The Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party has stated that his party is preparing a comprehensive programme of industrialization and modernization that can transform Ghana’s economy in a matter of one decade.
“What Ghana needs is a structural transformation of her economy. We cannot improve the lives of the mass of our people if we remain a raw material producing nation,” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated.
Addressing the closing ceremony of a workshop organized for NPP researchers from the ten regions Wednesday, Nana Addo lamented the fact that President J.E.A. Mills did not seem to recognize how lucky he was, as President, to have inherited an expanded economy, with record high gold and cocoa prices.
“On top of that, Ghana is now oil rich,” he said.
“This newfound wealth presents an additional opportunity for a visionary leader with a programme to take critical steps to transform our economy. If we continued on the old path to rely on crude oil exports, we would end up getting the same low value economy that we have gotten from gold and cocoa over the last century. This must change.”
The NPP leader believes Ghana has what it takes “to position ourselves as the Taiwan or Brazil of the West African region of more than a quarter of a billion people. That is the way to go.” He said Ghana and other West African countries are now importing an ever -increasing percentage of their food products from Brazil.
“With the right programme in place, in the next ten years, Ghana can become a self-sustainable, confident economy, in many ways, with an extensive, modern agricultural industry that will feed our neighbours and beyond.”
Taking a dig at the Mills-Mahama administration, Nana Addo referred to the problems with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
“That was the vision behind our Northern Development Authority programme which was sadly turned into a mere propaganda, electoral tool by our opponents under sad SADA. We will resurrect that programme to transform the North and for the benefit of Ghana’s larger transformation programme,” he promised.
Nana Addo referred to the opportunities, which in his view, have gone amiss under the current Government.
He reminded his audience of the “deliberate programme by President Kufuor to lay a solid foundation for Ghana’s economic platform, based on our basic principles of freedom, fairness and fraternity. We had introduced a consumer credit economy, with a vibrant banking sector, we had introduced the most significant social engineering programme with the national health insurance and we were rapidly expanding access to education and expanding Ghana’s physical infrastructure. Unfortunately all these programmes, which we had hoped to build on, are today undergoing a systematic programme of rationing, at best.”
He said, Ghana has the landmass, natural resources, human resource, political stability, economic freedoms and individual freedoms that can be “consciously optimized to transform our economy and bring prosperity to every Ghanaian door step. We must get going. We need that can-do leadership vim to get us going and fast,” he stressed.
Pointing to the ruling National Democratic Congress, Nana Addo said, “We are wasting time under this incompetent, do little government. The world is not waiting for us. Ghanaians are waiting for leadership and direction. We have a responsibility to give that to them,” he told his party people, urging them to prepare well to win power in 2012.
He said he was drawing a lot of inspiration from the Brazilian experience, where within a matter of one decade, President Lula da Silva, managed to transform the nation “from a perennial underachiever into one with strong economic clout, and model social programmes which have brought unprecedented prosperity to the people.”
Nana Addo, in urging Ghana to learn lessons from the South American country’s experience, said, “Brazil’s middle class population has grown by some 29 million in 8 years and another 20 million people, nearly as many as Ghana’s population, have been pulled up from poverty. There is no reason why with the three Ds – Dedication, Discipline and Determination – we cannot achieve similar success in Ghana. If Lula can do it for Brazil, NPP can do it for Ghana,” he said to wide applause.
Nana Addo articulated his vision, which is to transform Ghana from, what he called, “A Guggisberg Economy” to what his audience, in response, instinctively termed, “an Akufo-Addo Economy”.
He explained the transformation as including “a new economy that makes Ghana the bread basket for West Africa and the entire Sahelian belt, a centre for light manufacturing industries and the financial centre of our region. This is the programme that, by the grace of God, we will present to the people of Ghana and implement after 2012. It would be ambitious, planned and doable.”
Nana Addo who returned south from a trip to Yendi Tuesday, spoke to the party workshop on the philosophy of the NPP and his vision for Ghana.
The three-day workshop, which took place at Mankesim, was attended by Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, National Chairman, Fred Oware, First Vice Chairman, Moctar Bamba, National Organiser, Otiko Djaba, Women’s Organiser, Anthony Kabor, National Youth Organiser, Abubakari Suleimana, Nasara Coordinator, Victor Newman, Brigadier Odei, Martin Adjei, resource persons, including Peter Mac Manu and Nana Yaw Attafuah, and the party’s regional research officers, among others.