through very narrowly opened windows.
NATIONAL SECURITY – PROTECTING THE PEOPLE
The NDC is committed to protecting basic human rights, guaranteeing political and social freedoms and enhancing economic opportunity. It is the surest way to unleash the potential of our people and assure our future prosperity as a nation. The Party is convinced that ultimately, the path to stability, security and peace lies in strengthening democracy, reducing poverty, ensuring equitable distribution of national resources, encouraging political, religious and ethnic tolerance and renewing a cultured sense of social responsibility.
In keeping with these principles, an NDC Government will refrain from misusing the law enforcement agencies to intimidate and harass citizens. The Intelligence and Security agencies will be subjected to democratic control as stipulated in the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996, Act 526, which the first NDC Government worked hard to pass.
In particular, we shall work to erase the perception created under the NPP Government of a partisan police unit established within the Police Service dedicated to the cause of the NPP and whose loyalty is to NPP officialdom only. We shall work with the Police administration to replace that perception with one of a unified, monolithic, politically neutral and efficient Police Service.
The fundamental commitment of our national security policy will be to protect the country and ensure its territorial integrity and the security of its people. An NDC Government will work to reduce crime and create a safe society in which all persons go about their day-to-day activities in peace.
We will strengthen and transform the intelligence and security institutions to meet contemporary threats and challenges including drug trafficking, money laundering, cross-border crime, human trafficking, proliferation of small arms, cyber crime, and pollution and environmental degradation.
We will improve the infrastructure of the security agencies, particularly residential accommodation, and ensure adequate allocation of resources, bearing in mind that the imperatives of contemporary national security concerns require a coordinated and integrated approach at the national and international levels.
In this connection, we shall establish a ‘Security Services Housing Loan Scheme’ which can be accessed by officers and men alike to enable them acquire and own their own houses.
The next NDC Government will build on the foundation it laid in 2000 by sponsoring the establishment of the West African Criminal Intelligence Unit within the ECOWAS to confront emerging sub-regional and trans-national threats.
An NDC Government will therefore strengthen sub-regional initiatives in crime prevention and crime detection and cooperate to make our borders secure.
We also pledge to meet our commitments to global security, including participation in peacekeeping operations and the fight against terrorism.
The Governance framework of the country will determine the extent to which our Manifesto commitments can be implemented. Our commitment to good governance, an efficient, effective and productive government machinery, a decentralised system of administration and an anti-corruption stance should therefore be taken as given.
A carefully nurtured relationship with the media to enable it function aggressively and robustly yet nationalistically as the Fourth Estate of the Realm is also part of the good governance environment that we shall strive to establish.
We restate our commitment to good and participatory governance for the benefit of all our people and for the stable development of the country.
In the belief that partisan politics should be one of friendly competition and not a contest in insults bordering on incitement to violence and public disorder, we shall work with all other political parties towards the attainment of that objective. The coalition of opposition political parties that formed to oppose the ‘Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill’ has provided an appropriate starting point for consultation and cooperation among the political parties and we shall work to have other political parties on board.
We shall respect the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of our Constitution and make sure that political concepts such as the Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, Independence of the Judiciary and Media Independence are respected.
We shall also respect the areas of jurisdictional competence of the independent institutions of the Constitution and grant them the necessary breathing space and financial wherewithal to enable them undertake their constitutional responsibilities.
AN EFFICIENT, PRODUCTIVE GOVERNMENT MACHINERY
The NPP Government that claims to be interested in downsizing government is creating new bureaucracies on the slightest pretext, as with the NHIS, the mass transit buses and the 2.5% “Not VAT” levy. If unchecked, these bureaucracies will grow to levels that will require later rationalisation and downsizing, if not abolition.
While civil servants seek modest improvements in their remuneration that are resisted, these new bureaucracies are started off with much better conditions and also have little control over their expenditures.
All these costs can be avoided by better planning and a more honest approach to taxing the citizenry. An NDC Government will prevent these costs from getting out of control and maintain the resolve that the NDC has always had to evolve an efficient, highly productive government machinery with improvements to remuneration that reflect the higher productivity.
THE DECENTRALISATION AGENDA
We remain committed to the decentralisation policy as conceived by the framers of the Constitution and shall work towards its effective implementation.
We note with satisfaction that Parliament has finally passed the Local Government Service Act. That, together with other existing legislation on Local Government such as the Local Government Act itself, the National Development Planning (System) Act, the District Assemblies’ Common Fund Act and the Institute of Local Government Studies Act will all be reviewed so that they constitute an appropriately coordinated and coherent framework to deliver on the decentralisation agenda.
