Monday, 11 July 2016

NPP’s Policy Statement

During these early days yet to political campaigning for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, candidates are making statements meant to achieve electoral favours which are expected to translate into wining votes. There is no denying this because otherwise, there would be no point making such declarations of intent such as Nana Akufo Addo has in recent days. The NPP's Presidential hopeful has said a few things which have lit a debate which has generated the predictable political split wracking this nation. Opinion differences are best for politically-based democratic governance. However, more than much depend on the context and manner the variations are discussed and ideally the goal of the effort is for a consensus to action what is or are proposed, either continuing in the same direction or switch the processing. That means either overhaul or piecemeal. The news reported policy enunciations have three highlights, constructing a factory in every district, a wholesale turning all polytechnics into universities, a one fell swoop insisted and instead of current piecemeal transit-approach and fixing the monetary system. As usual there is more of rude remarks-trading in the media than substances. The consequences are fudging the reality, issues arising and lose the sense or otherwise in the arguments for and against.

On the blanket coverage of the country with factories, it is too obvious that it is a nonstarter adventure. Firstly, the kinds of factories are unknown and secondly it is not feasible as much as thirdly, the means that the source of cash to invest in them as Nana Akufo-Addo himself maintains after the country is a broke man. He owes it to the country to show how and wherefrom just like the SHS flopped kite that campaigned and lost 2012. The polytechnics one jump for all is disingenuous. The establishment of polytechnics in this country has its own unique history. It started as a diploma program. It was one at a time and at the Regional capitals developmentally. It is untrue that the yet to be transited into universities are disadvantaged because there are strict procedures for acquiring university status, this is too well-known and not in the hands of any government's fiat or authority to politicize. With reference to fixing the monetary system Nana Akufo Addo reportedly said "everything John Mahama does, there is no proper preparation and there is no proper follow through for the idea."

Again, the critique seriously lacks evidence of preparation by the proponent because there are no back-ups to explain both the rush and cost and manpower. As far as can be recollected neither the NPP administration nor this present NDC led government which the NPP's preceded declared a positive position to tidy up monetary and fiscal systems in only one of two principal optional possible ways-let the cedi continue to float or tie it to some other international currency.

Historically, the tie up idea was broached by the PP government under Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia. The PP is the NPP's political parent after it reassembled in an untidy rapprochement from a broke up into UNC led by Paa Willie [William Ofori Atta] and the PFP headed by Victor Owusu. It is worth pointing that the cedi was worth two to one pound sterling before the 1966 overthrow of the first Republic and the monetary serial devaluations of which the most biting was the NPP's father PP government. Indeed the NLC held the same economic philosophy, but confessed a hope, something significantly constructive and instructive that its successor which turned up to be the PP, can at least start from a situation that could form the basis for steady economic advance without constant crisis. However, the successor PP but NPP today devalued worse than all before and after.

The point in the reference is not to apportion blame for the state of the economy despite being plain but to draw the lessons from the history to advise the future to note. It is best summed up in a poignant recall by Sam Odoi Sykes, a most senior NPP also one of handful alive, the reals ideologically and a former national chairman had advised in a public forum urging the politicians and political parties to cease from playing political football with the economy. He knew how unsafe.

By PROF. NANA ESSILFIE-CONDUAL, A POLITICAL HISTORIAN AND CHAIR OF JOURNALISM AT AUCC

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