Kufuor Leaves Indelible Legacies

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor who bowed out of office a few days ago, has undoubtedly left great legacies that would always be remembered by all Ghanaians.

Kufuor Leaves Indelible Legacies He would become a living legend in this country because of the various social and economic policies he initiated or accomplished.

His second term of office led to several of these programmes and projects that were executed or presently being carried out.

Today, CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE looks at some of the social and microeconomic fundamentals that the former President left, which have had great influence on the people of Ghana.

Former President Kufuor’s good governance, human resource development and private sector development agenda have to a large extent put the country in a good stead to realize its dream of a middle income status by 2015.

In 2000, when former President Kufuor took office, the daily minimum wage was fixed at GHp35.05 or 58 US cents.

However within eight years, the daily minimum wage has shot up remarkably to GH¢2.25.

An economist with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Dr. Robert Osei, commenting on this, said this development was good for the nation but the current government needs to enhance it.

The fair wages and single spine salary was also introduced as part of the ex-president’s policies to create a single spine pay policy for public sector workers. Undoubtedly, the new government would have to implement it.

The National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) was also a glamorous programme introduced by the former government in October 2006. It was acknowledged by all since it serves to address the huge unemployment problem plaguing the nation.

Under the NYEP, some over 100,000 Ghanaians, mostly young graduates from the country’s universities, polytechnics and senior secondary schools were employed.

They were engaged by public sector institutions such as government departments, agencies, hospitals and polyclinics. While others were engaged as Community Protection Assistants some were given assistance to go into farming.

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) was also another remarkable programme introduced by ex-President Kufour’s administration in March 2008, seeking to empower the people to fight poverty.  

The LEAP Programme is a National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) which provide direct cash transfer to support the extreme poor or people described as the poorest of the poor, vulnerable and excluded sections of the population.

Ghana’s Living Standard Survey (GLSS) shows that poverty trends indicated an estimated 35 percent of Ghanaians are poor. These sections of the people have the capacity to meet their basic nutritional needs but cannot cater for additional needs such as health, shelter, clothing and education.

Therefore the LEAP was a brilliant programme, as many socio-political analysts assert.

When fuel prices went up mid 2008 due to the fact that crude oil price had reached a record $147 on the world market, President Kufuor’s five-pronged policy intervention to cushion the economy against the then shocks brought by escalating global prices of essential commodities was welcomed by many economists. Taxes on some petroleum products and food were reduced substantially.

The construction of the 400megawatts hydroelectric dam, expected to be completed in 2012 as well as the construction of some thermal plants would drastically improve the country’s energy situation.

On social policies, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the public school’s Capitation Grant, School Feeding and the Micro-Credit Scheme and Small Loan Centre (MASLOC) were all described as laudable programmes.

With a new government in place, Ghanaians would expect more.

At Wednesday’s swearing-in, President John Evans Atta Mills expressed his government’s readiness to forge a fruitful relationship with the business community.

 President Mills said the new administration would create a favourable business atmosphere to resuscitate dying local businesses, and to make it at par with foreign businesses to achieve economic development.

According to him, the situation whereby local businesses suffer unfair disadvantages as a result of cheap imports would be a thing of the past.

Government, he said, would focus on job creation, expansion of the country’s infrastructure, and investment in the people.

All these among the political promise of reducing a gallon of petrol to GH¢2.00 are what Ghanaians are awaiting for.

By Charles Nixon Yeboah & Sheila Sackey