The NDC is still of the view that the innovative features of the District Assembly system such as the Sub-District administrative structures, the non-partisan nature of the local government system, the allocation of 30% of the seats to chiefs, women and other interest groups and the mode of appointment of District Chief Executives enrich and deepen the local government system and reflect its most cherished features.
In particular, the Unit Committees AND urban, Town and Area Councils (U/T/As) which in many cases exist in name only, will be made effective links between the District Assemblies and the populace.
We shall tackle seriously the outstanding issues of decentralisation, in particular the establishment of the decentralised departments, decentralised planning, fiscal decentralisation and the composite budget system in order to move the decentralisation agenda forward and accelerate the pace of its implementation.
AN ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE
We shall mount a crusade against corruption through a strengthening of the anti-corruption institutions of state. The institutions shall be made independent of political control and freed from political manipulation.
Our anti-corruption crusade will not have any place for the self-serving Office of Accountability set up by the NPP Government and which is perceived more as a protective device to shield corrupt NPP officials of state. We shall accordingly abolish that Office.
As we stated in our 2000 Manifesto, we will make the price of corruption so high that it will be a commodity very few people will want.
We will revise the law and format for Assets Declaration in order to make it more functional and effective in its role of ensuring probity and accountability.
The Party-in-Government will not make any excuses for corrupt Ministers, officials and office-holders generally as well as givers and takers of bribes and corrupting gifts as well.
We shall promptly investigate allegations of corruption, and allow the law to take its course.
Our aim shall be to significantly improve on Ghana’s standing on the Annual World Corruption League Table as published by Transparency International.
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY
We regret the human rights abuses of the PNDC era. We are concerned about the human rights abuses under the NPP Government. The new NDC Government shall work to ensure that there are no human rights abuses under its watch. Ours is to work for human rights to be enjoyed by all as of right, for the dignity of the human being is dependent on guaranteed human rights.
The political and constitutional rights enshrined in the Constitution will be respected and advanced. Equally, the constitutional responsibilities shall be enforced.
Ghana can never be said to be free and Ghanaians cannot be said to be enjoying human rights unless we have the infrastructure, the human resources and the technology that makes the 21st century tick.
We need food and water to enjoy the right to life.
We need to go to school and to be familiar with information technology to enjoy the right to education and knowledge.
We need to be healthy to enjoy the right to the pursuit of happiness.
We need roads to enjoy the right to freedom of movement.
We need energy to exercise the right to full employment.
For the NDC, therefore, the most basic human rights are the necessities for existence – food, water, shelter, clothing, education, medical care, security of life and property, work and the opportunity to live and develop in peace and dignity, and we shall work towards the attainment of all these.
Similarly, we shall implement programmes to actualise the rights of children, the aged, the sick and the physically challenged.
We consider the humane treatment of those accused of human rights abuses an important part of our human rights agenda.
Our experience in opposition under the NPP Government, where our people have suffered harassment, intimidation, prosecution and persecution, has taught us the futility of the pursuit of the path of vengeance and revenge.
It is therefore our pledge that under the next NDC administration, there will be no political vengeance, there will be no political vendetta and there will be no political vindictiveness.
We shall also take steps to review the law on “causing financial loss” and other laws especially of military regimes whose selective application have generated political controversy in order to ensure that they will no longer be resorted to for the purpose of settling political scores.
THE MEDIA – THE FOURTH ESTATE OF THE “REPUBLIC”
A socially responsible media as the Fourth Estate of the “Republic” plays an important role in the dissemination of information, for education and for entertainment. The NDC recognises that in a young democracy, the tools of information and communication should be responsibly used to promote national unity and to ensure the stability and security of the state.
A plural media such as exists in Ghana today, giving vent to divergent views and opinions, is necessary for a healthy, democratic society. An NDC Government will safeguard free expression and when necessary review any laws that could hinder freedom of speech, except those laws necessary to protect the reputation and integrity of others.
The NPP Government’s rhetoric of expanding the frontiers of freedom is matched only by its policy of intimidation to silence its critics and blatant manipulation especially of the state-owned media. Through this means, the Government has sought to emasculate sections of the otherwise critical and robust Ghanaian media.
An NDC Government will maintain a principled relationship with the media, constantly reminding each other that what is right under one government does not suddenly become wrong when the government changes hands.
An NDC Government will expect the media to be fair, objective and truthful. We will join forces in the true spirit of partnership for national development. It is our pledge not to encourage or support any section of the media to wage attacks on political opponents, using the instruments of disinformation, political vendetta and gratuitous insults.
The next NDC Government will institute a monthly nationwide radio broadcast for President John Evans Atta-Mills as a platform to engage Ghanaians in discussion of pertinent issues.
