Ghana’s main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, is preparing to launch its 2012 Manifesto on Saturday, August 25. But, before then, The New Statesman can reveal, exclusively, that the document lays out a detailed programme on how to transform Ghana, under “an action-oriented, transformational leader”.
The NPP believes the National Democratic Congress has failed and must be changed for hope and confidence to be restored in order to move Ghana forward.
The 2012 NPP Manifesto begins with a bold statement: “Ghana is ready for transformation. But, before that can take place we need to, first, change the current drivers of the vehicle… Transformation is beckoning, change is due.”
To the NPP, there are talented Ghanaians everywhere who must be encouraged to give active support to Ghana’s transformation.
Accordingly, “Nana Akufo-Addo is determined to identify and develop new talents and engage our best minds to drive the forward movement of Ghana,” the document will assure.
Above all, the NPP believes, “The agenda of transforming Ghana requires a presidency that will act as the force in driving the public sector to work for the people and encouraging the private sector to go for gold; a presidency that will provide the vision, direction and inspiration for the people to excel. What the NPP is offering is a leadership that will deliver. We will govern with decisive action plans and timetables, and allocate resources prudently,” the manifesto will say.
The NPP argues that Ghana has been denied of any clear leadership direction under this third NDC government and the nation cannot continue squandering opportunities under the NDC. The NPP accuses the ruling NDC of reducing governance to greed, lies and propaganda gimmicks.
Still on leadership, the NPP sees it as key to unleashing Ghana’s potential: “Our nation’s potential for greatness is immense. This potential can only be harnessed and achieved with the right leadership. The NPP sees the task ahead as two-fold: transformational leadership and competent management of national affairs. By tackling our leadership and management weaknesses, we will unleash the talents of the Ghanaian people and build a great nation with the people of Ghana and for the people of Ghana,” the NPP Manifesto will say.
In Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP believes Ghana has just the right kind of leader for this right kind of moment.
“Our leader and Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, is competent, committed, experienced, honest and has a clear vision on how to make Ghana work for you. He is a can-do leader, dedicated to pushing Ghana to succeed,” the document will assert.
The NPP says it wants to “move Ghana forward” and the document explains, “A transformed nation means a transformed economy, a transformed infrastructure, a transformed and much improved quality of life… This change,” the NPP stresses, “requires a clear vision, a can-do leader and the roadmap to get there.”
Nana Addo’s Can-do Spirit
According to Yofi Grant, Co-ordinator of the 2012 NPP Manifesto, the document, which has taken two years to prepare, “offers the roadmap to implementing Akufo-Addo’s vision of having an educated, confident, healthy workforce to drive the industrialisation of Ghana. Nana Addo’s can-do spirit tells him that what other countries have done Ghanaians, too, can do. It is all about decisive leadership, in tune with the concerns and aspirations of the people on the ground; a leadership that the people can buy into.”
Mr Grant continues, “What you will see in the manifesto is the clear, action plan of a transformational leader who is committed to really changing things. Nana is only saying, ‘look guys, we cannot continue failing over 70% of our kids with a failed education system, we cannot expect to make our nation modern and improve the lives of our people if we don’t add value to our economy, help our businesses grow and our young people to have good jobs with good pay. The good news is that, it is doable and we will do it.’ This is Nana’s message to Ghanaians.”
Society of Opportunities
The manifesto’s introductory page sets out what Ghanaians should expect from the next NPP government:
“Our vision is to create a society of opportunities for the Ghanaian people. We recognise that the quality of our nation will be determined by the quality of our people. This means a Ghana that will put the welfare and wellbeing of the people first, enabling them to achieve their aspirations. A transformed economy is key to this happening. Quality education, good healthcare services, skills and knowledge for our children, world-class infrastructure and decent housing are fundamental to building a society of opportunities for every Ghanaian,” the manifesto will say.
Making Ghana Work for You
Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP are also saying to the people of Ghana, “We will make Ghana work for you.”
