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General News
Economy is better off - NPP 6/19/2007
Accra, June 19, GNA - The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Monday said contrary to claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the economic achievements by the Government had failed to deliver improvements in the living standards of Ghanaians, the economy was better off under the NPP than it was under the NDC. "We still do not have the strongest economy in the world, but we are definitely better than we were in January 2001 when the NDC government was rightly kicked out of office," a statement issued in Accra by the NPP National Executive said.

The statement, signed by Mr Peter Mac-Manu, National Chairman of the NPP gave the credit to Ghanaians for the achievements of the NPP so far.

It noted that under the NDC Ghana''s external debt reached US$5.8 billion and domestic debt reached US$1.7 billion by the close of 2000, saying that in that year a third of government''s expenditure went into debt servicing and as a result provision of social services like health care and education suffered.

"In the same year 2000, our foreign reserves dropped to a low US$0.2 billion representing three weeks of import cover and the cedi depreciated 100 per cent from 3,500 cedis to the dollar to 7,000 cedis per dollar. Inflation hit a suffocating 42 per cent and bank lending rates were in the order of 50 per cent, making it difficult for businesses to borrow, expand and create jobs," it said.

The statement said under the six years of NPP administration, minimum wage had risen to US$2.1 and made free from taxes, adding that, that had reflected in real increase in the public sector wages in general.

It noted that inflation rate had dropped to 10.5 per cent as at April 2007, bank lending rate had fallen to between 19 to 24 per cent and in spite of the price hikes in world crude oil prices, Ghana''s foreign reserves stood at two billion US dollars, which was that highest since the liberalisation of the foreign exchange market in 1988.

The statement noted that the current re-denomination of the cedi, which takes off from July 1, was testimony of the stability of the cedi against major foreign currencies and also the stability of the economy as a whole.

It mentioned the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), which had employed 120,000 youths, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Metro Mass Transport (MMT), 16 per cent increase in primary school enrolment between 2005 and 2006 due to the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme and "the impressive infrastructural development" and others as signs of government''s commitment to national development.

The statement noted that cocoa producer price had increased from 151,755 cedis per bag in 2000 to its current 571,875 cedis per bag, representing a 73 per cent increase, saying that from 2001 till date, a total of 608 billion cedis had been paid to cocoa farmers as bonuses. "To increase fish production in the country, a total of 338 outboard motors have been given to fish farmers under a special credit scheme. 3,000 fish processors and distributors have been supported through micro-credit and currently there is a programme to help individuals construct fish ponds through out the country," it said. 19 June 07


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