President Atta-Mills will also hold Quarterly “Breakfast Sessions” with senior journalists at which he will brief them about pertinent issues of the quarter and interact with them on the concerns of the people.
A conscious effort will be made to ensure that members of the NDC Government have regular interaction with the media to facilitate the flow of information. In this regard, we make a pledge for greater openness, transparency and accessibility.
Under the next NDC Government, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation will continue to be a public service broadcaster. Within six months of our assumption of office, its enabling legislation will be reviewed to safeguard its editorial independence, redefine its key objectives and public obligations and ultimately make it more accountable to the people. Rehabilitation and modernisation works at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation initiated by the previous NDC administration will be pursued in earnest.
The state-owned print media will be listed on the stock exchange to allow for local private sector participation and also enable the Ghanaian public acquire shares in them.
The career progression and development of journalists will engage our serious attention, and a programme of sponsorship of journalists for further courses will be embarked upon.
An NDC Government will strengthen the National Media Commission by providing it with the power of enforcement of the decisions of its Complaints Settlement Committee.
The Ghana News Agency will be assisted to improve and further modernise its capacity for news gathering and dissemination within Ghana and internationally.
Work will commence on a permanent new campus for the Ghana Institute of Journalism at its new site.
CHIEFTAINCY AND CULTURE
CHIEFTAINCY – A SACRED INSTITUTION
The positive cultural elements of the institution of chieftaincy shall be guaranteed.
We appreciate the rationale behind Article 276(1) of the Constitution barring chiefs from taking part in active party politics and will utilise the provision in Clause (2) of the Article to appoint chiefs to public offices for which they are qualified.
We shall actively support the National House of Chiefs and all Regional Houses of Chiefs to play effective roles in the developmental efforts of the country and their respective traditional areas.
We will resource the Chieftaincy Secretariat as well as the National House of Chiefs to enable them be more pro-active in dealing with chieftaincy disputes and upholding the honour of the institution of chieftaincy.
OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE
A dynamic cultural development shall be a major concept that will drive the next NDC Government’s national programme on culture.
The new NDC Government shall see to the completion of all the abandoned or suspended regional Centres of National Culture and commence a programme for establishing fully functional Centres for National Culture in all the district capitals.
National cultural institutions such as the National Theatre, the Du Bois Memorial Centre, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and others shall receive concentrated attention for refocusing the various programmes run by them.
A national cultural policy review shall take into account such objectives as culture for the youth, culture in education and culture as part of leisure. Culture is an important element in tourism development, but its principal importance is in the enrichment of our own lives.
The NDC Government will assist less endowed traditional authorities to document their culture and history so as to bring to the fore the full range of Ghana’s cultural tapestry.
The development and support for our national culture shall recognise unity in diversity and recognise the value of culture as an instrument for validating ourselves as an African people, apart from celebrating our intrinsic cultural systems to showcase their richness to the rest of the world.
RELIGION AND MORALITY
The freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practise as enshrined in Article 21(1)(c) of the Constitution shall be respected.
The NDC will continue to value the example and moral guidance that religious leaders provide to society.
The NDC recognises that the foundation of morality resides in the family. The abandonment of sound upbringing of children and the inculcation of moral values can, to a large extent, be attributed to the pursuit of material gain. This applies equally to parents affected by poverty seeking to survive by any means and with no time to spare for their children, and to the wealthy parents who substitute generous handouts for parental love and guidance.
The NDC Government will respect and encourage the cultivation of family values as an important aspect of the nation’s spiritual and moral growth.
The NDC shall redefine the country’s original African-centred foreign policy bequeathed to the nation by the founding fathers with its focus on West African integration as a prerequisite to African Unity.
We pledge to honour all our legitimate international obligations, both contractual and consensual, and irrespective of which governments entered into them in the past.
ECOWAS – SUB-REGIONAL INTEGRATION
To this end, Ghana under an NDC Government will enhance her role within ECOWAS by providing a balanced approach to the problems confronting each country in the sub-region, with a concentration on such issues as the creation of the Free Trade and Borderless Zone, the establishment of the Single Monetary Zone, and communication linkages.
We shall also, within the ECOWAS framework, address the issues of cross border crime, cattle transhumance, drug trafficking, trafficking in children, and the movement of illegal arms.
We shall through education and other means sensitise the people of the sub-region to the advantages of sub-regional integration, especially with regards to peace and security issues, and move the ECOWAS agenda from the level of politicians and officialdom to a people to people level, especially involving the youth.
NEPAD – A NEW AFRICAN PARTNERSHIP
An NDC Government, within the framework of NEPAD on “Good Governance”, shall take an active interest in opposition parties in order to enhance the regional governance agenda.
