Politics of Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Source: Today Newspaper
As the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) marks three years of existence as a political party, its 2012 flag-bearer, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has highlighted some programmes that the party would execute to improve the lot of Ghanaians when voted into power. And key among these programmes, Dr. Nduom pointed out, was that a PPP administration would “create a united Ghanaian society.” Dr. Nduom made the statement on Ghana, Great and Strong, a non-partisan program which is hosted every Saturday by himself, and streamed live on www.hedjorleonlineradio Ghana’s premier internet radio. The programe is sometimes also aired on Ahomka FM in Elmina, Central region and Amansan TV in Accra. According to him, “true progress cannot be obtained without a unified Ghana, saying only new national unity can reinvent Ghana.”
He continued that a PPP government would build one solid team Ghana by reinventing Ghanaian attitudes and ways of life.
Dr. Nduom added that an 18-year-old today has never known life under a military dictatorship and the vast majority of the country’s population was under 35 years old.
“We have millions of young men and women desperate to get better healthcare, education and jobs. We now know, for certain, that the Ghanaian people are sitting on top of trillions of dollars of gold, oil, bauxite, iron ore, diamonds and vast tracts of fertile land desperate for simple irrigation. For the first time in the Fourth Republic, it is clear that we have the youthful demand and the bountiful resources for dramatically improved education, healthcare and jobs,” he said.
He recounted how on February 25, 2012, a determined, progressive group of like-minded men and women from all over the country held a convention to outdoor a focused, vibrant, independent-minded and progressive political movement called the Progressive People’s Party. Dr. Nduom explained that the PPP chose the sun as its symbol and also adopted the legendary Bob Marley’s song, “Sun is shining” because “Ghanaians were in darkness and needed the sun to shine on [issues including] corruption, diseases, poverty, unemployment etc.” He insisted that there was no gainsaying the fact that PPP was a credible political party today. “We have worked selflessly to organise a credible, united, disciplined political party. We have worked tirelessly towards visibility and great strength everywhere in Ghana. We have prepared a clear, specific platform for accelerated change that we will use to deliver world class healthcare, education and jobs to Ghanaian society in our lifetime. All we need to start this transformation in Ghana is competence and incorruptible leadership,” he stressed.
However, Dr. Nduom contended that the country would not benefit from the abundant natural resources it was endowed with, unless there was in place a leadership that was “truly democratic” and did not aim to be an elected dictatorship, noting that a leadership that was prepared to give some of its power to the people in order to unleash the energy of self-determination.
To this end, he gave the assurance that a PPP government would give power back to the people to ensure broad national development and prosperity.
On jobs, Dr. Nduom said: “we stand on the platform of jobs, jobs, jobs, for every Ghanaian who wants to work.”
He noted that his party would form a union with teachers to provide high quality free, compulsory and continuous education from the kindergarten to Senior High School which would be the foundation for job creation in Ghana.
The end-game, he said, was to get Ghanaians well prepared for the millions of high grade jobs that the PPP would inject into the Ghanaian economy.
“Ours is quality education with a purpose. From today, when you hear PPP, think jobs, prosperity and peace,” Dr. Nduom indicated.
Another equally important agenda of the PPP, according to Dr. Nduom, was the party’s affirmative action for women.
He indicated that the PPP would encourage women in Ghana to embrace the progressive, humanistic and common sense attitude of the party.
He further disclosed that the PPP currently have women of all kinds—business women, nurses, traders, fishmongers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc., who had joined and taken their places around the party’s decision-making table adding that “we want many more to join.”
“If you vote for the PPP, the PPP promises to rally all Ghanaians to work harder and more diligently to implement affirmative action policies and programmes to give our women opportunities to develop their potentials in life” he stressed.
On the FCUBE, Dr. Nduom said a PPP administration would allow more teen girls to receive decent education just as the boys.
“Education, as a great equaliser will provide equal opportunity in life to our women,” he noted.
He also added that the PPP would set aside a minimum of 20% of parliamentary seats for women candidates.
According to him, affirmative action in politics cannot be done by just reducing nomination fees.
