Excerpts of President Mahama’s speech at NDC Manifesto launch


Excerpts of President Mahama’s speech at NDC Manifesto launchExcerpts of President Mahama’s speech at NDC Manifesto launch

04 October 2012

We decided to launch our manifesto in the Volta Region because it has consistently stood behind us.




We also decided to make it a mass event, which is why we’re holding it outside, which is a risk, but as a mass party, nothing else would do. I am here to officially declare our manifesto. You can consider it launched. Investing in people is the first pillar of our manifesto, and it is focused on education.

In that field, we have all the authority to speak on it because we have a good track record in education. It has been part of the nation since it’s inception thanks to Kwame Nkrumah. After that accelerated infrastructure rollout, the next one took place under the government of JJ Rawlings. We know that many rural children have no access to education, and we’ve remedied this in as many places as we could through pavilion schools. 100s of the nation’s secondary schools were built under the NDC. All additional universities here have also been built under NDC governments. Kwame Nkrumah built Legon, Cape Coast, and Science and Technology, but the rest are from the NDC.

I am happy to announce that as I speak, the two universities we promised last election have begun admitting students. Now, on freeness of education, that is not Akufo-Addo’s vision, it is the vision or all working Ghanaians. In the constitution they say that within 10 years of its establishment, there should be free compulsory basic universal education, and that program is being implemented although not comprehensively because primary school parents still pay some fees.

At the secondary and tertiary levels, we are working to make education free, so it’s really a constitutional obligation, not a new vision or one man’s wish. That’s the goal of every administration. The NDC as a social democratic party that sees education as a right cannot be against free education, we follow the constitutional mandate to provide it to the best of our abilities given the resources at hand. The debate should be where to apply additional resources.

As a social democratic party, we have our program, which is that every child, regardless of background, should have equal access to education at all levels. Currently, we have a system whereby there is no equity in our educational system, so our first priority must be to promote equity, which begins with access. People born in certain areas are less likely to go beyond basic because there may be no JHS or SHS in the community. By giving access to a few rather than the many, you are not a party with the good of the nation in mind. We must concentrate more resources on improving access, and we will build 200 new secondary schools over the next term.

You can’t only build the secondary schools, you need teachers to staff them. We will expand teacher training by building 10 new training colleges in this country. These training colleges will expand training so that we have enough teachers for the new schools, but the burden of fees is a worry to parents, and we’re already subsidizing them at the secondary level. Government will increase that subsidy. We will increase the number of scholarships to needy families at the secondary level.

We will invest more at the basic level in accordance with the constitution, because even after starting the FQ we’re not totally compliant as parents are still paying some money. We introduced free uniforms to relieve the parents of that burden, and we’ve introduced new free exercise books. We will continue to reduce and eventually eliminate basic education fees. We will eliminate all basic fees by 2016 to make it truly free. We will also design a roadmap to ensure the compulsory nature of education, partly by expanding the school feeding program. We have a lot to offer the public in education. The rest is in the manifesto.

We have a problem at the polytechnic level, which is allying them with universities so that they too can award degrees, which will improve the academic careers of HND students and eventually the polytechnics will become fully fledged technical universities. We have other plans in the manifesto to expand sciences resources, motivating and training teachers, and more. Education at the kindergarten level, where education begins, sees teachers trained at a rate of 20%, meaning that they are more like day care attendants. If you lay the foundation wrong, everything else will be wrong as well, so the training colleges will open a new program to specially train kindergarten teachers. This is important so that by the time a child reaches class 1, he or she understands the basic issues of numberacy, can at least begin to recognize the alphabet and start to read and write. Children with the benefit of these skills usually take off from there.

In Mills’ presidency, we’ve managed to turn the economy around and we’ve had our longest period of single digit inflation in the nation’s history. Many promised it, but we are the only ones who achieved it. An economy growing at 14% and is among the 10 fastest growing economy in the world, who can say that this economy has been mismanaged? Ghana is already transforming. We are currently classified as a lower middle income country, we are in transition to middle income status.

Let me talk about energy, which will be one of our economy’s most powerful drivers. We have a comparative advantage in energy production, and in my next term, there will be no more load shedding. I say this because we have established the foundation to be able to achieve that promise. We currently produce a little over 2000 megawatts, and we hope to add 350 by the end of the year, another 700 next year, which will make us a net exporter of power. We’re introducing a policy we call energy for all. We’ve moved the average electrification coverage to 72%, and under the new program, every community of over 500 will be eligible to be put on the grid. Many are currently being integrated. We will also build airstrips in the four regions that lack them. We’ll build aerodromes so that central, volta, eastern, and upper east regions will be provided with airstrips so planes can land there for medical evacuation and private commercial flights.

We’ll continue to modernize agriculture. Inflation has been getting pushed down by the food basket. How can you say we’re not increasing food production? We’ll continue to increase it through irrigation, an agric initiative, and we’ll train young people to enter the field.

We’re also starting a young entrepreneurs program by building a public university in the Eastern Region, the only region currently lacking one. The young entrepreneurs program will help us train people and create more sustainable jobs. We’re also setting aside money to mentor young people and help them establish their businesses so that they can become employers rather than employees.

Corruption is going to be high on government agenda, so we’ll push through the freedom of information bill and strengthen anti-corruption institutions. When serious political leaders hold press conferences to make unsubstantiated allegations, that’s very irresponsible and I’ll never do it. I hope others refrain from doing it as well. There are institutions that investigate and deal with these claims. I will appear before any institution for investigation.

So I throw a challenge to those parties and leaders making those allegations. If they truly believe I have been corrupt, they should accuse me officially to those institutions so that I can defend myself there. Finally, I want to thank the chiefs, religious leaders, and civil society organizations who have contributed to our peace and good governance. Let me also thank JJ and Kufuor, and of course Mills for their contributions to the country. I pledge to continue their good works. We will create a better Ghana on the structure they built. With God by our side, we shall succeed.

From: Myjoyonline.com



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