In the words of the NPP Presidential Candidate, “Key to all this is the all-important project to transform Ghana’s economy. We do not have a choice but to industrialise and add value to our economy. It is this necessary economic paradigm shift that will open up our economy to offer Ghanaians the opportunities, confidence and incentives to live a prosperous life. Ghana must work and we must get it to work for the people.”
Again, in his manifesto statement, Akufo-Addo commits himself to running a government that would give “value for money” and “tackle corruption with vigour and sincerity.”
Sacred Trust: Value for Money
To him, “spending public money must be seen and treated as a sacred trust”, especially by politicians and public servants, in general.
The NPP promises to “tackle Corruption through a principled leadership that sees protecting the public purse as its firm duty.”
The party “will introduce institutional reforms that will enhance the autonomy, confidence and funding of statutory anti-corruption institutions. We will strengthen the institutions of governance so that they work without undue political interference.”
With the NDC borrowing over $13 billion, so far, under their 4-year term, with very little to show for, the driving philosophy of the next NPP government would be the transformation of Ghana, supported by a value-for-money administration of public funds.
Access to Public Goods
The party believes that for it to succeed in meeting the growing demands for access to public goods, such as good education, good healthcare, a more efficient police service and infrastructure, it must be deliberate and disciplined in ensuring that public funds are spent responsibly and public contracts are negotiated in the supreme interest of the state.
The NPP promises to “transform the way our children are educated” and sets out the plan for free, quality public education from Kindergarten to Senior High School, with the training, conditions of service and supervision by and of the teacher at the centre of the new education policy.
Empowering Private Sector
The NPP is lamenting over what it sees as the “unpardonable neglect” of the private sector in Ghana under the NDC. The party aims to increase significantly the current level of public-private-partnership, more so in the provision of electricity, water, and transportation, including roads, railways and aviation.
To the Ghanaian private sector, which is in distress, with low business and consumer confidence, the document assures, “NPP is a party that understands business.”
It would be bold in empowering local businesses, particularly manufacturers, road contractors, farmers and real estate developers, to grow and capture a dominant portion of the domestic market and compete in international markets.
The NPP has a programme to cut down on red tape, while empowering regulatory bodies to enhance standards of service providers and ensure value-for-money for customers. Doing business would also be made easier with a proper address system for our communities, investing in IT-enhanced services in the public sector and implementing the national ID card project.
The state will, therefore, be pro-active in creating the conditions for business, investing wisely and substantially in infrastructure and “freeing up private businesses to flourish and grow and innovate and compete and create good paying jobs for our people,” Akufo-Addo will say in his foreword.
On decentralisation, the next NPP government would work on devolving more power and increasing accountability at the district level.
On waste management, NPP plans to introduce cutting edge green innovations which would turn our waste, including plastic waste, into electricity to feed the national grid, fertiliser for farming and roofing sheets for building construction, for example.
The NPP says it has no intention to reinvent the wheel. “We will only work hard and smart to implement in Ghana the very socio-economic policies that have made nations industrialise and competitive and the lives of their people better.”
The NPP sees the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy to be paramount, and “we will provide the leadership, right policies and effective management to make it happen.”
The document drives home the point: “We cannot enrich the lives of the Ghanaian by continuing to export our raw cocoa beans, our mined gold, our drilled oil, our sawed timber and other raw materials without adding value. We also cannot keep importing even the simplest things we use when we can and should manufacture them here. Our small businesses must be actively supported to get working and producing, thriving and growing to become bigger and better, serving Ghana and beyond.”
The NPP sees farming as crucial to its transformation programme. “Primarily, transforming the Ghanaian economy means transforming agriculture. We will make farming work for the farmer by supporting, not only the big commercial farmer, but also the small and medium scale farmer. We will increase production and value in the agricultural sector to create jobs, make Ghana self-sufficient in food and a major agro-based industrial nation in our region,” the 2012 NPP Manifesto will say.
“For that to happen, change must come now – on December 7, 2012,” the NPP document appeals to the Ghanaian electorate.
The Chairman of the NPP Manifesto Committee is Prof. Yaw Twumasi, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Danquah Institute.
The writer is the publisher of the New Statesman and Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, a policy think tank.