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The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has declared that the New Patriotic Party, beyond any doubt, is the only credible party for the Ghanaian masses.

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has declared that the New Patriotic Party, beyond any doubt, is the only credible party for the Ghanaian masses.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the evidence of this is clear in the numerous pro-poor policies the NPP implemented in the past, as well as those it continues to champion under the current Akufo-Addo government.

For the people

In an exclusive telephone interview with the Daily Statesman yesterday, the Finance Minister explained further his assertion that the NPP is Ghana’s only credible “pro-poor” or, as he prefers to put it, “pro-people” party.

“I think when you look at the evidence, from Dr Danquah’s idea of making sure that every Ghanaian is empowered to own property, to Busia’s focus on developing rural Ghana to spread prosperity, to Kufuor’s social intervention and Akufo-Addo’s as well, it is more than clear that NPP is the party which helps the masses, the poor, ordinary families, to lift themselves up,” he said.

“We may not be loud in standing on the rooftops and shouting ourselves hoarse like others like to do, but our actions show that the people of this country truly have a sincere friend in the NPP.

“Ours is the party that puts them first and we believe investing in creating opportunities for the poor is the best way to create wealth and develop our country,” he said.

NPP tradition

Speaking at the Danquah Institute’s Economic Forum in Accra on Friday, Mr Ofori-Atta said President Akufo-Addo is determined to ensure that the less well-to-do in society benefit hugely from whatever policies and programmes the government initiates in order to create wealth for them.

He said the tenets espoused by the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, including democratic accountability, the rule of law, tolerance, individual liberty, civic responsibility, free enterprise, the market economy and social justice are the real ingredients for development.

“Ours is a government that believes that a free market in consumer products and services can go hand in hand, side by side, with social justice – free education, free health care and welfare for the poor and vulnerable.

“The Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, which traces its roots directly to the monumental 4 August 1947 event in Saltpond, when the United Gold Coast Convention was formed, is the one tradition that, in all humility, has been constant and consistent in espousing the very values and principles that have today become the standard to which, constitutionally, all must aspire: ie, democratic accountability, rule of law, tolerance, individual liberties, civic responsibility, free enterprise, market economy and social justice.”

Free SHS

Mr Ofori-Atta said the implementation of the Free SHS policy by the Akufo-Addo government is not for political gain, but to ensure that every Ghanaian child of schoolgoing age has access to education.

“President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo’s deliberate decision to provide Free Senior High School education to the Ghanaian youth was made with the knowledge of the costs involved,” the Minister said.

“For 2019 alone, a total amount of GHC1.7 billion has been dedicated to Free SHS. This again underlines our belief that the development of the Ghanaian individual is the most important priority of government.”

Access for all

The Finance Minister declared that the NPP’s motto, “Development in Freedom”, resonates with the government’s decision to empower all Ghanaians, and that Ghana’s forebears “encouraged us to build a nation where every Ghanaian is free and empowered with access to education, skills and job opportunities in an ever-expanding economy to contribute fully to nation-building and self-enhancement in a free and progressive society”.

He said that even though citizens may not be on a par in terms of gifts and skills, no one should be denied the basic opportunity to make a useful contribution to society and, by so doing, enhance the quality of his or her own life.

“We recognise that access to education and skills are essential freedoms because they enable the capability to self-consciously choose the life one desires.

“Simply put, individuals cannot be said to be free if they are hungry, illiterate, ignorant, homeless and wallowing in squalor. This has been the ideological driving force that has kept the Danquah-Dombo-Busia family going for more than seven decades.”

Mr Ofori-Atta argued that capitalism involves the creation of opportunities and that the NPP government is focused on “how many resources, both human and otherwise, can be employed to grow and harvest more grain, so we can mill greater volumes of flour and bake a lot more bread and cakes to feed the greatest number of people”.

“We must focus on indigenising the depth and flow of capital if we are to compete both at home and away,” he said.