The New Patriotic Party today out-doored its 2012 Manifesto to journalists at a special programme held at the International Press Centre in Accra.
Read Full Manifesto Document Here >>
The manifesto, TRANSFORMING LIVES, TRANSFORMING GHANA, is a 57-page document, which outlines how an Akufo-Addo presidency seeks to bring about socio-economic transformation in Ghana.
The party presented not only what it seeks to do but how it intends to achieve it and the impact it expects to have in transforming the lives of the people of Ghana.
There were eight presentations highlighting different aspects of what the party plans to do if elected into office at the December election. Particular attention was given to Education, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, Jobs and the Economy.
The manifesto has two major flagship policies, Education and Economic Transformation. This is based on the thinking of the Presidential Candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, that, first, Ghana cannot continue being exporter of raw materials and importer of manufactured goods and expect to have the kind of advanced economy that can create a large pool of decent jobs with decent pay for the masses of the people. He has therefore made the issue of industrialization and adding value to the Ghanaian economy, from farming, through manufacturing to tourism, a must-do agenda for his government.
Secondly, Nana Akufo-Addo says Ghana cannot depend on its rich natural resources alone for development and that the current situation whereby over 75% of children who start school do not get up to secondary school education is dangerous, untenable and equal to consigning the youth of this country to a future of hopelessness and joblessness.
He has therefore made the issue of developing an educated and skilled workforce the key to building a free and fair society of opportunities and prosperity in Ghana. So to him, he will not accept as costly and unrealistic what is required to bring education and skills to the young people of Ghana.
Specifically, the NPP policy is to redefine basic education to mean that every Ghanaian child receives at least secondary education. This policy, which comes into full effect in 2014, will ensure that every JHS 3 pupil, after an assessment process in a revamped education system at the primary and JHS level, focusing on quality tuition, will gain automatic admission into secondary school.
In pursuit of this, the NPP has a two-track policy focus in education: (i) access to quality education at all levels (through the partyï¿½s ï¿½Teacher Firstï¿½ programme) and (ii) free Secondary education (comprising all Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational institutes).
Thus, for the party which introduced the Capitation Grant for free basic education, the NPP manifesto is now pledging to take it further by providing free compulsory education for all children in public schools from Kindergarten to Senior High School.
Professor Gyan Baffour, former deputy Minister of Finance in the Kufuor government, made the presentation on education and went to great lengths to explain how the new policy will be rolled out, when it will start, how much it will cost and how the NPP intends to achieve the twin project of providing access to free education and quality education, at the same time.
He took the time to explain how the party came about the GHC77.8 million additional cost for implementing free SHS for 2013. He said, the policy takes effect in September 2013, and in calculating it the party only, as it is normal, took into consideration the budgetary requirement for that year alone, which will involve just one term.
Free education will benefit all SHS and TVET students, those already in the system and new intakes, and the additional cost of that for boarding, lodging, and other fees will cost the taxpayer GHC74 million. In order to bring some form of equity, the NPP will also provide free meals for day students, as well. This will add another GHC3.79 million.
In preparation for the next academic year 2014-15, which will see all JHS students getting into secondary schools, an Akufo-Addo government will immediately spend some GHC213 million to expand facilities at SHS, including dormitories, classroom blocks and rehabilitation and expansion of other facilities, such as sports and laboratories.
Another GHC58 million will be spent on expanding and rehabilitating existing facilities at TVETs across the country.
The party also seeks to bring secondary school institutions closer to communities across the country, as a long-term project. In pursuit of this, GHC378.7 million will be allocated in 2013 for the establishment of 350 secondary schools within cluster schools across the country.
The NPP also anticipates day students having to travel some distance away from their homes to attend secondary school once that becomes compulsory. So, for 2013, GHC25 million will be spent to acquire new buses for students.