Instead, he said affirmative action was about building skills, providing training and working diligently to guarantee seats and positions to make it possible to break male domination in the legislature.
He continued that the PPP would institute a Women Enterprise Development Agency to train, encourage and promote the growth and development of women entrepreneurs in the country.
That, he said, would include technical assistance, low interest loans and the setting aside of portions of government contracts to enterprises founded by women.
Concerning what the PPP would do about education, Dr. Nduom stated that it would provide quality education for every Ghanaian child.
“We will standardize school facilities from kindergarten to Senior High School with libraries, toilets, classrooms, kitchen, housing for teachers, playground, etc; and ensure free and compulsory education in public schools from kindergarten to Senior High School (SHS) including ICT training,” he affirmed.
And to ensure that the “compulsory” aspect is enforced, Dr. Nduom reiterated that the PPP would deploy “Education Police” to make it work.
An integral part of this objective, he asserted, would be an objective to significantly increase vocational training so that all school leavers would gain employable skills.
He went on to say that the PPP would invest in the building of complete school compounds across the country including housing for teachers and the upgrading of teacher training institutions, saying “Science, Technology, Education, Math and Arts (STEMA) will be at the heart of our efforts.”
In the estimation of Dr. Nduom, education is a better driver of a nation’s economy than gold, oil, gas and such other natural resources.
“The PPP is determined to give priority to the implementation of our policy in national budgets. We will fund the free, compulsory, continuous education vision through government revenue primarily by reducing waste, competent administration and checking corruption,” he emphasied.
The PPP flag-bearer said the initial estimated total budget allocation for 5 years for the implementation of the FCUBE policy would be about GHC5.5 billion.
The PPP, he continued, would also ensure a cleaner environment free from preventable diseases like malaria, cholera and guinea worm.
“We believe that just like countries in the Americas, Europe and elsewhere became malaria-free, so can Ghana with the right leadership from PPP.
“We will ensure emergency care throughout the country to save lives. Our focus will be in the area of prevention where education is the key. Fifty five years on, we still suffer severely from the grip of preventable diseases. Preventable diseases rob our nation of an energetic workforce as a result,” he lamented.
Preventable diseases such as cholera and malaria, Dr. Nduom said, can be dealt with by simply managing the environment.
“We in the PPP are convinced that this responsibility largely lies with effective leadership,” he stated.
Touching on what a PPP government would do in the regional capitals, he claimed that the party was the only political party in the country at the moment that had done research on the economic benefits Ghana stands to gain. For instance, he cited Ashanti region as where gold abounds but added that the region does not serve as a source of mass employment.
Against this background, he indicated that the PPP will promote the setting up of a gold refinery with its related factories for the manufacturing of jewelry and with government facilitation to attract international buyers to make market and create jobs.
He indicated that the PPP would also seek support from Otumfuo to develop a new international airport to place Kumasi on the travel map and open up the region to international tourism, trade and commerce.
“We will seek public private partnerships to create a factory to produce cocoa sacks and footwear in the region. We could export these products to other countries in Africa,” Dr. Nduom stated.
In the Western region, he said, a PPP administration would reward the people in the region with infrastructure that would complement its contribution to the nation.
For example, he said first class highways would be built to connect Shama to Elubo to Enchi, Akontombra, Tarkwa, Bogoso, Prestea, Dadieso, Awaso and make travel to Dunkwa and Tarkwa much easier.
He added that Sekondi-Takoradi would once again become a proud railway hub.
“A PPP administration will re-develop Western region towns and cities beginning with the oil belt into modern, environmentally sound communities,” he observed.
A petrochemicals industry, Dr. Nduom suggested, would be critical for Western region.
“We will process gas and refine our crude oil to use its by-products, produce bitumen, polyester, plastics and petroleum jelly,” he reassured.
“The Western region will become a leader in the African bio-fuels industry. We would assist Ghanaian firms in the ownership and development of palm oil plantations. We will use science and technology to plant hybrid plants that mature in 17 months instead of 7 years,” he stressed.