The Founder and Leader of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), Mr Percival Kofi Akpaloo, has applauded the government for taking bold steps in implementing new initiatives such as the free Senior High School (SHS) programme among others.
The position of Mr Akpaloo in describing the government’s initiatives as bold, according to him, came from the weak financial kitty the government inherited from its predecessor but which notwithstanding, it was able to implement the free SHS programme.
“Whereas the implementation of the free SHS is not bad, looking at the situation they found themselves in when they came to power, it was a bold step because there was no money in the system. And we were also under the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” Mr Akpaloo stressed.
That decision taken by the government, in the face of an unfriendly economic environment, Mr Akpaloo said, was a massive decision worthy of praise and emulation.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the performance of the government two years into its four-year term, he said another laudable initiative of the government was the ‘One-district, One-factory’ (IDIF) programme, a policy which, according to him, was going on well leading to the springing up of more companies.
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Mr Akpaloo said he was aware of about 20 or more companies that had been able to secure funding from the Exim Bank of Ghana, saying: “I am aware and I have seen. It is a good thing and a timely intervention.”
Mr Akpaloo was of the conviction that the 1D1F initiative was a veritable opportunity for creation of jobs for the teeming population of young Ghanaians who lacked employment opportunities and had been constantly waiting for the government to provide them with jobs.
His take on the Planting for Food and Jobs was that the bountiful harvest of food by the country’s farmers, leading to an abundance of food and, therefore, the exportation of the excess, was ample proof of the fact that the programme was on track.
“If you come to Planting for Food and Jobs, they are on track because at the moment, you can see that there are only a few complaints about the cost of food in the market. It is manageable and there are a lot of foodstuffs in the market for people to buy.
If you look at this on the positive side, they have done extremely well and they deserve commendation,” he said.
The banking sector reforms is another area that Ghanaians have to applaud the government, Mr Akpaloo posited, adding that the steps the government had taken were most prudent because of the ill health of that sector.
Mr Akpaloo was of the view that although there were some job losses, the proactive steps taken by the government had succeeded in reducing the quantum of job losses that would have been the case if those decisions had not been taken.
However, Mr Akpaloo scored the government low marks on national security, saying not much had been done to ensure internal security in view of the recent killings that had plagued the country.
On the economy, Mr Akpaloo said there was not much for the government to do in view of the fact that its hands were tied by the IMF conditionalities that placed restraints on the implementation of home-grown policies by the government.
He was, therefore, of the view that 2019 and beyond should serve as the proper period to assess the performance of the government on the economy.
Asked about the non-payment of the debt owed by the State to contractors, Mr Akpaloo was of the view that the current administration had inherited virtually nothing from the previous one and that the delay in the payment of the debts owed had been occasioned by the fact that there was no money in the national kitty.
He was quick to add that due to management prudence by the government, money had been raised for the payment of those accrued debts.
The Menzgold saga was another area of interaction on which Mr Akpaloo posited that the real issue of Menzgold started around 2014 under the supervision of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
“So if you look at it carefully, this government needs to be applauded for stopping this operation because if they had not done that, it would have taken us somewhere we would not like to be.
To us as a party, we request that the police should come in to question the former governors of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) under whose watch these things took place,” he maintained.
Mr Akpaloo, therefore, cautioned Ghanaians against pointing the accusing finger at the current government who had rather responded in a manner that had forestalled further harm.
He was also of the view that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) had questions to answer as to why the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold, Nana Appiah Mensah, had not been questioned following his extravagant lifestyle, which pointed to the fact that he might have been engaged in some form of money laundering.
He urged the government to take steps to pay back Ghanaians who had invested in Menzgold because they did so due to the failure of state regulatory institutions to stop Menzgold from operating, thereby creating the perception that it was a legitimate entity to do business with.
“So in the nutshell, I will say this government needs commendation.
They have done very well and they deserve a 60 per cent score,” he added.