Education is the intellectual muscle of Ghana’s development – Nana Akuffo Addo

by Kwabena Opong, Accra, Ghana

The flag bearer of Ghana’s leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) reiterated his call for education as the fuel that would oil the West African nation’s economic development and ensure a reliable future for the country. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo was delivering the second Aliu Mahama memorial lectures in Accra on December 9 at the Conference Hall of the State House.
Nana Addo described late Vice President Aliu Mahama as “friend true and just …” quoting a Shakespearan verse. He praised the former vice president for his work and his contribution to the most successful government in the 4th Republic. He commended Alhaji Aliu Mahama as a disciplinarian who campaigned for sanitation and praised the Mahama administration for honoring the former Veep’s role in his time.
This year’s lecture themed “One Ghana, Securing our future” was premised on: The establishment of good governance that recognized the rights and liberties of our people; Widespread acquisition of knowledge and education for national development; Transformation of economy through the active encouragement of enterprise; and the improvement of Ghana’s economy to make the country an economy powerhouse in the West African sub-region.
The former minister of foreign affairs in the NPP administration asked what kind of future awaited a nation in which less than half of children born today had their births registered. He bemoaned poor statistical information that hampered effective planning saying, “no modern society functions effectively without reliable data.” With Ghana’s population ballooning 350 percent it is essential that proper family planning regimen be established to ensure children can be adequately catered for.
Reiterating his call for free Senior High School education, Nana Addo said education is the surest way to economic development. He suggested that basic education should be redefined to mean kindergarten to senior high school. Education must be geared toward problem solving and away from rote learning. Schools must be well-equipped while teacher training must be improved for quality instruction. “Education is the intellectual muscle for Ghana’s development,” he added.
The two-time flag bearer of Ghana’s opposition said he would be happy if the NDC government implemented the free Senior High School (SHS) policy which he trumpeted during the 2012 campaign in the lead up to the general elections, adding “The NPP’s futures do not depend on the NDC failing. We all agree that it is both doable and necessary.”
According to him, although the free SHS was the brainchild of the NPP, the party will be willing to share its expertise with the government on how to effectively implement the policy. “There are in this country today several people who are quite knowledgeable on the subject who spent a lot of time anticipating the various difficulties in implementing the policy. They will be glad to share their knowledge if they are asked,” he stated. “If President Mahama is indeed introducing free SHS…I will say hallelujah and be thankful to the Almighty…it means that we all agree that it is doable and necessary.”
Nana Addo was not happy with how the NDC administration is running the economy. Ghana is ranking very low in all aspects of the economy on the global basis. Criticism is not running the country down but to ensure that the right is done. He compared Ghana to South Korea which like Ghana started life in 1957. Recalling his visit to Korea this year, Nana Addo said he felt sad as he compared the Asian country to Ghana but felt hopeful in Korea’s transformation and believed his country could also succeed. He would go further to say that discipline in leadership, investing in human capital and spending wisely and boldly are the hallmarks for development.
In his reference to the economy under the NDC, Nana Addo had this to say: “In 2009, the NDC was handed the best economy inherited by any new government since the 1960s, with oil coming in and a debt-to-GDP ratio of just 29 percent.
“In the last few months to the 2012 election, we all saw the reckless spending the NDC government undertook in a desperate move to hold on to power. The budget deficit alone for that year was the same as the entire national budget for 2008. Today, we are all suffering the consequences of those irresponsible actions,” Akufo-Addo said.
The former senior Minister in the Kufuor Government said: “When I checked this morning, I was told that we have some $1.5 billion in our net foreign reserves, just enough to cover two weeks of imports. And our debts are so big that we are using four times the money we expect from producing oil this year to service interest payments alone in 2014.”
Touching on energy, NPP’s flag bearer told his audience that all promises on energy production and improvement have failed. In jest, he added, “The president has promised not to promise again.” He wondered why government is failing to recognize the essential role energy plays in every economy. “To us in the NPP, reliable, affordable energy supply is the lifeline of our overall vision to transform the Ghanaian economy into a modern industrialized one. We know we cannot secure the future without electricity to power our plans into that future.So solving once and for all, the culture of load shedding and mismanagement in the energy sector is a major priority for us,” he added.
Ghana is currently experiencing load shedding after state power producer Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) decided to shed 450Megawatts of power as a result of a fall in production due to low water level at the hydro stations and lack of regular gas supply to the thermal plants in the country.
He said: “The recent extension of load shedding to industries puts the entire economy and its capacity to attract new investment into grave danger. We know we cannot speak of industrialisation when we cannot give hairdressers and barbers electricity to stay in business.
In the current load shedding exercise, domestic consumers go off the national grid for 12 hours every two days while industrial zones go off for two straight days and get connected back to the grid for six days uninterrupted.
“The future of our children is threatened when they have no light in their schools to study. Ghana is currently experiencing one of her worst levels of economic growth, job losses and income losses, partly because of an energy crisis we could have avoided. Yes. The current energy crisis was avoidable and can be avoided in the future,” Nana contended.
He said the energy crisis can be fixed and “we intend to fix it with a long-term sustainable integrated energy plan that will start yielding results, if given the opportunity to win power to deliver power.”
Nana called for the development of a competitive economy in the West African subregion to counter the progress made by the East and Southern African economic blocs. He also suggested electoral reforms that promoted fairness and reiterated his call for a vigorous democracy in Ghana.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Asantehene who was slated to chair the event was represented by Nana Krobea Asante Susbribi, Omanhene of Asokore traditional area known in private live as Dr. S. K. B. Asante a legal consultant. In his opening remarks he enjoined Ghanaians of all ethnic groups to agree to live together as one people as Ghana is the only nation we all have. He said as a nation Ghanaians must recognize their diversity not as a weakness but as strength and power. he bemoaned the appeal to ethnicity in public service and other sectors in the country quoting President Mahama as saying, “Ethnicity is subtly misrepresented in our socio-political environment to create disaffection, divisiveness and rivalry amongst us. This does not have to be so, it is wrong. It diminishes our rich cultural heritage, and emphasises our differences instead of reinforcing the positives of our cultural diversity.”
Dignitaries present at the function included ex-President John A. Kufuor, Mrs. Aliu Mahama, Dr. Mahamodou Bawumia, NPP Chairman Paul Afoko, NPP Gen. Secretary Kwabena Agyepong, and former ministers and senior functionaries of the NPP administration.

Posted by on Dec 16 2014. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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