Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) are battling to win the hearts of voters on which of them is a better manager of the economy.
With the economy being one of the key battle grounds in the campaign for the December presidential and parliamentary elections, each party has been working to expose the other as a worse manager.
The government has touted its ''prudent management'' as the reason for the country's stable economy, the longest period of single digit inflation, high international reserves and high cocoa harvest (Ghana’s main export crop), among others, in three years.
But these were disputed by Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate of the NPP presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who questioned the economic policy of the government at a public lecture on Tuesday.
He asked where the benefits of the single-digit inflation were when prices of commodities were high and cast doubt on the credibility and independence of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in producing credible inflation figures.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide’s headline on the story read, “Bawumia jabs Mills” with the story saying Dr. Bawumia took on the much-touted economic gains of the Mills administration, exposing the various inconsistencies.
The newspaper listed the achievements under the eight-year rule of former President John Kufuor of the NPP, which turned a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) economy into a lower middle income economy.
“Whilst outlining the challenges the NPP administration faced on assumption of office, he indicated that any attempt to compare the economic performance within the first three years of the Kufuor administration and the economic performance of the NDC within its first three years in office, was like comparing the performance of a Korea-branded Tico car to a German-made Mercedes Benz.”
The state-owned Daily Graphic had the headline, “We must aim at building nation for all – Bawumia.”
It quoted Dr Bawumia as saying Ghana must aim at building a nation in which none will be denied the opportunities for maximising his or her God-given potential.
In this connection, he said, the country must be prepared to take long term plans and decisions for the benefit of all and not decisions driven by short term political advantage.
But the Government reacted promptly, describing Dr Bawumia’s criticism as based on inaccurate analysis.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning dismissed the assessment as containing “inaccuracies and distortions”.
The government said Dr Bawumia, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (Central bank), gave credit to the NPP government (2001-2009) when it did not deserve it, mixed the rebased GDP series with that of the old series, thereby drawing “invalid conclusions” on joblessness without reference to any employment survey. He also used selective statistics and demonstrated his lack of understanding of the computation of inflation.
The Graphic had the headline, “Bawumia got it all wrong.”
It said the government had described as “mischievous and untenable” the statement of Dr Bawumia, to the effect that the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) had doubtful credibility.
The Graphic quoted the statement as saying: “One may ask about the data he used in assessing Ghana’s lower middle income status… The same GSS data when the data suits him, he uses it, but when it doesn’t he condemns it.”
On the World Press Freedom Day, the state-owned Ghanaian Times had the headline: “World Press Freedom day marked with symposium.”
It said the Day was marked with a call on the media to peer review themselves and avoid acts which could destabilise the country.
The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, also advised the media to use their platforms as avenues for promoting peace and development and not as tools to churn out hate speech and incite violence.
It said Mr Amihere’s call comes in the wake of the use of hate speech and inflammatory language and insults which had characterised a section of the media.
The Chairman of the NMC lamented that the media was gradually becoming a landmine for derailing the country’s democracy due to the use of inflammatory and inciting language.
The headline of the Graphic read: “Journalists urged to serve broader interest of society”, with the story saying speakers at a symposium on World Press Freedom Day called on journalists to ensure that the core values of press freedom served the broader society.
The speakers indicated that media freedom must be exercised with responsibility within the law.
A Deputy Minister of Information, Mr James Agyenim-Boateng, said the government would soon submit the Broadcasting Bill to Parliament for promulgation into law to standardise the country’s broadcasting industry and also increase the level of professionalism.
According to him, mismanagement of information could cause more harm than good, as peace was priceless, for which reason there was the need for media freedom not to be compromised.
“Govt to create more jobs – President assures Ghanaians on May Day,” was the headline of the Graphic on May Day activities.
It said President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday assured Ghanaians of the determination of the government to create more jobs with a substantial part of the US$3 billion Chinese Development Bank loan.
He said job creation was one of the four pillars of the government’s “Better Ghana Agenda” and therefore the private sector, being the engine of growth, would be given the necessary support to facilitate job creation and opportunities.
“We recognise that there is the need to produce the kind of atmosphere which will enable the private sector to create jobs. We are targeting certain areas and indeed, our procurement of the US$3 billion Chinese loan is targeted at sectors which will help create jobs for our people,” he said.
The Ghanaian Times had the headline “The law will deal with trouble makers - President Mills declares at May Day.”
The newspaper said President Mills declared that the laws of the land would not be a respecter of status, and will therefore be made to deal decisively with anybody who would attempt to push the country into a state of anarchy.
Addressing a parade of workers to mark this year's May Day celebration in Sunyani, capital of the Brong Ahafo Region, he said it was the collective responsibility of everyone in the country to ensure that the peace being enjoyed today was not overturned by any event.
President Mills reiterated, "As President of Ghana, I will take all necessary constitutional steps to ensure the conduct of a free, fair and transparent election in 2012.”
The Daily Guide had the headline “There is unprecedented joblessness – says TUC”, with the story saying the Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Kofi Asamoah, has said the “unprecedented growth” in the economy has failed to create decent jobs for Ghanaians.
Mr Asamoah said Ghana had seen the highest level of economic growth- longest period of micro-economic stability, highest level of international reserve among others- under the Mills administration, but the reality was that there was equally unprecedented joblessness in the country.
“Joblessness is on the rise. Nearly all new jobs are being created in the informal economy while incomes are low and workers have very little protection from the country’s labour laws,” he said.
-0- PANA MA/SEG 5May2012