PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE NPP ADDRESSED BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, YAW BUABEN ASAMOA
PARTY REGISTRATION, MMDCEs SELECTION AND IMPACT OF GIADEC
Good afternoon friends of the Media, I bid you a warm welcome to this Friday afternoon interaction.
Today, we will highlight ongoing private sector initiatives that are part of the long term NPP plan to transform the economy to one that adds value to our natural products. NPP has a plan. That plan is to invest in skills through appropriate education, focus on post-harvest security through 1D1F, expand light and heavy industry through the bauxite value chain and increase access to reliable energy and transportation. This plan will generate jobs and incomes over a wide range of activities in the private sector.
For example, the aim in the cocoa sector is to process over 50% of cocoa locally into finished and semi-finished products in order to get a healthy share of the multi-billion dollar market for cocoa products.
Essentially, the prices for raw materials stagnate or roughly remain static whilst that of finished products keep going up. We will be able to buy less and less of what we import if our economy does not process more. Ghana and Ivory Coast produce over 60% of cocoa beans but earnings account for less than 5% of the international market. In 1974, one could buy a Volkswagen Golf car for approximately four thousand Euro in today’s prices. Now, it costs over twenty thousand Euros. So one needs over five times more cocoa money to afford the same thing.
Ladies and gentlemen, to keep up with pricing, we need to add more value. The private sector is best placed to do that. We are therefore complimenting the NPP Government for the private sector initiatives that are set to make a real difference to how jobs and incomes are created in this country.
In the last two weeks, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre hosted an investment summit dubbed “Sparkup; 2021” aimed at further marketing Ghana as the preferred destination for FDI, H.E the President then hosted the “Presidential Business Summit”, bringing together titans of business to dialogue with the Government, after which the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) new partner was unveiled.
Before I look at these a bit more however, ladies and gentlemen, let me address a couple of matters. First is the mass registration exercise of the NPP. Its purpose is to determine the size of our support within polling station areas. In other words, we want to know the number of people who are likely to vote for the NPP in any polling station area. This data will help Polling Station Executives, Coordinators and Constituency Executives with planning for elections, campaigning and logistics. Many Constituencies are doing very well so far.
The mass registration list is not only meant to be used for voting for Party Officers. National Council, using Article 18 of the NPP Constitution will issue guidelines for Polling Station, Coordinator, Constituency Officer, Regional Executive and National Executive Elections. So we are assuring all our polling station executives, Coordinators, and Constituency Executives to open up, work hard and try and capture as many persons who are likely to vote NPP as possible. The names should also go into the books that have been provided. Over 40,000 books have been dispatched and distributed to Polling Stations throughout the country.
All polling station executives should have a schedule that makes them available to support this process with the book in a transparent visible place for all desirous of putting their names down to do so.
The second thing is the eminent publication of the list of MMDCEs. Having patiently waited for the list, we expect the nominees to be accepted in good faith. Every nominee on the list as will be published is a nominee of H.E the President. Therefore, the expectation is that the Party grassroots will respect the choices and receive and support the approval of these nominees for the benefit of the Party. We recognise that not everybody in every Assembly will have their preferred choice. However, we also believe that as much as possible, every eligible candidate has had a fair bite of the selection process.
Ladies and gentlemen, now that the selection process is over, we urge all former contestants and stakeholders to adopt the nominees as their own, encourage smooth confirmation processes, and support approved MMDCEs to deliver the best to their areas. Once the list is published, competition in any form, ought to end.
We urge everybody to be calm and to act in ways that promote good relations at a working level in order to give the nominees the best possible opportunity to work in the interest of the grassroots of the nation. Having said that, we also advise the nominees to, as much as possible, open up and provide space for all shades of opinion in their work.
NDC ELECTION 2020 PROPAGANDA
Ladies and gentlemen, the third issue is external to the NPP. The NDC leadership, especially General Secretary Asiedu Nketiah and former President Mahama, keep making wild allegations about the conduct of the 2020 General Elections. Having lied to their people about winning, they went to the Supreme Court with no evidence of any grievance apart from a declaration that had already been corrected.