At the media launch, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Akufo-Addoï¿½s running mate showed how the economy can be managed under competent and dedicated hands. He spoke about the need to ensure value for money in negotiations and award of contracts and stabilizing the cedi to bring back both business and consumer confidence which are at an all time low, according to the Bank of Ghanaï¿½s own survey.
He spoke about the areas that the next NPP government will focus on in order to achieve the goal of adding value to our natural resources, creating linkages, encouraging the banks to fund the identified growth pillars, and freeing up the private sector to lead the transformation agenda and create jobs for the people.
He said the next government will have no choice but to name our streets, establish the now botched national identification system and work towards encouraging more businesses to be operated under the formal sector.
Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, MP for Bantama and former Deputy Minister for Water, Works and Housing, spoke on the new paradigm that the NPP seeks to introduce in the provision of housing.
The NPP has a programme to build 400,000 housing units within the next four years in partnership with the private sector. Many of the new homes will target the rental market, without requiring exorbitant advance payments form tenants.
The NPP housing policy will be targetting all levels of workers, from providing hostels and bedsits to street porters, hawkers, artisans etc., to providing flats and houses to nurses, teachers, civil servants, security personnel and others.
The party said it will begin by completing the over 5,000 units started by President Kufuor which the NDC has abandoned and set up a Housing Agency to undertake the coordination and implementation of a comprehensive housing policy that will see to land banks being acquired, new residential areas being built in order to ease the pressures of space in the city centres.
Dominic Nitiwul, MP for Bimbilla, spoke on Infrastructure and emphasized the superior record the NPP has against the NDC, especially in providing roads, access to water and electricity. For instance, while the NPP on an average built over 4,000km of new roads every year, the NDC has only added 1,000km to Ghanaï¿½s roads since 2009, he said.
Dr. Matthew Prempeh, MP for Manhyia spoke about how the NPP intends to tackle the culture in Ghana where little value is put on the lives of the people and Ghanaians suffer needless deaths. The NPP will resurrect the NHIS, which an Oxfam report last year said was all but dead, make it free for every child and pregnant mother to get medical care and expand the numbers of facilities, health workers and professionals. Mr. Isaac Osei, MP for Subin, made the presentation on Agriculture, Trade and Industry. The former Cocoa Board Chief Executive, spoke on the partyï¿½s plans to modernize agriculture as a pivot of the transformation agenda. He said the NPP knows that no transformation can succeed without agriculture and farmers being at the centre of it and the party was committed to improving the lives of farmers and adding value to their business.
Ms Gloria Akuffo, the former deputy Attorney General, made the presentation on Governance and made a commitment that the NPP in government will pass the Freedom of Information law. The strong session on anti-corruption measures drew applause from the journalists. The NPP will strengthen all anti-corruption organisations and reform the laws to make them bite better.
Ms Adwoa Safo, the aspiring MP for Dome-Kwabenya, made the presentation on the Youth and put herself right in the centre of the fight for the youth vote. She reminded the youth of Ghana that all the transformational policies of the NPP are for their wellbeing ï¿½ education, skills and the economy, for instance, will help them gain access to good jobs with good pay.
Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the former Deputy Foreign Minister and MP for Weija, made the presentation on Foreign Affairs and said Ghana can be trusted to play a leadership role in the agenda for regional integration under an Akufo-Addo presidency.
She said, economic diplomacy will be pursued in an intelligent, competent, confident and patriotic manner, different from what we are seeing now, to ensure that Ghanaï¿½s interest in the wider world is always protected and promoted.
Nana Akufo-Addo wrapped up the presentations by giving a clear indication on where he thought the battle lines of the election were going to be drawn and said the NPP was ready.
He gave his word to personally lead a campaign to restore dignity to the teaching profession. He also reiterated his personal pledge to fight corruption and appealed to the media to join him in that fight.
At the end of what was a well-choreographed ceremony, covered live on both radio and television, Nana Akufo-Addo ended with the inspiring words, ï¿½the future is bright for Ghanaï¿½.
Read Full Manifesto Document Here >>
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