We will strongly urge the signatories to NEPAD, in the application of the Peer Review Mechanism, to avoid a review of their African peers in election years in their countries as this is likely to substitute the judgement of the reviewing peers for the judgement of the people of the country, normally delivered during elections.
AFRICAN UNION FOR AFRICAN UNITY
The NDC rejects unilateral political and foreign alliances without the kind of bi-partisan support necessary for the collective defence of our territorial integrity. We shall be relentless in the pursuit of our historic mission of championing the cause of Pan-Africanism and continental unity within the framework of the African Union and the emancipation of the black and other oppressed people throughout the world.
An NDC Government shall also strengthen ties already cultivated with our kinsmen and their organisations in the Diaspora, paying renewed attention to “Panafest” and “Emancipation” as important landmarks in demonstrating our Pan-African commitment, and not merely as tourist attractions.
GHANA AND THE WORLD
An NDC Government shall take Ghana’s active participation in world affairs beyond the African Union, in the work of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, its peacekeeping missions and such other international organisations devoted to world peace, stability and development.
The election of our compatriot, Kofi Annan, as Secretary-General of the United Nations during the tenure of the NDC Government and his subsequent re-election for a second term, is of great significance and pride to Ghana. The next NDC Government will give its support to this top diplomat of the world in his service, particularly in implementing the special policies that he announces from time to time, especially those relating to global peace.
Ghana under an NDC Government shall retain her active role in the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement and enhance her participation in South-South cooperative efforts. The country will support and express solidarity with oppressed peoples all over the world.
Within the Commonwealth, we will work to uphold nationally and internationally the Harare Principles stressing the values of democracy and good governance.
We will re-assess Ghana’s diplomatic representation around the globe, especially in developing countries, with a view to making them more effective in the quest for south-south solidarity, economic cooperation among developing countries, world peace and a more just international economic order.
Our foreign policy shall be in support of world peace, justice for all, and in support of not only good neighbourliness, but also of support for fair and equitable handling of affairs in all countries of the world.
We stand against international terrorism with its attendant harm and distress to innocent persons and will join forces with the international community to work for its elimination from the world.
The NDC has experienced its first period in opposition since we emerged as a political organisation in 1992. Any illusion that we had about the hidden agenda of the NPP and their vindictive character was quickly shattered by the systematic policy of humiliation, harassment, intimidation, prosecution and persecution.
But arising out of this experience, we have emerged a hardened, battle-weary band of political warriors, ready to push out the vengeful, incompetent and non-performing NPP Government and re-assume the mantle of the country’s leadership.
The resilience of the NDC has proven itself in the way we have overcome the false charges of criminality and corruption shamelessly foisted on us by the NPP, the way we have broken loose the farcical “reconciliation” albatross hung around our necks, and by the way the foot soldiers of the Party have stood shoulder to shoulder with the leadership in keeping the spirit and the soul of the NDC alive.
This Manifesto represents our plans and programmes for getting Ghana back on course.
We are determined to live up to our philosophy of social democracy to create a society of fairness for all.
Empowerment is our goal: putting within the reach of each individual Ghanaian the opportunity to fulfil his or her true potential.
Our programme is about making sure that we grow enough food to deed ourselves and for our industries.
Our programme is about making education qualitative, available and inexpensive.
Our programme is about making health care accessible and within the reach of the average Ghanaian.
Our programme is about creating jobs through pragmatic and innovative policies that ensure a growing and sustainable economy.
Our Manifesto is inspired by the values of human solidarity, social justice, fairness, equality of opportunity and social responsibility.
The NDC does not subscribe to policies and actions that help a few to prosper at the expense of the many, as have happened under the Kufuor administration.
The NDC will create conditions that will enable Ghanaians overcome today’s insecurity and hardships by equipping them to survive and prosper in a fair society.
The Manifesto is also a call to a struggle for meaningful democracy. It is a reminder that we may have lost the electoral battle in 2000, but that the larger struggle for true democracy and for the conquest of poverty, ignorance and general under-development is yet to be waged, let alone won.
It is a struggle that we have to win by all means if we are to restore dignity, hope and prosperity to the people of Ghana.
Winning the struggle means winning the 2004 elections.
That is why the NDC needs your vote.
We need your vote to establish a Government that is believed and trusted by the people.
We need your vote to establish a Government that tells the truth.
We need your vote to establish a Government of humility and sensitivity.
We need your vote to banish arrogance and vindictiveness from our politics.
We need your vote to establish a Government of honesty and integrity.
We need your vote to establish a Government that is competent.
We need your vote to establish a Government of the people, not of family.
We need your vote to establish a Government that is not corrupt.
We need your vote to establish a Government that will make the hardships of today the nightmare of yesterday.
We need your vote to build “A better Ghana” for all