When the NPP petitioned the Supreme Court in 2012-2013, we specified in detail over twenty two different electoral infractions including over voting, ghost polling stations and unsigned pink sheets. Every allegation we made was backed by a pink sheet. Without any evidence whatsoever, no pink sheets or collated figures of their own, these leading members of the NDC continue to make wild, speculative allegations.
Unfortunately for them, the integrity of the 2020 electoral process was accepted by the international community, corroborated by local independent observers and called for the NPP by prominent local media. Nine months after the elections, the matter is closed as Ghanaians have shifted their attention to pressing matters of governance.
In the event, it is obvious that these allegations are being made ahead of the internal primaries of the NDC. In seeking the chairmanship of his party, the NDC General Secretary is choosing to denigrate the conduct of the 2020 Elections to curry favour with his grassroots. Yet, he was the star NDC witness who confessed in the Supreme Court that they had not won the election and went further to do the calculations that showed that the NDC had indeed lost miserably. Noted though is that he is expert at manipulating grassroots opinion, so his opponents better watch out.
On the other hand, the premature presidential campaign embarked on by former President Mahama has led to his potential opponents coming out of the woodwork to define the kind of leader they will be seeking in 2024. Opponents of early aspirant Mahama believe the NDC will benefit more from a ‘thinking’ leadership, which will make them ‘credible’. Clearly then, not everyone in the NDC is for needless attacks on the Electoral Commission. Such a strategy may not necessarily be intelligent, according to those who do not support the de-facto candidate. The people who do not support Mahama’s repeated attempts to lead the NDC understand that such attacks may not be in line with a thinking approach to the issues that will drive the 2024 elections.
NPP PLAN FOR JOBS
Ladies and gentlemen, those issues include incomes and jobs. Jobs put money in pockets. Jobs for the many youth and skilled people the country is developing. Value addition through industrialisation creates jobs. Aggressive industrialisation will also boost infrastructure, especially railways, ports and energy generation and expand our GDP. We will export more, earn more foreign exchange and borrow less. That is the goal of the NPP.
An integrated aluminium industry has been a dream of the Gold Coast before Ghana. Bauxite mining since the 1940s could have earned Ghana a lot of value. Indeed, it is in expectation of that value that in the early 1960s, Ghana in partnership with international partners developed the Akosombo Dam and established VALCO. Unfortunately, a refinery was not built. So Ghana did not achieve full value. Rather, raw bauxite continued to be exported cheap and the expensive refined product imported by VALCO for smelting.
Ladies and gentlemen, last Wednesday, His Excellency President Akufo-Addo took a giant step for Ghana when he witnessed the signing ceremony of a project led by GIADEC which is to build a mine and most significantly, a refinery in Ghana. The refinery, the first of two planned, will finally integrate aluminium production in Ghana, creating thousands of jobs, especially in the downstream fabrication sector. Aluminium is the second most used metal in the world. No wonder President Akufo-Addo describes the Integrated Aluminium Industry as core to the industrialisation of Ghana.
GIADEC intends to inject six billion dollars of investment into the aluminium processing sector alone. Its partner industry, Iron and Steel, will also inject massive amounts of capital. The Ghana Integrated Iron & Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) has announced already assessed reserves of 6 billion metric tonnes of iron ore.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is a completely new opportunity for Ghana. It is in the expectation of the difference such huge projects can make to the economy and living standards of Ghanaians that we hope will differentiate NPP from other parties. The NPP has a consistent approach, increasing national wealth through investments in human capital, value for money infrastructure and private sector led value addition to our natural products.
We believe this vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, is that which will finally enable Ghana break through the ranks of industrialised nations from Africa and into the world. With NPP, the future is purposeful and hopeful.
Thank you for your attention.
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